Aug 13, 2006

Life Immitates Seinfeld

I am punting on Part II of the Architectural Education Rant for the time being to bring you a more universally entertaining story. This happened last week, but after sharing it with some coworkers and seeing the sustained amusement it generated, I will document it here for posterity. There is no moral to this story; file under, "If you didn't laugh, you'd cry."

Did you know that every A.C. window unit has a filter that must be cleaned? I guess I knew that, but had probably sent the information to what I call the "long term storage" warehouse of my brain. I'm not so into A.C. in general, but since T.J. is one of those dudes who is always hot, I conceded to having two window units in the upper floor of our house. As far as I can tell, it never occurred to either of us to clean the filters at any point.

One day, we get home after the ladies had come. The "ladies" are the Portuguese ladies that come every two weeks and help us not to be disgusting in exchange for eighty dollars. They clean the surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen, sweep, vacuum, and that's about it. But it is always nice to come home and see the bathroom sink all clean and shiny.

So the ladies had come, and there's this note on the dining room table that says, "Todd: There is H20 all over the futon and desk upstairs from the A.C." (That's kind of funny in itself because when you talk to them in English or even Spanish, they have no idea what you're saying, but then they go ahead and write "H20" to mean water... go figure.)

We went upstairs and indeed, there was water all over my papers and the futon and the curtain and the floor. T.J. figured that the AC outlet where the condenser water drips out must be clogged, so he took the unit out and set about to cleaning the filter out in the bathroom. This took him at least 45 minutes, and resulted in a lot of wet and dirty towels on the floor. Also, the previously shiny sink was filthy and also clogged. Totally clogged with dirt and fuzz and crap.

But at least the filter was clean, so the Teej puts it back in the unit and then goes to put the unit back in the window. I saw him preparing to put it in, and it occurred to me to ask if he needed help, but my mind jumped back to a previous situation where I asked him if he needed help with the same task last year, and he said something like, "No, it's easier to do it myself." So I keep walking and go in the bedroom.

Momentarily I hear a very loud and very bad noise. Then silence. I peek into the office and there is T.J. and there is an open window and there is clearly no type of A.C. unit. He just kind of looks at me in acknowledgement of the fact that yes, the unit just fell out the window onto the brick pavers below.

Now, when I heard the bad noise, it actually didn't sound to me like an A.C. unit hitting bricks. It sounded more like a person jumping through a plate glass door. So doing some quick mental arithmetic, I come over and stick my head way out the open window and look down. I see lots of glass shards. There was nothing made of glass on the patio, so I go downstairs to confirm that the unit had smashed the kitchen window below on its way down.

Now's a good point in our story to take stock. We have:

- One futon soaked with water
- One desk and personal papers covered with water
- One ruined curtain
- One bathroom covered with dirty wet towels
- One newly cleaned bathroom sink, now filthy and clogged
- One smashed A.C. unit with a pointlessly clean filter
- Negative one operational A.C. unit in August
- Negative one functioning kitchen window
- One ghetto piece of plywood over smashed window
- Kitchen sink and patio full of glass
- One dented propane tank

The propane tank on the patio was struck by the falling window unit, and it would have been a much better tragicomedy if the tank had exploded and burned the whole house down, but alas. It didn't.

I think this is one of those stories that my dad in particular would like because he thinks Murphy's law only applies to him. Here we have a beautiful example of how efforts to offset entropy often result in greater entropy. For example, we were trying to cool the house to create a more civilized living environment, but the unit exploded water all over. Then, T.J. took great pains to clean the filter only to subsequently drop the unit out the window. Then, in trying to grab it by the cord, he wound up with cord-burn and the unit swung like a pendulum back towards the house, smashing the window when it would otherwise have fallen straight down.

I reiterate that there is no lesson to be learned here. I'm sure we will both continue to drop A.C. units out the literal and metaphorical windows of our lives. We are only in trouble when it ceases to be funny... right?


Blogger Megan opined...

Oh hon. Bummer. No one got hurt? Cat and dog are fine? Crap.

Well, fixing it is only work, and you guys will get it all back, nicer than it was. This all could have been prevented if the ladies hadn't left a note. You should ask them not to.

1:30 PM  
Anonymous lil dub opined...

here's the thing. getting killed or mutilated by a plummeting air conditioning unit was my greatest urban paranoia in new york (or at least a close second to being electrocuted by a plate of con edison-owned metal on the street). so much so that i often avoided the sidewalk altogether and walked almost in the middle of the street during months when air conditioners were likely to be installed or uninstalled. because the thing is...who are the ones installing and uninstalling those things in windows? people like me! and tj, apparently! look out below, y'll. anyway, sucks. sorry. probably you should just move to L.A. and then you could have come to the souplantation with mom and dad and me tonight (and by tonight i mean 4:30). but anyway.

9:31 PM  
Blogger capella opined...

Gosh, that sucks... much sympathy.

You have given me a new metaphor. All my issues with boys and thesis and whatnot are just air-conditioners falling out of the windows of my life.

1:18 PM  

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