This is yet another week that required a rewrite. I had another piece almost completed until last night when once again, life happened. Subsequently you’re about to read another exciting episode of ‘I swear I can’t make this stuff up’.
Let me first set the stage for you by describing my living situation just in case you are new to the column. I live in a house with my three beautiful daughters; ages 10, 4, and 3, and my gorgeous wife who is now 7 months pregnant. I am banking on the technological validity of the ultrasound machine that there is only one child percolating in her at the moment. I say this because to the naked untrained eye she looks more like she is either in her 11th month, or perhaps we are expecting a litter. This is by no means a knock on her because I think she is more beautiful right now than she’s ever been. I’m simply making a point that she is very pregnant and it’s July. This will come into play later.
Remember about a month ago, after the first few really hot days I told you about how my air conditioner wasn’t working in my house? Well, it’s now five weeks later and I’m still waiting on the new unit to arrive. Now before you hate on me, let me tell you that we rent this house, so I’m not the jackass here. It’s gotten up to as hot as 105 degrees inside my house in that time. When I first called my landlord and explained my situation, to their credit, they had someone here in 20 minutes. Unfortunately, all he was capable of was confirming my claim that it didn’t work. Gee, thanks. Perhaps that’s why you have never, ever looked at the classified section of any paper, in any town, at any time of year and NOT seen multiple ads for ‘HVAC wanted’.
Four days later, a different guy stopped by and I noticed him walking around the outside of my house. In my perpetual naivety, I thought maybe he was here to fix something. I would find out later that all he did was disconnect the unit and my thermostat so we could no longer tell how hot it was in the house.
A week later, two other guys came and removed the old unit and took it away. Once again, I mistakenly thought this was a precursor to a cooler dwelling. Nope! Fortunately, at this point a cold front had come through our area along with a series of storms which knocked the climate inside my house down to the mid 80’s. Still not suitable living arrangements, but it may have saved lives.
Another week goes by and two different guys show up. They would spend the next two days constructing a platform for the new unit to sit on. That was four days ago, and as of this moment, still no new unit. Now we’ll flash forward to yesterday.
My wife had the day off and I didn’t work until the evening. We were home with our three girls, and another 4-year-old girl we were watching for a friend. It was the hottest it’s been in our home yet this year. I spent the day trying my best to keep everyone cool and hydrated. I think I may have purchased every available floor fan in Worcester County. Everyone was on edge and at each others’ throats. If you’ve ever been the only male in a house with five pissed off females, I wouldn’t recommend it. And just to add an extra wrinkle to the mix, my 10-year-old has a severe ear infection that she’s not coping with well.
We sweated and lumbered through the day and the rising temperatures with irritation levels that were palpable. I’m not sure what was thicker in the air, the humidity or the bitterness. It came time for me to get ready for work. I took a shower and then immediately wondered why, as I was soaked with sweat again before I even got dressed.
As I kissed them all goodbye when I left for work, there was this sense of foreboding that came over me. I had this overwhelming feel that the proverbial, ‘shit was about to get real’. Now I didn’t think that I was going to come home to my three daughters bobbing face down in the tub or anything, but there was the potential for casualties.
Work was pretty uneventful, and shortly after 10:00 P.M. I glanced at my phone. I had just missed a text message from my wife stating that she was taking the kids to Walmart to buy a window unit. I had a myriad of feelings which included both fear and relief. But the night was far from over.
About an hour later I glanced at my phone again to find the longest text message I’d ever received briefing me on the events in my home. I’ll now give you some of the highlights from that text (as much as decorum will permit). It was both the most horrifying, and hysterical thing I’d ever read. I long to one day possess the writing skills required to have created this text.
Upon arriving home with the new window A.C. unit my sick 10-year-old helped my bride carry it in the house because her swollen belly would not allow her arms enough reach to carry it alone. Keep in mind that it is now after 11:00 P.M. and she has to get up for work at 5:30 A.M., and the children are all still awake and hot.
My 4-year-old felt slighted that she couldn’t help carry the box and had a meltdown of biblical proportions. They brought the box into our bedroom and spent the next two minutes or so removing it from the box. Knowing that two minutes is an eternity for a pair of unattended toddlers, my wife returned to the kitchen to check on them.
In that brief time, my 3-year-old had removed a bottle of chocolate syrup from the refrigerator and poured it all over the kitchen floor. She then made a snow angel in it, danced in it and made certain her hands, feet, and face were sufficiently coated. She then ran through every carpeted room on the first floor making sure to touch every wall and piece of furniture in her path. It looked like that Curious George book that never made it to print.
Meanwhile, the 4-year-old stripped down to nothing, stood screaming in the hallway (also carpeted) and pissed on the floor literally right outside the bathroom. She was now speaking in tongues loud enough for all the neighbors to hear and the only words my poor bride could make out were, “I hate you!”
I finished my shift and took my time closing because, honestly, I was afraid to go home. I opened my front door around 3:00 A.M. to an eerie calm and quiet. I had no idea what to expect as I turned on the light. I was surprised to find how clean it was with the exception of a few faint, tiny brown footprints leading from the kitchen to the living room. I resisted the urge to laugh in case there was an ambush awaiting me. I reticently opened my bedroom door and was relieved to feel a blast of air approximately 67 degrees. In bed was my lovely pregnant wife sound asleep with a smile on her face. On the floor on my side of the bed was a brand new air mattress on which 2 little cherubs were also sound asleep. For at least that one brief moment, all was right in my perpetually twisted world.
Thanks for playing along. Until next week, Syd Nichols.
And by the way, if I still don’t have A.C. by the time I write next week’s piece, the first paragraph will be the name, phone number, email address, home address, business address, tag number, and description of my landlord.