I know I shouldn’t say it, but I dread this week.
I realize that this week will always arrive; not much I can do about it. I also realize that it is my own fault, my lack of preparation that makes it harder than it has to be.
Yes, it is the second week in June here in the Lakes Region and that means only one thing: it’s time to put the air conditioners in the windows again.
This yearly struggle is nothing I ever look forward to. I put it in the back of my head until the inevitable moment comes when I turn on the TV and hear the frightening news: “It’s going to be a beautiful weekend with temperatures in the 80s and possibly hitting the 90s.”
I sit and stare at the TV. I’m not surprised, just unnerved a bit. It seems that only last week it was in the 50s and summer heat would never arrive. After all, it is a short season. Maybe, I thought, I’ll get lucky this year and we will have a cold, rainy summer.
But, like my hopes for a New York Jets Super Bowl victory, it only takes a few weeks into the real season to realize that those hopes will once again be dashed.
In fairness to me, I did do a bit of preparation ahead of time. I went to a local hardware store and bought some insulation as well as the tiny screws to hold the air conditioners in place that I can never find the day of the actual installation.
Still, the thought that I would never have to use them crossed my mind. That would have been fine; there is always next year.
Of course, that wasn’t to be and the bad news from the weatherman with the overbearing smile confirmed to me it was time.
The windows in our house are wooden and a bit old. They have a series of ancient screens and storm windows on runners that one can spend hours trying to get to open and close correctly. That one being me.
The first task is to bring the air conditioners up from the basement. Each one weighing, in my estimate, about 950 pounds.
Once all three air conditioners are upstairs, I take the rest of the day off.
The next morning, I prepare for the day by finding anything else to do but install (which is a fancy word for what I do) the beasts. But rising temperatures and the constant stepping over of the things, forces me to action.
Tackling the first beast, I begin by carefully laying insulation down on the bottom of the window. I have gotten fairly proficient in this over the last several years. Then I lift the air conditioner and, as the last of my strength begins to seep from my arms, I plop it into the window, knocking out of place the masterpiece of my insulation work.
I won’t go into the back and forth that takes place between the placement of the air conditioner and the adjustment of the insulation until all is “close enough”. First, I don’t want to give away all my secrets and, second, there isn’t enough space here to do so.
Once the beast is in the window and the window closed so as not to let it fall outside, it is time for a snack. I’m also pretty sweaty; be nice to have some cool air soon.
Feeling energized, it is time to pull out the accordion like sides that will fit snugly into the grooves of the window to keep the cool air from escaping outside. Two hours tops for this job.
Time for lunch.
I was excited since this year I wouldn’t get caught unaware in searching for those obnoxious little screws needed for final attachment to the window. I had remembered the struggle of spending a hour sorting through our assortment of loose screws and nails last year only to find a couple of flatheads that would work with nary a flathead screwdriver in sight.
This is when butter knives come in handy.
I proudly opened the box of Phillip Head small screws I had the foresight to purchase beforehand. Unfortunately, it had been a year of moving tools around for whatever reason and now there wasn’t a Phillips Head tool in sight, only five flatheads.
After about an hour, I found some flathead screws in the pile.
It is now the third day and all three air conditioners are installed. Now I can make my home as cold as it is in the winter when I need to turn on the heat. It’s a shame to think in only four months I will need to take my works of art apart again.
Maybe next year I’ll learn how to ride a motorcycle so I have an excuse for something else to do this week.