Monday, August 29, 2011

Small change of plans

Our air conditioning broke Saturday.  So I started cleaning out my house Sunday.

You may wonder what a broken A/C unit has to do with cleaning out the house, and why on earth someone would choose to actually expend effort when there's a strong likelihood of ending up all hot and sweaty.

As many of you know, our house is broken.  Our beloved, mid-century ranch requires so much foundation and structural repair that it's simply not worth the effort of fixing.  "If we're gonna dump that much money into a house," we like to say, "It's gonna have bigger closets."

So, for the past 5 or so years (when we found out how much was required to fix the house, which followed by an evening of heavy drinking), we've been simultaneously making our dream house wish list and hoping that nothing major would go wrong in the existing house before we were ready.  Roof.  HVAC.  That sort of thing.  We've been watching the driveway crumble, wondering how long we could let it go before the neighbors started complaining. We figured we were about two years out, and interviewed an architect a few months ago.  Then I got too busy to call any more and set up appointments.

Until Saturday.

In the middle of Zozo's 6th birthday party, in between running around filling guest drinks and serving cake and unwrapping presents and trying to keep kids from beating each other with the pinata bat, M passes by, leans over and whispers, "The air conditioner just broke.  I think the compressor went out."

Well, sh*t.

Uncle Rob checked things over and confirmed it, then was gracious enough to call a few of his buddies and get over-the-phone quotes.  We scowled when we had to put in a new toilet a couple years ago and went with the cheapest one we could find at about $90, which was still painful.  (We literally don't want to put any money into the place.  Not one stinkin' cent.)  The AC would be considerably more than that.

I popped open another beer.

Later that night, after everyone was gone and all the party things were cleaned up and Zoe was bathed and sleeping off her sugar rush in bed, we talked and weighed our options.  Then we talked some more.  Then we went to bed.

Sunday morning we went out for breakfast, and talked some more, and checked our investments and budget.  Pros and cons were discussed.  I asked M, "In your gut, what do you feel?"  His reply mirrored mine: "I'm sick of dealing with this f*cking house."

Some of our gripes are the same, some different.  He can't work on anything electrical in the house without shutting the entire house down, as the wiring is so jacked up it's simply not worth the risk of turning off specific breakers.  I can clean clean clean until the cows come home, but it's never really clean.  Doors stick, walls and ceilings are cracked, and the house is so open to the outside that we ought to just open the doors wide and invite animals to come live with us.   We kill way more bugs than anyone I know, and M's already had to dig a chipmunk carcass out of my dryer.  Right now we have nightly fly quests, killing upwards of 20 to 30, and we can't figure out where in the hell they're coming from.  The house is extremely inefficient, and has a propensity to kill both radio waves and light bulbs.  It also throws pictures from the wall on a regular basis.

"We gotta do something," we agreed.  So, for now, we're accelerating our plans to design/build on our lot, after wrecking the ol' homestead.  I started cleaning out yesterday.  "I'm not moving all this crap."  I brought in 34 pounds (thirty-four pounds) of paper to my office shred bin today.  We threw away so much crap in this morning's trash, along with the party trash, that we looked like the Clampetts after a bender.

That part feels good.  I came in this morning and started calling architects on my short list.  We have a meeting tonight, and are setting another one up for next week.  We'll get some ideas of cost and go from there.  We just might be able to eek out the rest of summer with no air (it's supposed to get hot at the end of this week but we're escaping on a little trip and so it wouldn't affect us anyway), have our last Christmas in The Broken House, and start demolition in the spring.

Or we could end up just ponying up a sh*t-ton of money for an A/C unit.

Eh, well, if we end up doing that, at least we'll have a cleaned-out house to cool.

(Question for the masses: does anyone know what I can do with unwanted, barely-used stuffed animals?  We have enough to start our own store, and they gotta go.  They're in good condition - is there a charity that will take them and give them to kids or something?  I hate to add to the landfill, but I gotta start getting this junk outta my house!)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Often times your local police or ambulance station will take them to hand out to children.

4:13 PM  

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