The Money Pit. Part 8. “He said unit.”
This is part of an ongoing blog. To read it from the beginning, read “The Money Pit, Parts 1-7. Pack a lunch.
“Oh my God! How hot is it in here?” I asked my husband.
“Stacy, try and stop thinking about it,” Poptart replied.
“I am freaking out!” I told him while looking at him with a slightly psychotic look in my eyes, tearing at my clothes. It’s not the heat that’s going to get you in Houston; it’s the humidity that’s will kill you. “I can’t take it anymore. I’m going to Lowes tomorrow, I think I can fix the air conditioner.”
“Please don’t touch anything, you’ll just make it worse,” Poptart told me.
“No I won’t.” I couldn’t believe he was doubting my home improvement skills. “I have been thinking this whole thing over and I’m convinced it’s the fuse in the thermostat. All we need is a new fuse and the air will work again.” And then I said the dreaded words.
“TRUST ME,” I told him, showing him the location of what I was sure was the source of our problem. Poptart looked pained. He didn’t want me to run rampant in our house, but he was late for work. He made me promise to only touch the fuse and nothing else. I made this promise to his face and kept two fingers crossed behind my back.
It was Friday and it was a scorcher. I dropped Mini-Me off at preschool and went straight to Lowes. I walked into what I consider to be the second best store on earth. A shoe store will always rank number one. “Fuses,” was all I could manage to say to the greeter at the door. I was a woman on a mission. I had an air conditioner to fix. I was directed to the proper location but encountered a small problem. None of the fuses looked exactly like the one I had taken out of the thermostat. Now what? Sure I could ask someone for help, but that would be admitting I had no idea what I was doing, so I just bought a box of 10 different tiny fuses. One of them had to fit.
On my way to the checkout I saw the book that was going to solve all my problems. “The Do It Yourself Home Electrical Handbook.” I couldn’t wait to show this to Poptart. He was going to be so impressed by my ability to save money and time while single-handedly renovating our home. Today, electricity. Tomorrow, carpentry. I was so excited when I heard his car pull into the driveway.
“Look what I just bought!” I blurted, with one hand on my book and the other hand extended, waiting for the inevitable high five.
High five not coming.
“Don’t you need some sort of ID to buy a book like that? Selling a book like that to someone like you is really irresponsible. Can I sue them for negligence when you burn our house down?” he asked. “I’m begging you here. Please. DO. NOT. TOUCH. THE. ELECTRICITY,” he told me, making himself very clear.
Fine. So the electricity was off limits. For now. But I still had the fuses. I read the instructions on the thermostat on how to replace the one I was sure was blown, and one by one I tried all ten fuses. Nothing. My plan had failed. I was going to have to wait for the “professional.” Drat!
Saturday finally rolled around and it was hotter than Hades in our house. Ding Dong. The front door bell goes off. Not sure if it was the plumber I ordered or the air conditioning guy, I prayed for the air conditioning guy. I opened the door and score! Air conditioning dude. Sweet. Poptart and I explained the problem and he went right for the thermostat. “You think it may be a fuse problem?” I asked him in my, “hey I know what the hell I’m talking about” voice. Poptart just looked at me and rolled his eyes.
“No,” the air guy replied. “Where is your breaker box?”
“In the garage,” I said, deflated.” I could have sworn it was the damn fuse. After a couple of minutes in the garage I heard the sound of the air come on. He was officially my hero. “Your breaker was turned in the off position.” He informed us. Awesome. Now we were going to have to pay $60 dollars for him to come flip a switch for us. I knew Poptart should have let me use the Electrical Guide! I’m sure the book would have said something about the electrical breaker.
“I’m going to need to check out your units,” the air guy said, as I giggled. My husband just shook his head back and forth and told him, ”I’m sorry, I’m married to Beavis. Both units are in the backyard on the side of the house.” The A/C guy went outside and I broke into a full giggle and said, “He said ‘unit.’”
The air guy came back in and then said he needed to go up into the attic. I thought we had already solved the problem. Now what was he looking for? After about 20 minutes of him stomping around up there he came back down and told us our air-conditioning system was fine. That was a relief. “But you’re going to need a new furnace,” he informed us. “The one you currently have has scorch marks on the side of it and is a huge fire hazard. Don’t turn it on. Your house could catch on fire.” He was kidding right? How could this happen? We had gotten a homeowner’s inspection before we bought the house. Wouldn’t the inspector have seen the scorch marks? Our A/C guy called the home warranty company and gave us an estimate on the furnace. The warranty company would cover the furnace but they weren’t going to cover the parts, which meant that it was going to cost us an extra $1,200 for the new unit. All of a sudden “unit” wasn’t funny anymore. He left us the estimate and we just stared at each other in disbelief. There was no way the home inspector missed this. The A/C guy must be lying to us. So Poptart and I went up into the attic to look for ourselves and sure enough the scorch marks were as clear as day.
Ding Dong. Oh shit! I forgot about the plumber. I ran back downstairs to let the plumber in and took him into the dining room to show him where the flooring guys had seen the moisture. I also told the plumber that the wall where the moisture was coming from housed a sink and an icemaker. “No, it couldn’t be either of those things,” he told us. “Shouldn’t you at least take a look at them?” Poptart asked.
“No need. You see it’s coming from inside the walls here. All this here is water damage,” he told us as he started pointing at what appeared to be tape remnants on the walls.
“If it’s water damage, how can it be in the ceramic knobs too?” I asked him, pointing to the knobs on our cabinets. “And why is it sticky?” Did he think we were totally stupid? “No, it’s water damage. I’m sure of it. What were going to have to do is cut into the walls. The best way to go about it is just to cut through your granite countertops.”
I almost fainted on the spot. On the dining room side was a perfectly easy wall to break into, but this jackass wants to go on the other side of the wall and cut through the granite countertops. Over his dead fucking body. He needed to leave and he needed to leave now. I had had enough for the day. I had an inspector I still needed to curse with a shrinking penis spell, and I didn’t have any more time for a crooked plumber who was trying to tell me tape was a water spot. We didn’t even let him give us an estimate; we just pretty much kicked him out. I wanted to cry. But I posted on Facebook instead.
MD: Well, Plumber # 2 was here and he wants to tear into the cabinets in the kitchen and through our granite countertops. I’m sorry but my money tree is officially dead. I’m going with Plumber # 1 and replacing the rusty pipes in the sink and pulling out the icemaker. The air conditioning guy was also here and he has informed me that we cannot use our furnace this winter because it is a fire hazard and needs to be replaced. I hope it doesn’t get cold anytime soon because we will be using the fireplace. Raccoons be warned. I will light your shit up!!
Steve: The question of the day is…what DOES work in your house?
MD: My bong. I just haven’t used it a really, really long time. I just may have to bring it out of retirement.
Steve: Better watch it, it could be like your fireplace and catch on fire.
Poptart: Anyone want to buy a house in Houston? It’s a cute little “Fixer-upper.” Only structural damage is where I keep banging my head into the walls.
S. Scott: I bid $1.75 and a VW bus.
Poptart: The VW bus is intriguing. But here’s the deal: I either need all four tires, or a really kick ass mural of an Aztec princess painted on the side. If the princess looks like my wife, we’ll throw in the dryer. Because that came with the house and is currently broken too.
Christina: Only if it comes with Raccoons, adhesive on the floors, and an upside down light fixture in the bathroom. Otherwise I don’t want it! Oh and as an added bonus, please, please, please tell me it needs four layers of wallpaper removed. If so, then sold!
S. Scott: Okay, it has four snow tires, it’s lifted for going down to Baja. But no ladies painted on it. BUT, it does say Cannabis Express down the sides with a giant leaf in front. It only drives slow, and it’s hard to shift if you have a Twinkie in your hand.
Christina: You killed my $ tree?!!!
For the most part I have no idea what David says because I don’t speak German. But what I do know is, is that he has a working dryer and furnace. I don’t know if your thinking what I’m thinking, but it may be a time for a road trip to Germany before winter hits here in Houston.
Love it? Hate it? Let me know! Send questions, comments, brownie recipes or random brainfarts to: firstname.lastname@example.org