Summer begins this year with less heraldry than most years. Mostly, I’m reminded again of letting go of things; my journalism class seniors, who I miss every day, my routine of daily early rising and go get ’em attitude from 5:30 am on.
I’m still rising early, 6:30 or so most days-and still I form routines, but they’re sort of transmogrified daily. I have to have routine. I’m bound to it like a leaf to a branch. Every year, though, the first week of summer begins and I have trouble with it. I’m a creature of habit, as my wife says, married to a routine that I love and work well in. I set on my own narrow confines refusing to be bound by them, but taking them on like rails for a train. I enjoy thinking that way–and I enjoy knowing what’s next. I like adventure as much as the next person–to a point. But routine makes me happy.
And again change is in the air. The summer here has been cool-ish so far with light breezes and temperatures mostly below 80 degrees. Still, it’s warm in the sun, summer-like and lovely. As I write this, I’m in my favorite spot on the patio feeling the wisp of breeze cross in from the ocean, watching the sun set slowly to the west.
Pre-vacation, we all get a bit antsy and ready for a change. That will happen now, too-but the fact is, I revel in these days beforehand when I can control my environment a little more and feel attached to this place. Home is a revelation to me each summer. I love it more and more and I grow more fond of each little niche and each little place in it. This evening, the night before I turn 49, there’s a glass of Viognier in front of me and purple budding flowers on the tree to my right. They fall to the ground making a loud and audacious carpet over the patio.
Of course, I have not yet mentioned the inconveniences of the past few days. The television went dark on Friday night. It was old-and very big, a rear projection model from an earlier era (about 12 years old or so) that was gifted to us by a friend. It gave it all up on Friday. This isn’t a tragedy–we don’t watch it much, but it was sort of there when you needed it–and with its 60-inch screen, playing Wii games on it was tremendous, nearly life-sized.
Then, at about 10:30 Friday night, the air conditioner went on the fritz. This has happened before and it appears that the original install, which we hired someone to do, wasn’t done to what I’ll call “quality” standards. The result this time is more than $1000 of a fix–and possibly much more, depending on what happens next.
The air-con is set on the furnace in the garage, as most are. The thing is built for a 3000 square foot house. Now, we have about 2800 square feet, but a full 600 square feet of that or so is an add on and there are not heating or cooling ducts in the add on. The result is the system is a bit over-sized for our home. In addition, there were problems that were sort of jerry-rigged on the install and the result is a mass of condensation build-up that, over time, has resulted in rusting out and shorting circuits and a dead screened thermostat.
Repairs have been initiated, albeit temporary until the real thing can be done later this week. This means that there is a set of PVC pipes running out of the air con and emptying into a bucket. When the air con is running now, one must check the bucket every hour or so because that’s how fast the condensation build-up is. Annoying? Yes. Expensive? More so. Frustrating? You figure it out…
Not to mention that I thought that I’d try my hand at a kind of innovation yesterday, my birthday, so I went down to the hardware store and bought a PVC u-joint and brass hose fitting. Reasoning that if I simply set the u-joint onto the PVC protruding from the air con and then attach a hose to the brass fitting, I could drag the hose out to the garden and the condensation would harmlessly flow into the flowerbed.
But, as I am not a home-repair kind of guy, I did not figure that there wasn’t enough pressure coming from the condensation dripping out of the PVC. I put it all together, turned on the air con, put the hose in the garden and walked away. An hour later, reveling in the kitchen with some lunch prep, I silently congratulated myself on my manly temporary fix. And then I noticed that the air con was off–and that it was warmer than it should be…
I went to the thermostat and low and behold–it was blank. Again. I ran to the garage, fearing the worst, picked up the phone to dial the air con repairman again to tell him I’d screwed up all his good work. I pulled the u-joint off the PVC pipe and a river of water came flooding out, filling the bucket in less than 40 seconds. Egad!
But, as luck would have it–this action precipitated the air con starting up again, the thermostat came back to life–and I took my measly $6 worth of parts back to the hardware store and got my money back, using it to buy a can of hornet’s nest insecticide that was on sale. Chaste by my own inability yet again to do anything resembling innovative home repair, fix-it-up work or manual labor, I drove home and promptly put the hornet spray on the shelf in the garage.
I’ll get around to killing the nest when I’m feeling more optimistic. Right now, I’ll allow them to live in homage to the home-repair lords who oversee such stupidity and remind me that home ownership is not all it’s cracked up to be.