Monday, August 25, 2014

The Florida Heat Comes Inside

Last week was the week for gremlins, not that car of the sixties or seventies, but those tiny little creatures that like to sneak in and tear up perfectly fine machines. Friday morning, while taking Char to work, the electrical system of the new van decided to shut our van down. I couldn’t switch gears. I couldn’t steer. I couldn’t even get the key out of the ignition. We called the warranty people and had it towed for repairs. They don’t work weekends like the rest of the universe, so we’re still waiting.

Saturday night, the toilet in the master bedroom decided it didn’t like its job anymore and walked out in the middle of a job. I popped the lid to see if I could coax it back to work However, I noticed this wasn’t your basic toilet employee, but rather a CEO-like contraption, where you have to lift the lever for number one and lower it for number two. I suppose it is meant to save water, but it made it impossible for a quick fix until another part could be purchased. I ripped it out and put a new old-fashioned system in. If I want to save water, I’ll do what my dad did and put a brick in the tank so less water is required to fill it.

However, the break down that hurt the worse and caused the most distraction occurred Saturday morning when our air conditioning gave up the ghost. The morning started off normal. Well, not exactly normal. You see, it was Teri’s birthday weekend, so the girls and I pried ourselves out of bed at five-frickin’-thirty in the morning and drove over to the beach to watch the sun rise. For those of you who have never ventured out this early for the sole purpose of watching the sun wake up, I think it’s high time you did. Sunrises and sunsets are never the same and always take your breath away while capturing the heart. It was a gorgeous way to start the day. At least we started well.

Afterwards, we ventured to a small cafĂ© on the beach for breakfast and mimosas. Nothing says it’s going to be a great day like alcohol for breakfast. Or perhaps this was just some liquid fortitude for the day ahead. I should have started with whisky. Either way, it wasn’t a bad beginning. It was when we returned home that things began to take a turn for the worse.

I’m not sure what you keep your air conditioner set at, but during the day ours is at 78 degrees, because the girls would kill me if it was any higher, electric bill be damned. At night, we keep it a little lower, because we like it colder while we sleep. This past Saturday, however, after we returned home from our morning excursion, we noticed the temperature in the house was at eighty-one. Just looking at that giant number made me break out in a sweat. Then, when I remembered we had 30 people coming over that night for Teri’s birthday party, I began to melt, I wanted to soak myself in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

We were already scheduled to attend Char and Sarah’s company picnic and then we had reservations for dinner with six of our friends. I didn’t have time for this! I am too busy for a mechanical failure.

I turned several buttons, including flipping the breakers off and then on again–my version of kicking it. It wasn’t frozen, so I was hoping it just needed a reset of sorts. We crossed our fingers and went to the girls’ company picnic. Whoever has company picnics in August should really have their positions reconsidered. While the event was well planned and a lot of fun, standing outside in ninety-six degree weather is not a way to build company morale. At least not my morale.

As we neared the front door upon our return home; we were praying to the air condition gods that it was working.

It wasn’t.

We knew the minute we opened the door as a wall of hot, humid air greeted us. This day was taking a drastic turn. I would rather be too cold than too hot, because, as my mother always said, “I can always put more clothes on. You can only take so much off.”

The human Foosball table.

A quick call went out to the A/C guy with much begging and pleading. He was there in fifteen minutes and in another thirty the air kicked on. There was great rejoicing in the land. We watched as the thermostat went from 87 degrees down to 86 and then to 85. It was working! Just the fact that it had started dropping seemed to cool us off and raise our spirits. We went about our business, getting showered and dressed for dinner.

Oyster shots with vodka
After a while, when it should have reached 78 by my calculations, I checked it. It was still at 85. It shouldn’t have been at 85. Then I watched as it climbed to 86 and then to 87. Moods darkened like storm clouds as another call went out. And a text message. No answers came back. We didn’t have time to listen even if they had as we were supposed to be somewhere at 5:30. At least the car had air conditioning and, hopefully, the restaurant. We left the unit on in case the guy returned while we were at dinner and once again prayed.

The air conditioning gods are stubborn gods.

At this point, with thirty people about to swarm our 2,000 square foot oven, there was nothing to do except throw open the windows, turn the fans on high, and smile big.

It has a tough job ahead of it
The party was still a great success. People mingled, we took dips in the pool, and drank. A lot. By the time the last person left at 2:30, it was still hot, but we were too exhausted to care. We had pulled together and not only survived the day, but also thrived throughout the night. Sunday, a friend brought over and installed a portable air unit, so we were able to have one room that was kept semi-cool. We spent the day in the pool and out by the grill, every once in a while popping into that cool sanctuary for a brief respite from the heat. We love Florida and can usually deal with the heat, but that’s because we have the interiors to escape to when the exterior world becomes a sweat rag. We love being outside. We just need to know that there is an escape possible once in a while.

As I said, we not only survived, we also thrived. When tempers became frayed, one of us would pull the others back with a smile.  We all had our moments of impatience and tension due to the heat, but overall we made the best of a miserable situation, because, as they say, “misery loves company.” Yet, when you love the company you are with, misery becomes joy, even sweaty joy. Surround yourself with loyal, loving people and you’ll always make it out of any situation. I am blessed to be surrounded by the best.

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