• October 31, 2014

I’m sure our A/C knew exactly when to quit

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Posted: Friday, July 11, 2014 4:30 am

I’m pretty sure it’s a conspiracy.

Twice in the last three years, our home’s air conditioning unit has gone out over a long holiday weekend.

In 2012, the A/C decided to throw in the towel on the Friday night of Labor Day weekend. This year, it waited until Saturday — the height of the July Fourth weekend — to stop blowing out cool air.

The timing of these household headaches left me and my wife with two choices — either pay the astronomical cost of an after-hours service call or try to swelter through the weekend until the regular rates are back in effect.

Being a couple of weenies, we opted for the expensive quick fix each time, and I think we made the right decision. If nothing else, it helped to keep our frustration to a manageable level.

This most recent holiday equipment breakdown cost us a “cool” $459 — and yes, it could have been worse. But still, it was annoying to have to fork over an extra $100 for a Sunday morning service call.

If these two A/C problems had been the only after-hours breakdowns we’d experienced, I’d be tempted to call it a coincidence. But our garage door has broken three times — and each time, it’s been on weekends or after business hours. That’s three expensive service calls.

It’s almost as if these household devices have a little internal clock that triggers a malfunction as soon as the after-hours rates kick in.

Before the A/C repairman arrived Sunday, my wife got on Facebook and shared a post about our latest after-hours equipment failure.

One Facebook friend suggested we wait until Monday to call for service, in order to avoid the higher rates, and just go to a hotel instead. Even with a bargain-rate hotel, that wouldn’t have saved us much money. Besides, it wouldn’t be very nice to leave our cat behind in the sweltering house while we traipsed off to a cool hotel room.

Another friend concurred with my theory — that the whole thing was a conspiracy.

Just about everyone who commented on my wife’s post was sympathetic. But one friend’s post really put the problem in perspective. He wrote, “First-World problems are the worst.”

He’s right.

We are so blessed to have a nice house with central heat and air conditioning — things we take for granted sometimes. Yet, here we were, grousing about the cost of getting our A/C fixed on a weekend.

We only had to “endure” one night of relative discomfort after our A/C broke down. We still had two table fans and a ceiling fan to give us a breeze while we slept. It wasn’t exactly “roughing it” in the true sense of the phrase. And thanks to our after-hours service call, the house was cool again before noon the next day.

How many people have no money to fix their air conditioning or no air conditioning at all? How many others suffer through the summer heat without so much as an electric fan for relief?

That evening, while watching TV, we saw a heartbreaking commercial showing African children who were dying because they didn’t have clean drinking water.

Against the backdrop of this Third-World crisis, our brief A/C outage was insignificant. We know we have truly been blessed beyond measure, and we should share some of those blessings with others who are less fortunate.

Perhaps we needed this latest adventure in home ownership to reflect on how small most of our problems are in the grand scheme of things.

Still, life lessons aside, the next time a household appliance goes on the fritz, I sure hope it’s a weekday.

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