On the 4th of July, my central AC unit broke, it ridiculously resides on the rooftop of my home. I didn’t put it there. It was there when I bought the house. Today is day three of the excruciatingly searing heat wave that Philadelphia is experiencing. Sever weather warnings are being issued, and I am a liquid puddle of sweat living in Hades. I am typing on my computer. The chances that I will electrocute myself are likely…ZAP! FIZZLE!!, not a bad alternative. I need AC. I am HOT, there’s no breeze, I’m sweaty and I have entered the wet t-shirt contest against my will that doesn’t exist in Chestnut Hill. I’m the only contestant. YEA, I WIN!
I can’t live like this, I’m not from a third world country where this is the norm. My body has not been conditioned to withstand the scorch of fire air that is beating down from the yellow circle in the sky. Tribal yells are sounding, I have a flash of a past life, I do know this foreign land of dirt and diaphoresis (constantly sweating disease). Dancing begins, colors are getting brighter, I feel love all around, the trees are whistling Dixie, they are patriotic too! No wait, the tribal yells are my kids whining about being HOT! Hell exists, right here on Highland Avenue and I just experienced a flash back from high school not of a past life, I shall say no more. It’s time to bargain with God. Please God, if you give me one more miracle and fix my AC, I WILL NEVER SIN AGAIN, I PROMISE!!
The upside, the let’s make lemonade out of lemons and drink it because my mouths is parched like the Kandahar Desert (oh the soldiers, I bet they’re thirsty, hot, sweaty and would love a cold glass of lemonade), is the amount of weight I’ve lost since my home has become a sweat lodge. I have lost 10 ounces in three days! My toe rings fit again. I am one step closer to my goal of physical perfection. 10 oz. is my greatest weight loss in 15 months. Yes it is water weight but I am positive to keep the ounces off because I will not drink the lemonade, if I do I will take a water pill, soldier on. I must take matters into my own hands, this problem will not fix itself, I will.
Hello Rosie the Riveter! If you don’t know Rosie let me introduce you. Rosie is a famous icon from World War II. “Rosie the Riveter is commonly used as a symbol of feminism and women’s economic power.” During World War II, one government advertisement asked women “Can you use an electric mixer? If so, you can learn to operate a drill.” I’m sure my sisters were thrilled to hear that one! It was a call to action. The war was on, our men were fighting overseas and the women of America were called to go into the workforce outside of the home. Being patriotic, loyal and proud Americans, women joined forces, left the domestic bliss of homemaking and went out to do “a mans job” working in factories “using machinery” until our boys came home. Yes, that’s what we women do, we use machinery, especially when our boys aren’t around to do the job.
Well I was called to action by my wallet. I have become an empowered “do it myself” handy WOman, because I have too. Even scary ones like climbing a thirty foot ladder in 100 degree weather to fix the ELECTRICAL (I told you it was scary) AC unit on my roof. Yes, I did that, in a dress.
Not having a license to do HVAC repairs meant I had no knowledge of how to fix an AC unit so I had to teach myself. I called upon the best in the business, Ehow.com. This website is your go to site to learn HOW TO do anything. With information given to me by a “friend”, site unseen, just a listening of his ear, I was told what part to get, went to a distributor under false pretenses, (desperate times lead to desperate measures and my deal with God wasn’t on the table until my home was restored to Icelandic temperatures) bought the miracle part and got to studying. All the while, fearful I would electrocute myself while typing wet and praying that the part was the solution to the problem, not the entire unit. A new unit is not an option financially. If this didn’t work, I would buy a plastic baby pool. My kids and I would be spending the summer wading in the water in the back yard and at the air-conditioned mall until September. Survival skills 101. Sleeping would be an issue but one thing at a time.
I needed a thirty fool ladder, when I checked in my basement, I didn’t have one. Damn. Being a smart, resilient woman, I called upon a friend of a friend who was able to rent one and kindly offered to assist me. He also, had no knowledge what-so-ever of how to master the operation. So with myself, my friend and his friend, the three of us put our heads together, read e-how and with part and printed directions in hand, embarked on our seriously dangerous mission roof top.
Climbing up the ladder I convinced myself that I wasn’t nervous because of its convulsive shaking and kept looking up to the heavens. Hoisting my body over the ledge at the top was a bit of a challenge because the metallic silver roof was a melting sticky rubbery inferno and I was wearing a dress and flip-flops, but I did it. By any means necessary today would be the last day of my existing as a Bororo tribes woman. Crossing over the terrain of the roof top, screw driver, camera and measuring tape in hand, we set off to conquer the beast. After a round of mystical tribal chanting and ancient ritual dancing offered to the Gods of Cold Air we courageously followed the directions one step at a time. After all steps were executed, I was given the job to exit the roof top and climb down the ladder and head to the basement to switch on the breakers. I was shaking like a ladder, this was the moment. With breath held, fingers crossed and sweat dripping everywhere, I turned the switches and listened. I ran up stairs and heard the motor turn on but that was familiar, the question was, will the air be cold? Quickly moving across the room I jumped on the couch and put my hand under the vent, waiting, waiting and then… it happened, cold air blew out of the vent. We did it, the air conditioner was fixed! I ran out the door and screamed to the heavens / roof “it’s working, the air conditioner is working!”
A resounding explosion of cheerful shouts and thunderous applause rang forth like the first ringing of the Liberty Bell up and down Highland Avenue. A miracle occurred, we were alive, no one was electrocuted, and no injuries incurred. I had cold air blowing in my house. Victory was ours and all it cost me was $27.00, three days of dehydration, delirium from lack of sleep and emotional roller coaster of epic Disney World proportions. But wait, the true test would be the thermostat. At projects start, it was a 94 degrees. 10 minutes later, it read 92. God Bless America and the courageous men and women that came before me with their “We Can Do It!” attitude, because we can, and did.