Today was not the best of days.
The proceedings began when I was wrenched awake at the ungodly hour of 8am. Naturally, some of you will scoff at this timestamp, having already been awake for hours and having helped raise a barn in Amish country before breakfast. (You go, girl!) But since I hadn’t even gone to bed until my usual-ish 3am, a mere five hours of sleep was not something that I particularly cared to experience. Something was amiss, and I reflected on what might have caused the wrenching. Two seconds later, my body provided a cacophonous explanation.
I had a gas bubble the size of Detroit roiling about in my digestive tract, with burbling and gurgling and a satanic choir performing a black mass celebration.
It was rather intense, I must say. The truculence was causing my heart to pound, I was sweating like Julius Caesar when he first spied the knife in Brutus’ hand, and I was having visions. (Is that Marie Antoinette riding an armadillo? I wonder where she gets her hair done? Cute shoes!) I knew that the beast within needed to be the beast without, and I lunged out of the bed, racing to the facilities.
What happened in there cannot, and should not, be explained. Suffice it to say that I’m surprised the porcelain didn’t shatter into a million pieces and I didn’t plummet to the core of the Earth.
I stumbled back to bed, in a desperate quest for a few more minutes of slumber. My dream of such was almost immediately killed, because I’m just not one of those people who get to frolic through life, singing pleasant songs about furry bunnies and mint tea. I was still sweating, despite my beloved, rotating fan that is my nightly companion. Something was still amiss.
Naturally, because this is where many of us go these days, my mind zeroed in on the possibility that I had a fever, and having a fever might mean the Dreaded Covid, and I might be mere seconds away from being hooked up to a ventilator, and that’s never fun, even in the best of times. I lay there, drenched, composing my last will and testament, especially the bits where I shun all the people who were rude as hell in my lifetime. (I really don’t have much of anything to bequeath, but I’m still not leaving you anything, take THAT cousin Archibald.)
Then a second thought occurred. It really was hot in here. It’s not just me.
I lurched my sorry (and still gassy, mind you) ass out of the bed, and I went to investigate. Partner was in the front room, which has become his “home office” during this “work from home if you can” phase of The Lockdown, and he can. He appeared to be on a conference call, where he was having to gently berate people for being stupid. I’m retired now, but I do remember, quite well, having to deal with general idiocy. I quietly blessed him and continued my Dora the Explorer mission.
The kitchen seemed a bit warm.
The den seemed even more so, and there was a fan blowing, a fan that normally is not, and I didn’t recall said fan even being in said room. Interesting.
In the back room of the house, where I compose my Bonnywood posts and do my best to avoid society, another fan that traditionally is not used (unless we lose our minds and host a festive party of some kind) was also activated. It was obvious that somebody knew something I did not.
I stumbled back to the front room, intent on some form of Spanish Inquisition involving Partner. He was in the midst of more berating, with passive-aggressive words being used, and just before I opened my mouth, I realized it was one of those nasty Zoom meetings, confirmed by the fact that my gassy ass was now in the background of his little window on the multi-windowed conference call, with me looking all pale and tragic. And decidedly bloated. I scurried away.
I tromped my way to the control panel for the AC unit. The display informed me that, despite the settings which dictated our preferred atmospheric preference points, the actual temperature in the house was well above that. And the unit was not running. I professionally confirmed the “not running” by noting that absolutely nothing was blowing out of the vents, and the unit, perched above my head in the attic, was completely silent. (I took me some college classes, I sure did. Nothing gets past me. Except, apparently, last night’s dinner.)
Great. It was the middle of July and we did not have a functioning air conditioner. (The forecasted high was 99 degrees, with a heat index of 111.) The joy was overwhelming. I could have broken into song, but I knew it was pointless, as you wouldn’t have been able to hear it since my intestines were still sounding the siren of the sordid in three-part, vindictive harmony. I retreated to the bedroom, defeated and forlorn. And burbling.
The very second I heard Partner disconnect from the International Transponder, I was on it and him. “Um, you might want to take a gander at something I discovered on the AC control panel.”
He gandered, as waves of expression traveled across his face, first curiosity and then consternation and finally dawning horror. We were screwed. He cursed, we rended our hair, and Ophelia floated by on the river of our discontent.
Eventually, we tossed the melodrama aside (it’s hard to avoid our go-to natural instincts as card-carrying members of the Drama Queen Club) and got to work, checking on this and that. We fiddled with all of the buttons on the control panel, hoping it was merely something simple that we had overlooked. Nothing. Were any of the breakers flipped at the circuit box? Nope. (We toggled a few off and on, just for a fleeting but false sense of accomplishment. Now half the clocks in the house were blinking. Yay.)
I ascended into the deadly heat-box of the attic, brandishing a flashlight, and carefully studied the unit. I didn’t notice a thing amiss, other than the complete silence. Of course I didn’t, because I’m not a trained technician and my body was still in Mount Vesuvius mode, giving me the attention span of a potted fern and making my lumbering mission in the attic rather pointless. I climbed (okay, partly fell) back down the creaky, fold-out attic ladder and announced to Partner that it was time to reach out and touch certified people who actually knew what to look for and how to fix it when they found it.
He dug into his archives (we are both obsessive about keeping records of everything we’ve done, ever) and found the invoice from the last time unwelcome heat had darkened the Manor. He called Kozy Air (how’s that for an overly cute name?) only to, eventually, discover that they were no longer in business. (Pandemic fallout? Maybe, who knows.)
Interestingly, the company had forwarded their now-dead numbers to another company that wasn’t really aware that the numbers had been forwarded. This did not look good, but Partner began negotiations with the new company (“Advanced Home Comfort”, which is an odd name, underly cute), knowing full well we were in the midst of a heat wave and the company most likely did not have an open appointment slot until 2023. I fled the vicinity and checked the fill level on my bottle of “rescue” anxiety medication, fairly certain that I would need a pill before this mess of a day was done.
Aside: It should be noted that during all this traipsing about and general fretting, I did not bring up the fact that Partner had managed to locate and activate 37 fans throughout the house but did not bother to check the AC control panel. (He could have escalated the reparations hours before.) In a good relationship, you learn what to touch and what not to touch. This doesn’t mean I won’t bring it up five years from now when I need a good counterpoint in a vociferous discussion but, for now, we’re good.
I wandered back to the Crisis Management Center, wherein Partner was just hanging up the phone. “We have an appointment between 1 and 2 this afternoon.” What? After decades of owning a home and being fully aware that it can take years for service personnel to appear on the horizon, I was stunned to learn that they were going to be here in just a few hours. It was almost surreal.
Even more surreal? The guy showed up at 1:05pm.
I threw open the front door in a frenzy of salvation, more than willing to proffer the erotic use of my body just to show my appreciation. (Don’t look at me like that. It was hot in this grill, people. Those of you who have suffered through AC failure in the middle of the summer know exactly what I’m talking about. Desperate times can lead one to do desperate things, especially if one is already a tad bit horny from the heat.)
The Guy’s reaction? I couldn’t tell, because he was wearing a mask, and I quickly realized that I wasn’t wearing one (in the excitement of his arrival, I wasn’t thinking), so I immediately leapt backwards six feet, an acrobatic move that I didn’t know I could still perform at my age. Properly socially-distanced, I explained the whys and wherefores of our cry for help, detailing what preemptive measures we had taken and where things were located.
The Guy: “So the unit’s in the attic?”
I felt his pain. “Yeah, sorry.” I lowered the fold-out attic stairs and then ran off to the side, ashamed of my mask-less existence.
He climbed said stairs, dragging his investigative implements. As he neared the top of the ladder, and the oppressive, soul-killing heat smacked him in the face, he muttered a few choice Spanish words, unaware that I knew what he was saying. I did not take offense. I did not want to go up there, either. I just hoped that whatever he found would not bankrupt my checking account…
To be continued…