Friday, August 20, 2010

Agony and the Hot House

I used to jest, saying I was a hot-house flower - like an African violet - kept under a lamp, in a darkened, warm room so that I could thrive. Only I didn't thrive. I was kept like that because of my father's paranoia, strange way of thinking, and absolute certainty that danger lurked just outside the window.

Tonight I am literally in a "hot house". Our A/C unit decided to kick the bucket. A week or so ago, we had the service technician out here. He cleared the coils and the internal filter (and some other things...I don't know. My ex-husband was down there dealing with the whole event). It seemed to work a little better for a few days, but then yesterday it was nearly 90 degrees in the house. About the same temp as outside. We called again for service. They asked us to turn the unit completely off so that it wouldn't be frozen up when the technician arrived and he would be able to run some diagnostics.

Last night, therefore, was almost unbearable in here. We opened all the windows and turned all ceiling fans and oscillating fans on high. We tried to position them for maximum air flow, but it was miserable. The temp dropped down to around 70 last night, so eventually it cooled off and we slept. It wasn't even so bad this morning when the technician arrived while I was having my coffee. My ex-husband was downstairs in his basement office while the technician was working, and I was upstairs in my guest room/office on the laptop. A puffy little breeze still came in the window now and then.

The bad news was that we had multiple freon leaks in the system - in the house - and needed a new coil. Trouble is, they don't make these units anymore. It's somewhere between 17 and 19 years old, so if they could locate a coil for it, it would cost upwards of $1700. No guarantees; no warranty. A new unit - just the A/C part - will be around $3,000.

Ah, and there's one more thing. Though it's hard to think about needing a heater right now, the heater went out - according to my ex-husband - sometime in March. Since the winter was almost over, it wasn't a big deal. He had already replaced the thermocouple several times on it. It kept going out and the pilot light wouldn't stay lit. So we are faced with the decision to replace the entire HVAC system - everything but the duct-work. Ouch. And double-ouch, the salesman won't be out to measure and determine what size unit we need until Monday morning at 8:00 a.m.

The ex took me over to Sears before he left for the weekend, where I bought the last portable A/C they had in stock. It only cools about 300 sq.ft., but it is in my bedroom where I hope that the dogs and I can sleep decently tonight. With the fans positioned right, some of the cool air will be directed around the corner into my son's room. We still have all the fans going full blast, but we decided that the A/C unit couldn't get much worse. We turned it back on and shut the windows. Maybe it will get down to 88? 86? Right now, it's sweltering. Even our Internet equipment overheated and started giving us problems this afternoon. We had to turn it off for awhile, which interrupted my work, but I'm working this weekend, too - provided it stays up.

I'm about to go take a tepid shower (my son hates that word for some reason) and cool off. I'll probably douse myself in powder, as I did last night, and put on a very light gown. I can scarcely think when it's like this. Heat makes me grouchy. It makes me puffy. It's just gross.

It's so gross, in fact, that I didn't make it over to the store to get my son an ice cream cake (his favorite) for his birthday. Instead, we went out to dinner last night and are going out to shoot pool tomorrow afternoon. I'll pick up a cake for him after that. Maybe it's cold enough in the freezer to keep it patent. He and I have spent some time together this evening, however, and we were going to watch a movie - but it's too hot in the living room to even do that. so here I sit, on the laptop at the dining room table, just so I can be near him. He's killing bad guys on a computer game and eating cold chocolates I had in the fridge (so they wouldn't melt, naturally!).

We're listening to the new B.o.B. CD on the laptop and chilling out, as he likes to say. A month ago he said all he wanted for his birthday was for me to be here. I'm here. I'm happy being back here with him. I should never have left, but I learned so much about what I don't want out of life. I should have clung to my dreams and my family, but I'm back now. I'm not back with my ex, but he will always be my best friend. That was really what brought about an end to the nightmare I was living. I said, "I'll never cut him out," and I meant it. Paul stood by me through so many things. He will always be a part of my life. Whoever I end up with must understand that. We had two kids together and lost one. We are bonded, even though it isn't romantically. I think we're better now, stronger. We can be friends with no expectations or discomfort. He lives his life. I live mine.

I know there is a future out there for me that doesn't keep me penned up like a hot-house flower, that lets me get some air and sun, get some breathing room. I have to believe there is.

Peace - D

[image humbly borrowed from Bryan Jones at Jonesblog]


the walking man said...

Misery---humidity be thy name. Of course this weather shall pass and now back in B'More in another few months you'll be writing of blizzards and shoveling snow and then misery will have changed its underwear and be named hole in bank account for new furnace and A/C.

sounds like yoou are finding your balance Doris.

Syd said...

The heat and humidity of this summer has been really bad. At last there is promise of relief.