Sunday, July 24, 2005

Mr. Fix-It

Wednesday was like the hottest day of the year, so of course our air conditioner broke.

I blame its shutdown on myself because of two stupid things I did (or did not do). First, I did not change the air filter for about 3 or 4 months. In fact, for a week prior to the air conditioner's demise, I thought to myself repeatedly, "I need to change that filter." But each time I thought about it, I neglected to actually do it.

My second blunder was a bit more complicated. On Tuesday, Misty called and asked me to open the windows and try to air out the house a bit. When I did, I shut off the air, and turned the system's central fan on. A few hours later, when the heat became unbearable in the house, I shut the windows and turned the air back on. I did not remember to turn the fan off, however. As such, the air ran continuously for about 36 hours until Misty discovered my mistake.

By this time, the air duct was coated in ice and the hose had become very hot and stuffy. We put buckets and towels down on the floor, and shut the unit off for a couple hours while we waited for the ice to melt. Once the ice was gone, though, the air conditioner kept on leaking. So much so, in fact, that we thought the buckets would overflow in the night if we kept it running. So we shut it back down and braced ourselves for an uncomfortable night.

Now if it wasn't bad enough that I'd caused the air conditioner to break down, something else made me look like even more of a dumb ass. Last year when our home warranty came up for renewal, I chose not to renew it. Misty didn't agree with my decision, but I held that even if an appliance did break, it would be less expensive to get fixed than to keep paying the insurance — probably. My assumption came from the fact that we'd already had the air conditioner fixed three times, finally ending with the warranty folks installing a new unit for us. I figured that with a brand new unit, it was a safe bet that it wasn't going to break down for at least a few years.

So it broke down. I caused it. And I caused us to not have a warranty to get it fixed. So I was pretty much screwed. Misty didn't have to say "I told you so" for me to know she was thinking it. I was determined to fix this thing myself so that I could get out of the doghouse.

Thursday when I got home from work, the first thing I did was change the filter. As I expected, it was chock full of dust. The dripping water started right back up when I turned the air on, though, so obviously it wasn't going to be that easy. Next I went outside to see if I could clear out the drain, but I didn't have the tools to get into it more than a couple of feet, and it didn't seem clogged there anyway. So I went back inside to the closet unit, and I pulled out all the pvc pipe.

Looking at the pipes, I could immediately tell that this was where the problem lay. They were totally clogged with dirt and dust. I used a coat hanger, a couple of old toothbrushes and the hose to knock out as much gunk as I could. It was just disgusting how much sludge poured out of those pipes. But with Misty's help, I got them all clean, and I installed them back into the closet.

Finally came the moment of truth. I turned the air back on and waited by the buckets for the dripping to begin. But it didn't. I'd fixed it.

Better yet, I didn't call a repair technician, and I didn't read the instructions. My manhood remains intact.

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