A Comedy Of Errors

Its finally over, so I can write the whole story now. Also, I’m not so mad/frustrated/fed up that I’m a shaking, crying mess anymore. So that’s good news too. (BTW: Thanks a ton for that, preggo hormones — you raging jerk.)


Scene: Two weeks ago: Its Friday night and the air conditioner won’t turn off. The air conditioner that we had installed exactly ONE YEAR AGO. Hubbs came home and set it to 75 and the house is now 72 degrees and we’ve been trying to turn it off for 20 minutes so I can give the Monkey a bath without giving him hypothermia at the same time. In the end, I make the Hubbs grab a ladder from the garage and shut the bathroom vent, and the Monkey gets his bath in an enclosed, quasi-warm room. Twenty minutes after the Monkey falls asleep, the AC finally turns off.

Saturday evening: We were out all day and come home to an 85 degree house. Hubbs turns on the air conditioner and … nothing. Absolutely nothing. Zip. Zilch. The Monkey’s hair is starting to slick down to his head and his forehead has a sheen to it. We open ALL the windows in the house, turn on all the fans, open the front door and put a baby gate up because we don’t have a screen door. (Why? It’s a pet peeve of mine that the house didn’t come with one.) I call Company F — which installed the AC unit, and they say they’ll send someone over that night.

9:45 p.m.: Company F technician calls and says he’ll be out first thing Sunday morning. FINE.

7:15 a.m. Sunday: Monkey wakes up. And the power’s out. What does the Monkey do each weekend morning? He nibbles on a banana and maybe some crackers while watching Sesame Street on the DVR. No power = no Sesame Street.

7:30 a.m.: Monkey is handing me the remote control and jabbering at me while pointing to the TV. Some words: “Mo” (translation: Elmo), “Goo-Gee” (translation: Cookie for Cookie Monster), and “Naugh!” (his word of choice when he’s frustrated that we don’t know what he’s saying.) Oh, I know what you’re saying kid, but do you know what I’m saying? No power = no Sesame Street.

7:45 a.m.: The Monkey is NOT amused. Hubbs is up and wondering why our child has suddenly turned into a banshee. When it hits me. THE PARK. We’re going to the m-to the-f-ing park. Hey kid, wanna go to the park? For a walk? And see the swings? And the slide? Ever see a toddler run for the door? Priceless.

So we walk outside — in my pjs, essentially. A tank top (and yes, I wore a bra), and some pj pants with flip-flops. I didn’t even brush my hair — just pulled it into a ponytail. And we’re off. And we learn that the whole neighborhood’s power is out, since some of the neighbors are outside and asking one another if THEY have power. And apparently it should be back on by noon. GREAT. Remember the AC guy? He’s coming at 8:30. No power = no AC fixed.

8:20 a.m.: After playing on the swings, slides, and letting him run amok on the grass, we’re headed for home. The technician for Company F pulls in front of the house as we’re walking up the driveway. Fingers crossed that the power’s back on ….

And it is. Whew.

An apple, banana, pancake, and one sippy cup later: The technician has a diagnosis: We’re screwed. The drain pan is broken, and we had water spraying against the interior wall of the house where the AC connects to the furnace. A pipe is broken as well, but he can’t fix it because they need to order the parts. He does a band-aid fix McGuyver style — it involves glue, paper, and a paper towel. No kidding. He’ll talk the the bosses on Monday about ordering the parts and getting it fixed for us ASAP on Monday. Cause his fix is a band-aid and won’t hold for long.

Monday-Tuesday (Last week): I call Company F to get an appointment for the AC. And get the runaround. They don’t have the technician’s paperwork in the system yet. It was a busy weekend. Still looking. Oh, you need to talk to S in the XYZ department about it. And did you know that your 1-year warranty expired on Friday? Well, you see, the part that broke (the drain pan)? We didn’t install that. The company that installed the furnace did that. So we’re not liable. But we’ll send someone out Tuesday to give you an estimate to do the work. Well, if we’re replacing the drain pan, we have to replace the coil as well, because the manufacturer doesn’t sell them separate. How does $1,600 sound? That’s our discounted rate. Want to sign here so I can get the work going for you? What? You want another opinion first … oh … um … OK …

Tuesday-Friday (Last week): I call Company W, which installed the furnace, coil, and drain pan to see how much THEY want to charge me to fix it. They send a technician out Wednesday to look at it. She says it shouldn’t have happened, that’s so weird, yes, we definitely need to fix that. Someone will call you tomorrow to make an appointment to get this fixed right away. The part is under warranty, so they should only charge for labor. And so I spend all of Thursday on the phone getting the run around until I FINALLY talk to a manager who basically tells me that HE has to come out and look at it and that his company isn’t liable because he’s positive Company F broke it when they were hooking the AC up to the furnace. But I have a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty on the coil and drain pan. But that only covers manufacturer defects. So he wants to come out Tuesday and take a look.

This is where my head explodes.

When I calm down, I call a third company — Company H. I talk to John, the owner. He’s a small company with faboo ratings on Yelp. He comes out that night, after work, just to look at it. And he laughs. Here’s his diagnosis: Most likely, Company F broke the thing when they installed the AC unit. And they did a crappy job. Cause the pipes are all freaking wonky. But that’s neither here nor there. He gives us a snowball’s chance in hell that either company (H or W) will take a shred of responsibility, because they want to charge us for the part (plus their cut) and labor. Oh, and the drain pans? They can be bought separate. Easily. He can get it for us and install it for $550. He gives us his card, and suggests we try again with both companies and if we’re not satisfied, to call him back and he’ll fix it for us.

Friday: I call both Company F and Company W. Both of them are pointing fingers at the other, saying they are not liable for the fix. All I want is my damn AC fixed. How much for the part, and how much for the labor? Company W won’t even tell me what the cost is. Company F says its fully on Company W and that THEY need to do it, etc., etc. Just getting this far, took me 4 hours on the phone. I’m pissed in a major way. I’m totally raging, hormonal, and start crying. At work. FABULOUS. Stupid preggy hormones. So I e-mail the Hubbs, and I tell him I’m done. I can’t do this anymore, and I’m not wasting any more of my time or cell phone minutes on this. I’m calling John and he’s doing the work. And the Hubbs says “OK” and tells me to calm down. Cause stress isn’t good for the baby.

What do you think this entire week was? And so my head explodes again.

I call and leave John a message, saying we want him to do the fix and to please call me back. Then I call Company W and tell them to cancel any appointments they made to come out to the house because I’m having someone else fix it and I’m never giving them business ever again. And their receptionist has never sounded more relieved in her life and she happily says “OK, so I’ve canceled your appointment tomorrow. THANK YOU!” And so I wonder if that’s what they wanted the entire time and my brain threatens to implode again, so I go take a walk.

Thursday night: John calls back. What day is best for me? Wednesdays, since I telecommute. We make an appointment for the 7th (yesterday). He thinks the band-aid fix will hold until then. The tech actually did a decent job on that — so he’ll order the part and see us Wednesday. In the meantime, just try to go easy on the AC use.

Cut to yesterday — Wednesday: John is here! John is here! And guess what? He found a refrigerant (Free-on) leak in one of the pipes. (Am I surprised? NO.) Because of the materials, he’ll have to charge us an extra $150 for that. And he apologizes for not catching it the first time he was there. And then he starts shaking his head. The exhaust pipe? Wasn’t glued in like it was supposed to be. (Of course.) And the drain pipe to the outside? Wasn’t draining. (Naturally.) So he fixed that too. He’s amazed that our unit passed the permit process. So he fixes the leak in the pipe, glues in the exhaust pipe like it should be, fixes the drain pipe so water can … you know, DRAIN out of the system, replaces the drain pan, and then lets the system run for a good 20 minutes before going outside and inside testing everything for leaks and to make sure everything is draining properly. He checks the indoors for the refrigerant leak. And we’re good. He also fixes the pipes in the furnace closet and then cleans up and is gone.

And the Hubbs and I go around and look into the closet where the furnace is and it looks pristine. The AC is back up and running like a champ. And John went an showed us what he was doing at each step, so I’m pointing out where the refrigerant leak was and the Hubbs points to where he fixed a pipe, and he goes: “That guy has some SERIOUS pride in his work. He was out there checking and double checking things to make sure they were working properly.”

And that is the AC story. Moral of the story: Freaking call John first next time.


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