So it’s funny how a little thing like nearly freezing to death can motivate you. Since the ice storm of last February (which hit, btw, on my freaking birthday), and watching the utterly inept response of the state’s political and economic elite, and seeing the pretty obvious intent of the afore said Power Elite to continue to do absolutely nothing but make the world safe for billionaires and flee to Cancun while us peons starve in the dark…well, I’ve been just a bit hyper on the subject of home repair.
Specifically, I’ve been prepping like a survivalist on d-meth. Or, if not exactly that, then I’ve been hurrying to complete all the repairs and upgrades I should have done a long time ago, but which I was too lazy or unmotivated to get done.
Like for example…
I met with an arborist on Monday, March 22, because we have all these big old trees overhanging the house and a couple of ‘em dropped limbs during the storm and they coulda squashed us like a bug, and we were really, really lucky that they missed and next time their aim might be better.
Trees and ice...
Then, on Tuesday, I met with the painter guy to finish repairs to our ceiling and after that, on the same day, I had a chap come in to repair the screens on the windows because next time the power fails it probably will be summer and without air conditioning Texas is about as habitable as Hades on an off day, and if we have to be here in the middle of it, it would be nice to have some open windows…without letting in Texas bugs, which are all of them ‘bout as big as Sopwith Camels on steroids and all of whom bite, sting, stink, or are otherwise as welcome as a visitation from the Four Horseman plus a couple of jerks selling time shares on Pluto.
Then, on Wednesday morning, the tree trimmers got here and that was fascinating ‘cause they were all these muscular twenty-something guys with big ropes who bounded up the trees like Tarzan and then they were dropping limbs, twigs, branches, dead wood, and ball moss in all directions.
Actually, truth be told, they were really, if weirdly, graceful. It was sort of like watching Cirque du Soleil … but with chainsaws.
On that same day, I met with the cooling and heating guy. You see, our air conditioner hasn’t worked since the Ice Storm. Not that we needed it DURING the storm, you understand. But, you know, well, it IS Texas and summer is coming and like I said before, Hades with Bugs. So the heating and cooling guy came out and looked at it, and said, Oh-Holy-Calamari-Nostrils! and pointed out where the wiring had, mysteriously, melted into slag, presumably during one of the times when the power had gone off (a.k.a.,“rolling blackouts”) and then come back unexpectedly with a zap-and-phizt!
Okay, so that means that we’re getting a new air conditioner, and a furnace (it was over 25 years old, anyway)…which I had expected, but I hoped to squeak through one more year. As it is, we’re not. There may, in fact, be some high pitched and rather pathetic squeaking involved, but it will have to do with me while I’m writing out checks rather than with the air conditioner and furnace.
Speaking of electrical stuff, did I mention that I’m getting a backup generator? Well, I am. I signed the contract last week with the electrical guy, and it is supposed to be installed “sometime” in the next 12 weeks. Maybe. I’m at the end of a very long list. Lots, and lots, and LOTS of people are getting backup generators right now. But it is going to be a very cool generator—specifically, a natural gas powered Guardian 10kW Home Backup Generator from Generac Power Systems Inc.
Some guys have a midlife crisis and buy a Porsche. Some guys get a boat. Some guys get a babe…and a divorce…and serious alimony payments.
I get a generator.
Hey. My mama didn’t raise no foolish children. One ugly one, sure. But not foolish ones.
One ugly one, sure. But no foolish ones.
On Tuesday, March 27, the guys from the heating and cooling company showed up. And, in a short few hours later, we had a new furnace and a new air conditioner. Shout out to Miller Climate Control LLC (hi, Chris!) who did an excellent job and I know that because nothing has, as yet, exploded or melted into a pool of molten slag or otherwise done the sort of things that I always expect to happen when large, expensive, complicated items with a capacity for disaster are installed in my general vicinity. It’s a talent I have. Maybe I was born that way. Maybe it was acquired. Only my hair dresser knows for sure. (Does anyone still remember that ad? Ah, well.)
Where was I? Oh, yes. So far the air conditioner and the furnace have worked just fine. I texted my son about them something witty along the lines of “Oh, look, the Easter Bunny came early this year, and he left us two very large eggs.” I attached pictures of the aforesaid equipment and added a smily face so he’d know that I was making a joke and he was supposed to laugh heartily. It’s very important to do this because it is, alas, sad how often people don’t know they’re supposed to be laughing, heartily, when I make my hilariously funny (yet tasteful!) jokes. Instead, they roll their eyes and mutter “oh, Kee-rist,” and sigh deeply. Tragic really. I do wish they’d get their cues straight. Maybe I should install a laugh track.
Anyway, he wrote back that it “must be nice” to have the new equipment. So, naturally, I responded that, yes, it was a lovely change of pace to be able to turn on the heat and/or air and not vaguely suspect that the house was going to shake itself into oblivion like Fats Waller playing a nuclear-powered, jet assisted, Turbo-Electric Glockenspiel during an earthquake at a cymbal factory.
He hasn’t answered that one.
Definitely need to get that laugh track.
This is an Easter Egg. No. Really.
Also that morning (it was a busy day) the painter guys showed up to paint the ceiling where the’d had water damage before we got the new roof in January because we’d had a hail storm …with hail the size of Volkswagens…well, okay, not that big, but the size of golfballs…the previous year and it put some holes in the shingles and there’d been some dripping. It wasn’t awful, but the ceiling in the living room looked sort of like it had a bad case of acne. Green acne. Or maybe mold. Six of one. But I can’t criticize. I had the same thing as a teenager. Except with bigger bumps and more color. Like mauve. And pVck yellow. And Ain’t-Nobody-Going-With-To-The-Prom-With-*you*—Bro Orange. Ah, the joys of the spectrum.
Then they finished painting, and the heat and cooling guys finished with all their stuff, and and everybody (finally) went away, and we breathed a sigh of relief and just as we were about to leave because we hadn’t been outside all day when the generator guy shows up…not that he had the generator to install, you understand. That’s still on backorder. But he was there to pick up the down payment. So I wrote him a check. It was large. Very large. Breathtaking even. But…
Before he left, the generator guy causally mentioned that they are already talking about having rolling brown-outs in the summer because they have already figured out that they power companies aren’t going to be able to handle the demand given the phenomenal growth of the Austin area.
Did I mention my mama didn’t raise no foolish children?
Anyway, that’s what’s been happening this week. I’ve just been a freaking little busy bee... buzzing all over the gawddang place.
Next week? I’m still waiting for the generator to get here, though that’s a ways away, yet. In the meantime, I need to fix the Coleman “screened shelter” that we had the in back yard.Think tent with bug screen walls and a roof. It was a great place to picnic and not have to worry about bugs (Sopwith Camel, remember?) mugging you for your ham sandwich. Unfortunately, the ice storm, plus a few falling tree limbs, caused a small amount of damage to the shelter. As in, totaled it. I’ve ordered replacement parts, but apparently the supplier is backed up. So…
And I want to do something with a water filter...and maybe get in a few more canned goods or other non-perishables...just in case. Like I say, I’m just a blur.
Funny how a near death experience can marvelously focus the mind.
Okay, the Ice Storm wasn’t REALLY a near death experience. Not for us, anyway. Still…
Getting all serious now…
I have, on occasion, been in danger during the course of my life. I’ve been threatened. And I’ve been alone. And… only once but that was enough…I was shot at.
But I’ve never before lived in a place where i thought that I and my family, or my friends and my neighbors, might be in trouble…
And the officials we had elected to government simply didn’t give a damn whether we lived or died.
It’s hard to forget that.
Or, forgive it.
Until next time…
Onward and upward.
Copyright©2021 Michael Jay Tucker
And they didn't give a damn...