Day 1 of "staycation that might turn into an actual vacation at a moment's notice if we could just figure out where to go and also could get over our angst specific to dumping the dorgi dog off at the very vet's office where he spent six weeks in a Guantanamo-esque hotbox recovering from heartworms": The inside air conditioning unit ices over. Spouse changes the filter and runs the fan. Per call placed to spouse's cousin, an air conditioning contractor who - for reasons that completely escape me - we feel "funny" about "imposing upon" during "his busy season", this should cause the ice to melt and solve the problem once and for all. Unless we are looking at a freon problem. (Side note: Is it imposing if you offer to pay American dollars to someone for a service that he provides to the public, simply because he is family and might actually care enough to check up with his A/C tech and make sure that the guy actually made the service call?)
Day 1 of "STMTIAAVAAMNIWCJFOWTGAACGOOASTDTDDOATVVOWHSSWIAGHRFH" plus four hours: Whoops. There's still ice on the inside air conditioning unit. Freon problem, it is. Call placed to our go-to A/C contractor - the one that we don't feel "funny" about "imposing upon" during "his busy season" (and will not be imposing upon henceforth . . . keep reading). Contractor assures us that we will see his A/C tech bright and early Sunday morning. With ceiling fans running and the A/C pushing the air around (just not cooling it), the temperature isn't that bad overnight.
Bright and early on Day 2 of . . . um, we'll just call it "Fred": No A/C tech on the doorstep. House is now noticeably hot. And noticeably humid.
Close to 5 pm on Day 2 of Fred: Is it just me, or do the carpets feel kind of damp to the touch? Honey, did you call the A/C guy for an update after his tech missed "the window" by, roughly, five hours? No? Um, okay. No need to get testy. I thought it was a legitimate question. Wow, it's really hot in here.
Day 3 of Fred: Call placed to A/C contractor, who cannot get over his SHOCK and SURPRISE that his tech failed to show. Rest assured, said tech will be fired - well, after he does the job. Then he'll be fired. When the theoretical tech fails to materialize by mid-morning, another call is placed - to A/C contractor #3, who is well known about town and advertises in the Ridglea Scene newsletter. I go up to the office (yeah, technically I'm on . . . um, Fred . . . all week, but I needed to attend to some business - and, also, the office has A/C). Spouse gets nervous, calls "bonus" ACC#4. I envision a situation where all three techs show up at the same time, each demanding a service call fee, and decide that I'm sitting pretty where I am. ACC #3 arrives first; ACC #4 is waved off, and spouse decides that ACC #2 doesn't earn a phone call at this point. Fluid levels definitely are low, but ACC #3 doesn't carry the fluid we need (puron, not freon) on the truck. So he has to come back. Which he does. Puron is topped off, and we get an earful about how, when we replaced the outside unit five years ago, we also should have replaced the inside unit, which has a freon coil that is NOT compatible with puron. Ohhhhhhkay. How does one explain that the darned thing has worked fine in a "puron environment" for five bleepin' years? Tech has no explanation, suspects that it's some sort of miracle from above. But now we really do need to think about replacing our coil. Although, notwithstanding the laws of (very) theoretical physics, the ambient temperature should start dropping soon.
Whatever. Clan McGlinchey heads to Grapevine Mills to consort with animatronic animals at Rainforest Cafe. Mom McGlinchey meets up with her friends Michael, Stuart and Kate (Kors, Weitzman and Spade) at Neiman's Last Call. They listen to my tale of woe and suggest that a new cardigan, a pair of super-cute slip-on loafers and some sunglasses will change my outlook on life. Who can argue with that logic - particularly when you get FIVE PERCENT OFF IF YOU USE YOUR NEIMAN'S CARD? Overpriced food is consumed at RC. Mom desperately wants a margarita - but not enough to stomach the $9.99 sticker price. Or deal with the commemorative glass. Prospect of the commemorative glass (which you KNOW the kids would insist on taking home) somehow depresses me more than the cost of the beverage. On to glow-in-the-dark mini golf. INDOOR mini golf - with air conditioning. Did I mention that things glow in the dark there? Cool deal. Except not so cool - their A/C is on the fritz. Sign out front cheerfully encourages us to bring our own beverages inside. Start to reconsider the $9.99 margarita in the commemorative glass.
10 pm on Day 3 of Fred: Arrive at home. House feels exactly the same. Try on my new fall sweater and suede loafers as an attempt at a pick-me-up - then remember that what's depressing me is the fact that I'm BLOOMIN' HOT. Sorry, Michael and Stuart - but points for trying.
Day 4 of Fred: Phone call to ACC #3. Our problem, apparently, was that we didn't let hot air blow through the system. Or didn't let it blow through long enough. So we still have ice on our coil. Consider chipping off some of the ice and blowing a portable fan over it. I really don't remember what I did for the rest of Day 4, but on the evening of Day 4 I ventured out of the house to attend a previously scheduled boutique shopportunity/girls' night out. This girl stayed out as long as possible . . . in large part because of the enjoyable company, but in no small part because said enjoyable company was camped out in a location with air conditioning. Also purchased jewelry - including the same necklace in two different colorways, because (1) it was a shopportunity, so, hey, 15% off, and (2) when you're hot and bothered, how can you be expected to make rational decisions? In the interim, spouse determines that blowing hot air through the system is . . . well, a bunch of hot air. Phone call placed to ACC #5 (a client and friend of spouse's, based in a county of north of here), who was prepping to have dental surgery but had time to opine that it sounded like we were dealing with an expansion valve issue.
Day 5 of Fred: Mom heads to pool with children, because spending a day outdoors actually sounds more pleasant than a day spent indoors. ACC #3 returns to Casa McGlinchey, confirms that we need an expansion valve . . . which he does not have in back stock. Periodic updates from ACC #3 (transmitted to me by spouse via cell) indicate that valve is not to be had in the Metroplex. Spouse begins feverishly searching for SOMEONE with a spare expansion valve laying around. I order another pina colada. By dinnertime, we have determined that the smartest course of action is to purchase a new inside unit, thus securing a new valve AND a new coil, all fully warranted and guaranteed to peacefully coexist with our puron whatchamacallit. Any hope of actually leaving Tarrant County is now dashed, because someone needs to be there to solicit bids and be on premises when the unit is being installed. Spouse heads to Coppell to retrieve a portable air conditioner from his older brother, and the kids and I head to my mom's to collect three additional space fans - and watch "So You Think You Can Dance" in a fully air conditioned environment. As God in his Heaven intended.
Day 6 of Fred: ACC #3 calls, announces that he cannot find the valve anywhere and has chosen to give up. He does offer to refund the prior service charge, which leaves me sort of nonplussed. Um, thanks? Wish I had the luxury to give up and move to a new house? ACC#6 and ACC #7 compete for our business. ACC #7 is, apparently, hitting the crack pipe hardcore and quotes us a price that makes me snort Diet Coke out of my nose. ACC #6 is declared the winner.
Day 7 of Fred: NUUUUUUUUUTHING. Because ACC #6 can't install our new unit until the next morning. At least the house is cooler - down to 78 or so, thanks to stuff borrowed from the family. Really have no excuse not to pick up the mess that our house has become during Fred week (because, really, who wants to clean or straighten in excessive heat?). But, nah . . . much more satisfying to shop for carpet for the Man Cave. Because, when you're depressed about the cluttered state of your house and an approaching large hit to your bank account, what do you do? Say it with me, girls! BUY STUFF FOR YOUR HOUSE THAT COSTS MONEY! Spouse laments that, due to A/C installation scheduled for Day 8, we will be unable to attend birthday lunch for his older brother (he of the way-cool portable air conditioning unit).
Day 8 of Fred: ACC #6 arrives at o' dark thirty. Spouse answers door, I use excuse that I am sleeping in a camisole (unsuitable for A/C tech viewing) to roll back over and go to sleep. At 9 am, I rouse, spouse informs me that tech is way ahead of schedule and birthday lunch may be a go after all. Yeah, right; not my first ro-day-o. I go back to sleep. At 11 am, spouse provides another status report - ACC #6 apparently has "created an electrical issue." EXSQUEEZE ME? A BAKING POWDER? Here are some words guaranteed to give me apoplexy: "Electrical issue." Because other words brought to mind by said words are "fire" and "hazard." Demand further information (but still refuse to change out of camisole) and am advised that tech has shorted out a control panel that is relevant to both the A/C and the furnace and is having to "bypass" it (yeah, another apoplexy-inducing word right there). To his credit, he has another tech check his work before he leaves. An hour and a half past birthday lunch, tech leaves, apologizes and assures us that we will be getting a new control panel on him (ordered and scheduled to arrive later the following week), but, in the meantime, we won't be able to run our furnace. Spouse lets go one of those laugh-snorts: "Yeah, it's 104 outside and we haven't had A/C for a week. Chances of us firing up the furnace are slim and none, buddy."
Son #1 departs for birthday party. Spouse and Son #2 head out to family birthday lunch - only two hours and twelve minutes late. I offer to stay home, make sure that the unit is truly up and running and do a little light housecleaning. Except that it's still too warm to really get into housecleaning, and I'm quite over the whole thing (what thing, exactly? the lack of A/C? lack of a clean house? Fred? mi vida loca in general?) - so I make it about an hour and a half, and then head to the pool with my book and my Kate Spade consolation sunglasses, hell-bent on securing a margarita in a non-commemorative glass. All's well that ends well. And happy Fred to everyone!