Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Marriage 301, Lecture 623: The joy of air conditioning and of being right

The Big Factotum will arrive this evening after a two-day drive Colorado, through the middle of nowhere. (I.e., Nebraska and don't be hating on me, Nebraskans - I am talking about the highway through the middle of your state where there are miles and miles of miles and miles, which is not very exciting driving but even more, a bad place to break down, especially if you do not have a cellphone, which my mother does not, despite my constant nagging her about it. How come I had to listen to my dad's advice about what to pack in my car to come north when they were living in Minnesota and how come I had to send them a fax every time I could on my ten-week trek through South America but I am not allowed to be the boss of her when it comes to cellphones?)

Her visiting = having to clean the house for real, although I think snatching her glasses and hiding them as soon as she arrives is also a good option, as I hate to vacuum and dust.

Unfortunately, hiding her glasses does not solve the cat hair problem. My mom is allergic to cats, so I have to get rid of as much hair as possible. "As much as possible" = "not very much," as we are at the peak of Shedding Season, which lasts about eight months chez nous.

Oh those non-shedding Siamese.

How did I get Fake Siamese cats not once but twice? (See: Snowshoe Siamese are Fake Siamese.)

I don't know why we just can't shave them bald in the summer. SH is against it, though, complaining that Shirley is "pretty" and he doesn't want to take that from her.

Laverne is pretty too, you know. Just because Shirley is SH's favorite is no reason to insult Laverne.

The other issue we have had to address is the air temperature problem.

SH and I rarely use our air conditioner. I hate a/c on principle - I spend so much time here being cold that it is a relief to be warm, finally. I also hate paying to make the air cold. I hate even more paying to make it cold just for the cats. Sheesh.

But there are times when it gets too warm even in our house, which is odd, because our house holds cold very, very well in the winter.

We have an old house - built in 1928 - with a retrofit air conditioner that is outside of our bedroom on the first floor.

The guest room is on the second floor on the other side of the house.

Remember what you learned in 8th grade science? How hot air moves and how cold air moves?

What we have in the guest room - the place in the house furthest from the air conditioner - is a perfect storm of hot air/cold air mismatch.

The cold air from the air conditioner is supposed to move upstairs and across the house to replace the hot air that is collecting in the westward-facing guestroom.

It doesn't work very well.

The few days it is ever hot enough to use the air conditioning in our house always seem to coincide with the few days we have company.

The Big Factotum, she does not do so well when it is 86 degrees in her room at night.

In past years, we have tried setting up a series of fans across the upstairs, but to no avail.

This year, when she asked if she could just sleep downstairs in the living room, we had to take action.

Not that it would be any skin off my back if she slept there, but it is not the best sleeping location in the house.

SH decided we needed a window unit air conditioner.

Did his research. Took his measurements. Made his decision. (Without consulting me, but I didn't care. I am a big picture person, happy to delegate the details to someone who is obsessive about them. All I want is the result: my mother sleeping happily in the guest room. If he wants to do all the work involved in getting a window unit, more power to him. There are some advantages to being married to someone who is very, very picky. Some.)

Went out to buy said air conditioner.

And there were none to be found.

Because apparently, summer is not the time that stores keep air conditioners in stock.

He came home, cranky. In solidarity, I was cranky. My mom would be cranky, too.

I didn't want a cranky mom. Neither did he. So he persisted. Went back online. Searched and searched and searched. Found some at Best Buy. Left. Returned with a box. Took it upstairs. Took the air conditioner out of the box. "That will never fit," I said. Crap.

He put on the pleated attachments that go on either side of the unit.

"That'll never fit," I said. "You'll have to leave off one of the accordion side thingies."

"I measured. Yes it will," he said.

It didn't fit.

Ha. I love being right.

Except I hate having an uncomfortable guest room.

"Maybe if you take one of those thingies off the side," I suggested.

"That won't work," he said.

"We can try."

"It won't work."

"Why can't we at least try?"

"It won't work."

"Is it so hard to just try it?"

He surrendered. Removed one of the accordion side thingies. Tried again to fit the unit into the window.

It fit.

Ha. I love being right.

And I love having an air conditioned guest room.

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