Thursday, July 10, 2008


We got home from our travels about 6:00 in the evening, and after we unloaded the car, I turned the AC on and turned on the fan I have carefully positioned over the duct in my bedroom. After a restless night, I woke up to find the house was still over 80, and with a sinking feeling, I knew what was wrong. Village residents rely on well water, and most wells in our area produce water that is full of sulfur. Remember sulfuric acid? Well, it floats through our homes and eats away at washing machine controls, copper pipes, and the copper coil and fittings in air conditioning units. It also can eat through the coils on refrigerators and freezers, and even the wires in televisions and such, though I’ve been fortunate in that regard. Over the course of the last year, this is the 4th time I’ve had to call the service people out to repair leaks. One trip last year extended over two days, as every time the poor man fixed one leak, another one would appear.

Since this is the church’s parsonage, the church is responsible for repairs and maintenance. I talked to the president of the trustees and explained the situation. “I know we can’t get a new coil for this unit, and I’m not sure it’s worth investing any more money in it. I’ll call the company, but I’m going to have them check with you before doing any repairs. I’d be satisfied with a window unit for my bedroom, but I don’t do well with heat, and so I need something.”

The service people couldn’t come until the next day, of course. As I feared, the news was bad. The leak was in the coil, and the service man (we’re on a first name basis after all his trips out here) agreed that buying a new central air unit was probably not the best idea, given the quality of our water.... I called the trustee president. He and his son were here within a few hours to place a window unit in my bedroom. The trustees will discuss the situation at their meeting Sunday night. I requested another unit for Daughter’s room and one for the dining room downstairs. The dining room is where I have lots of meetings, and I can always move my computer in here to work.

The trustee and his son also helped me get some windows open. This beautiful house is almost 110 years old, and has the original wood windows with storm windows added on the outside. None of them function well, and some of them barely function. I told them that if we went without air, it would probably be a good idea to do some work on the windows. Figuring out how to restore or replace the windows might make the replacing the central air conditioning look cheap! I thanked the trustee and his son profusely. The trustee just grinned and said, “We don’t want a cranky preacher!” One advantage of living in a farming community is that except during planting and harvest, there are usually men available in the middle of the day, and they have lots of experience with solving all sorts of problems.

Two nights in a hot bedroom have given me a greater appreciation for what my father suffered all those days his air conditioning wasn’t working. At least I had the good sense to get busy on solving the problem the first day!

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