Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hump Day

The day started out quiet enough. I decided to take advantage of the early morning cool temperatures and bake a couple of dishes. One was zucchini boats and the other was a cornbread casserole. We had dinner at a friend’s house last week and we just had to have that recipe. I sound like the beginning of the song “MacArthur Park.” Whatever happened to Richard Harris’s singing career anyway?

Bill came back from Lowe’s and wasn’t too pleased that I had heated up the kitchen. His solution was to open the oven door to let the heat escape. It old him there was a fan in the oven that cooled off the oven but Bill dismissed that outright. So we heated up the kitchen some more while he “cooled off” the oven.

It wasn’t too long before this quiet hump day turned into something else. My boss called me and asked if I could come into work this evening. Monica, the assistant manager who was scheduled for tonight, has food poisoning. I checked my calendar (like I have a full dance card) and I found that I was free. So I’m going in tonight plus Friday and Saturday on the 7 am to 3 am shift. When I applied for this hotel front desk job I said I was flexible and would be available on short notice for emergencies and to fill in when my co-workers needed time off for vacation or other activities. When I worked at the Hampton Inn in Lionville, PA I was frequently called on to fill in for my co-workers. I don’t mind and in fact like this kind of work schedule. I just don’t want to work full time, five days a week, 50 weeks a year. I like this “fireman” type of job in which I’m called on in emergencies.

After heating up the first floor of the house I retreated to my home office and got caught up on reconciling my bank accounts and paying bills. There are always bills to pay. When I see all the bills for the services that are necessary to keep this small modest household going (without children or pets), I often wonder “How did our ancestors manage?” Plant some corn and can up some vegetables and fruit for the winter and use an outhouse. It always amazes me the high cost of maintaining a basic lifestyle these days. And of course, the bills keep going up while my income goes down. This is called “The Squeeze.” I am so thankful that I have a job that I like and I get paid well.

While I was paying my bills this morning, I heard my Westminster chimes doorbell go “bong, bong.” My neighbor Shannon was at the door. She was with her adorable little baby, Rylie. As I opened my front door I could feel the heat and humidity rush in. Shannon wanted to ask me if we were having trouble with our air conditioner unit. We weren’t. She said hers had conked out and they were quoted $1,600 for repairs. And it make matters even worse, their air conditioner wouldn’t be operative until next week. Her husband works the night shift at the local hospital and sleeps during the day. What we call the “Vampire Shift.” I used to work that shift as a night auditor at the Hampton Inn in PA. I hated it. She said he has to sleep downstairs in his office because it’s too hot in his second floor bedroom. I would think so.

Shannon’s concern was that the houses we live in this development (Ryan Homes) are only four years old. She said some of the other neighbors are having similar problems with their air conditioning units. Thank God we don’t have a problem with ours, yet. She brought up a good point, these air conditioning units should last longer than four years. At our previous house in Pennsylvania, our air conditioning unit was twenty five years old. Something doesn’t seem right here.

We talked for a bit. I told her of my initial problems when I first moved in here and the toilets didn’t flush all the way. I called about it and was told that they were “short flush toilets.” Well, that’s all good and well but I needed the toilets to FLUSH ALL THE WAY. I did get that problem resolved after some back and forth. Since then I’ve had a few minor problems but nothing major like the neighbors on either side of me. My other neighbor had horrendous problems with his heat pump when he first moved in. He was receiving $900 monthly electric bills because his heat pump was running continually. He finally got that resolved and the builder reimbursed him for his electric bills.

So now I'm back at my computer updating my blog before I eat and take a nap prior to going in to face tonight's guests at the hotel. "No we don't have a pool and yes, breakfast does come with the room." I can say this mantra in my sleep.

To quote Mr. Rogers, “Just another day in the neighborhood.”


  1. Our air conditioner, 9yrs old, had a five year warranty. That included anything that my need repair. The AC unit it replaced was 30yrs old and still had its original parts. The AC guy was amazed at how long the unit had lasted. The zucchini looks great. Well worth a hot oven.

  2. I hope you'll post that recipe for those 'boats' - they look delicious!

    Last year when we spent $5,000 on putting in a new air conditioner, we were told that all new installations would require people to use the newest 'code' for an a.c., and that they (the installers) expect to make 'big money', because most homes don't have the latest that conforms with the newer 'green standards'.

    I do hope your neighbor doesn't get hit with something like that.......

    Here in the desert, our a.c. is like having a furnace to those who live in the snow-country as we used to.

    Anyway, your food sounds yummy - I'm sure you and Bill will enjoy it even if it did heat up the kitchen a bit.

  3. Mike,

    I'll pass on the warranty information to my neighbor. Maybe we all got a warranty with our air conditioners. Actually, they're heat pumps that also act as air conditioners.

  4. Diane,

    I'll post the recipe for the zucchini boats tomoorrow on my blog. This is a recipe that you can experiment with too. This is the first time I made it. It's good but I think I can make it better.

  5. Ron,

    That K & S sounds like a good garage. I'd like to find a place like that here.

    We got a central air conditioner installed must be close to 20 years ago. It had a ten year warranty. When that was up we went to a yearly maintenance agreement that covers the A/C, our heating system and plumbing. Not very costly at all. You get two inspections of the systems yearly, cleaning, filters, general maintenance, and no labor costs for any repairs. We do have to pay for parts now, but if a part is replaced it comes with a lifetime warranty and if it ever needs replacing again there is no cost. In the 20 years I've had the A/C and the 15 since we installed a new furnace and heating system, I think I've only had to pay for one part on the furnace.

    The heating system we replaced was 40 years old and the A/C we replaced didn't work when we moved here (it had been fried by lighting).


  6. I'm with Diane, please post that recipe for the 'boats'. I am running out of ideas.

  7. If I remember, I'll post the recipe for Zucchini Boats tomorrow. In fact, I'm having a portion or two tonight.


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