Monday, September 3, 2012

The Other Day, Our AC Broke

I'd like to think I've done a pretty good job of not being THAT pregnant woman who is never comfortable and who is never content, but when our air condition unit went out this weekend, I briefly considered giving myself a pass to become a whiny, hormonal mess.

It all started on Saturday. Smiley was outside working on the truck and I was inside, relaxing and browsing the internet for funny articles to read. I noticed that I was somewhat uncomfortable and went to go turn down the thermostat a degree or two.

Our thermostat (and air conditioning unit) are both quite ancient, but they got the job done. Until now. I noticed that the thermostat was reading at 82 degrees, which was quite a bit above the 78 degrees I had set it at. I tried turning the dial to 76 to trip the unit on, but heard nothing. Curious, I pushed it down further, all the way to 70 degrees and listened.


A little nervous, I went out back and checked the outside unit to see if it was running. It was.

I went back inside and checked to make sure I wasn't just tuning out the a/c noise. No, I wasn't.

So I went out front where my husband was dealing with the truck and told him that the a/c wasn't working and could he come take a look at it?

It didn't take him long to see that there was something wrong. He checked and replaced the filter in the wall and checked the outside unit, which was running correctly. But no air was coming inside, so he had to pull down the ladder to the attic to check the air handler part of the unit. I waited nervously in the garage, trying not to think about how warm it was in our house and how much warmer it must be up in our attic.

Eventually he came down and declared that most likely, a certain part of the unit was broken. He started calling around to find a replacement part. I listed to his side of the conversations, alternatively fanning myself and staring into space, trying to ignore the humidity and the voice inside my head that was yelling things about how much it could cost to fix this and how miserable it was to be this humid.

He was able to get the part. It took a simple drive across town (I went along, of course, to partake in the beautiful car a/c) and then he was back in our toasty attic, putting the part back in.

When he called down to me to start the unit inside, I went dutifully to the thermostat and clicked it to "on," holding my breath.

There was a horrible, awful metal on metal sound as the a/c unit clicked on and started to somewhat blow air into the house. It sounded like something sort of scraping against something else or maybe a piece moving too fast or too slow; I didn't know. It just sounded awful.

I went out into the garage and told him that it was kind of working but the noise was ridiculous. He agreed. He wasn't sure what was happening. We ran the kind-of-working air condition for a bit to try and reduce some of the humidity before bed, but the noise and the worry that we were damaging something worse made it impossible to run for long.

Now, trying to sleep when it's hot and humid is not a pleasant task to begin with. Toss in being almost 37 weeks pregnant, and I thought I was going to cry. I had never felt so huge and uncomfortable at any point previously and I could feel my fingers swelling. It was harder to move my fingers. The pillows that normally felt great supporting my back and legs now felt like little personal furnaces, taking my extra body heat and just keeping it right up against me.

Finally, I got up and grabbed a bowl of ice and used the slowly melting ice water to rub on my arms and face. It provided a few moments of comfort. The night became a cycle of feeling ridiculously awake and ridiculously warm and like I would never fall asleep and then I would fall asleep when my body could no longer keep me awake. I almost immediately fell into REM sleep each time, having weird and annoying dreams that felt quite like I was still awake at times.

One time, I thought I heard something loud fall outside our window, like a branch. But when I got up, I saw that part of our neighbor's fence had fallen down and a woman was staring at me. I knew it had to be a dream when she came into our yard and walked though the window and started telling me her story. I woke up feeling so confused as to whether I did actually hear something fall or if that had all been part of my dream.

Another time, I had been awake for ten minutes or so, and I could have sworn up and down that someone came into our room and was standing there. But I couldn't move to wake up Smiley. After a few agonizing moments, I opened my eyes and - no one was there. I was awake again.

This repeated over and over until the sunrise, at which time I finally decided to get up again. I figured I'd open the windows and try to cool the house down some. According to the weather channel, I had about two hours before it would be ridiculously hot again. I tried not to think about it. I tried not to think about how much it could cost or how long we could be without a/c.

My husband wasted no time it getting back up in the attic while it was still "cool-ish" from the night air. I alternatively sat in each room in our house, moving when my body heat started to warm the space, knowing that shortly, the bright sun outside would heat up the air too much to have any form of comfort. I thought about how I would go to a store, maybe, and hang out there. But then I felt bad, because I couldn't leave my husband behind in the hot attic working on our a/c. But then I felt worse, because I didn't want to be so uncomfortable.

Finally, I heard the words I was dying to hear - "Hon, I think I know what the problem is."

Smiley had taken the fan out of the air handler and brought it down into the garage to check it out. By lucky happenstance, he had noticed that when the fan blades moved, they made the awful noise we had heard (albeit, at a much slower and quieter rate than when they were being powered by the motor) and that when the fan was at a certain angle, it didn't make any noise at all.

The fan had simply come unbalanced! I could have danced for joy as he explained that he was pretty certain he could make the fix. He brought the fan back into the attic after messing with the fan and started to put it back together.

I'll admit, I did climb up the ladder at one point and went into the ladder to give him some tools, which I guess is kind of a no-no at this point, but I would have done anything I could have to get our air conditioner working again.

And by george - when he gave me the all clear to turn it on again, it turned on.

There was no extra noise, no metal on metal - just cool, wonderful, beautiful air. Smiley was drenched in sweat from sitting up in the attic, putting the pieces of the unit back together. I was reminded yet again why I am so lucky to have a husband who knows his stuff.

And then I took a nice, long, relaxing nap. What a weekend!

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