A taxi driver sleeps in his cab during the heatwave in Paris, 1911

It’s during great trials that we see the true strength, (…or not…) of those we love.

It makes no difference the length of the relationship; there are always new discoveries to be made (…not always good…) of our loved ones.

Just when we assume we know the ones we love, a new (…not always flattering…)discovery immerges.

I wrote a deep feeler this week about being a fatherless kid on Fathers Day for the Good Men Project (here, go check it but I’ll warn you there are no fart jokes involved.) So I’m all in touch with my inner psychoanalyst but I’ll rein it in to share my tale.

Last weekend a great trial befell our home and while I assumed my Mediterranean-blooded husband would adapt quite well, I was sorely mistaken. Instead of rising to the occasion, I watched him melt like the snowflake he has become.

A week earlier, I returned home on a fantastically humid day expecting to enter a 73 degree climate controlled home but was instead met with the beginnings of a sweat lodge. Not only was there no cool air, but my dear Petula, (What? You don’t name your major appliances?) was squealing like a pig in the backyard. Knowing the importance of climate control to a woman like myself who is dipping a toe into the premenopausal pool, I rushed to aid Petula, before realizing I don’t know jack about H-VAC. After discovering that wrapping my arms around Petula and whispering, “It’s ok baby, Mama’s here,” wasn’t going to fix it, I called the professionals.

Being relatively new in town, I find a repairman using my scientifically unsound method – whoever has the least amount of bad Yelp reviews and the best coupon gets my business. I made the call and was surprised to find a service slot available the following morning, but a woman of my age and girth is in no position to doubt a potential rescue, even from a technician named Roy.

The Turk felt my cry for professional help was premature and was certain that the AC just needed time to acclimate. (This was crap but in a good marriage, sometimes one just nods and agrees until it all goes south and she can said, “I told you so!” while giving side-eye.) The fear of going AC free persuaded the Turk to meet Roy as I was stuck in meetings.

Strike 1: Roy called to say he’d be there in 10 but showed up an hour later. Upon completing what I learned was a ten-minute diagnostic, the Turk texted me to say Roy had determined the problem– we needed a new unit…the $10,000 model because the $8,000 unit wouldn’t be enough for our home. Perhaps the previous homeowners who’d installed the unit had no idea they possessed a second floor or our home had mysteriously added square footage since last summer when the unit worked perfectly. Strike 2 Roy. Roy noted that if we didn’t want to buy the unit that day, ours was fine but would die any moment. Roy was an asshole.

Roy confirmed his ass status minutes later when he phoned me with the diagnosis because, “Your husband doesn’t speak English that well so I thought I better call you so nothin’ gets lost in translation.” Oh Roy, strike 3. You have just made a horrible mistake…and now you will pay.

Fortunately for Roy, I was surrounded by coworkers and was unable to offer the verbal smack down I desired, but I’m now ‘taking care’ of Roy though very exciting means thanks to my new BFF, our hometown AC hero, who after resuscitating Petula with ease provided detailed means for enacting revenge in the HVAC world. (Who knew that was a thing? Thanks Jimbo.) Roy, never judge a man by the thickness of his accent and never, never judge the lengths his crazy-ass wife will go to to school you on your own stupidity.

Fast forward one-week post Roy to heat wave, day 1. Of course you know what happened. Petula passed. The old girl up and died. I was next to her for the tragedy, watching my kids in the blow-up pool when a large clunk and unsettling silence shook me to my core.

“We leave the windows close. It will keep cool.” The Turk said.

“Are you freakin’ crazy?!?! You’re turning our house into a convection oven!”

“No. Trust me. I am engineer.”

“Well you’re a water engineer so… and since I’m now a science teacher who has spent the past month preparing lesson plans on heat transfer, I can say you’re WRONG.”

This loving argument continued for the next 48 hours. In the brief moments that our Petula would struggle back to life, The Turk would immediately close up the house hoping to contain those 45 minutes worth of luke-warm air Petula gifted us with. I would placate until indoor temperatures reached 83 at which time I threw open every portal with gusto.

We spent 3 years in Turkey. There is little to no AC in Turkey. We lived there during one of the hottest summers on record with temps reaching over 115 degrees. In our city it got hot in April and stayed that way until October, ridiculous hot. We can handle heat, right? Apparently not.

The Turk slowly melted on the sofa, eating box upon box of ice pops. By the middle of day two sans Petula, he was incoherent and basically brain dead. Me? Hours after Petula’s passing I demanded the Turk buy a window unit for the bedroom, where the kids and I hid in meat-locker like temps for the duration.

Because I’m of the Irish people and Jesus gifted me genetically with thighs that rub to the point of friction burns, I’ve never been a fan of the heat. But The Turk is…A TURK! He grew up on the Aegean sea in weather that is sweltering, in a land where BO is the eau de toilet and hot weather is standard, but he couldn’t handle it either. While disappointed in watching my formerly bad ass Turk wilt into a puddle of sweat, he did have the perfect retort.

“First I get fat and now I over-heat. What can I say? I am true American now.”

Touché my friend…touché.


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