They say that bad things happen in groups of three, and if I ever find out who they are, I’m going to tell them that they are absolutely correct. First, our air conditioning unit went down, then our cable TV went out, then our clothes dryer went on the fritz. Oh, and then the parking brake on my car died, but that’s probably the first bad thing in the next group of three and the other two will be along shortly, so I don’t see any reason to change the rule.

I was complaining about how hot it was without air conditioning to my wife, who was still at work. She said, “everyone here says it’s probably the capacitor- look it up on YouTube.” Luckily, there was a video on how to fix your air conditioning capacitor on YouTube. First, you take your volt-ohmmeter and set it to 75 microfarads. That’s as far as I got, because at that point I ran around testing everything in the house. Our flashlight batteries need to be replaced, but I guess I could have determined that slightly faster by turning the flashlight on. Also, did you know that my cat has 122 ohms of resistance between his front paw and his back paw? I could have also figured out too the exact resistance by the scratch on my arm.

It was so hot that I purchased a stand-alone air conditioning unit for our basement from Amazon. It gets awfully hot in the Amazon so I figured they must know what they’re doing. It attaches to this big hose that vents out the window, and it’s very quiet, like a DC-10 taxiing in a library. My wife didn’t care for it as much as I did. “I don’t want to see a bunch of hose running out the window,” she said. I have to tell you, that sentence sounds a lot different when you hear it as opposed to reading it. “Neither do I!” I said. “What’s the hurry?” She said a few more things which I couldn’t hear because the DC-10 was revving up for take-off, but the bottom line was I had to get rid of it.

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The air conditioning unit must have weighed 70 pounds, and I was thinking that Amazon is never going to come by and pick this thing up so I can return it, but that’s exactly what they did. First I had to figure out how to get it back into the box it came in, where it did not want to go. Those packages are designed for a one-way trip, and there were pieces of styrofoam all over the place that didn’t fit where they did before. I finally had to shoot it with a tranquilizer dart and tie it up with nylon rope.

It was hot AND boring with no TV, but if you have email, you can schedule the cable guy to come during a window between 2:00PM and 4:00PM two weeks later. Unfortunately for us our internet provider IS the television cable, so he was going to have to show up on a whim. If you’ve ever tried to live without TV AND internet, you know that it can test your survival skills. History has shown that most major innovations in the world were invented by people who didn’t have any internet or cable TV. Fire itself was invented by a person who was so bored that they just wanted to burn the house down and start again somewhere else.

I scheduled the cable guy in a tight window that he barely fit through. “Look at this,” he said, and showed me a scope that had a green screen which registered a whole lot of noise and looked like the EKG of a patient that tried to survive without TV and internet. I also thought I saw an enemy submarine wandering into the picture. “What are you going to do about this?” I asked. “We have to trace the source of the noise.” I was talking about the enemy sub, but he didn’t mention it so I pretended I didn’t see it. Then he led me on a wild goose chase that started where the cable comes into the house and ended in the refrigerator where we keep the beer.

He tightened every connection that led to a TV set, and a few that didn’t. When he showed me the scope, it was flat-lining and the cable was back on. On the way out he passed the air conditioning repairman and gave him a look as if he found it quite believable that I could break three appliances at the same time.

The air conditioning guy came right away, because apparently Somers had some kind of power surge that fried everybody’s central air conditioning. He said, “Hmmmmm,” about three times, and I know from experience that whenever a repairman says the word, “Hmmmmm,” it will cost you $200 dollars. Some will even itemize it on the bill. “It’s your capacitor,” he said. “It’s incapacitated.” That’s a little repairman humor, but thankfully he didn’t charge me for it. I said, “Do you have one in your truck? It’s 87 degrees in there.” “Look at it this way,” he said. “Your body temperature is 98.6, so you’re still ahead of the game.” That only made me feel hotter.

 By the time the guy came to service our dryer I had my volt-ohmmeter out and I was looking for the fuse. “Did you test the fuse?” He asked. “Actually I’m looking for the fuse on the volt-ohmmeter, it’s not working anymore,” I replied. Probably the batteries were dead, but I was going to have to put them into the flashlight to find out for sure. 

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