Men have been in my house for three days installing a new air conditioning unit. First there were three, then two, now one. The first three got the job done, but a supervisor came and discovered they hadn’t included some things I’d ordered, like a lamp to kill mold. He had them stop and wait for delivery of the parts and start all over again. They got enough done to give me a cool house overnight, so that was promising. But my old heating system had operated via a pipe running from my hot water heater, and they didn’t handle the water pipe correctly so I had no hot water for my shower.
Another man came, saw the valve from the hot water heater in the garage was turned off, and turned it back on. Which caused a ton of water to spurt from a severed pipe sticking out of the wall. Another man came to solder a cap on the end of the water pipe. I then learned that you cannot solder a water pipe if there is still moisture in the pipe. You first have to take a blow torch to the pipe to dry it. If the pipe is very stubby, you may set the wall afire. It is disconcerting to see little blue flames climbing your garage wall.
The company owner came, looked at the work the first men had done, and pronounced it sloppy. Another man came, worked for hours expertly rewiring things and generally redoing everything that had been done. It got late, I had a glass of wine and so did he. He left without finishing the job, but said he was too tired to go on. He promised that the original installers would return and redo the work. I said I’d prefer not to have people who had already proven themselves careless.
As I write this, the competent man has returned and has been in the garage for several hours. Occasionally he comes in for water, ice, colas. The mosquitos are bad. He says they’re eating him alive, but I have no insect repellents, and so he is stoic. He has taken down all the components of the AC unit — this is the thing that hangs from the garage ceiling and handles the air, not the big square thing that sits on the ground outside — and he’s redoing the entire job from scratch. It is dinner time, and I’m sure he won’t finish the job today. I feel like Murphy Brown with her painter in residence. By the time my new AC unit is correctly installed, with the thermostat operating the way it’s supposed to, and with hot water traveling through pipes to my shower the way it’s supposed to, I may be god-mother to some of the installer’s yet-to-be conceived children.