It's almost 9 pm, it's still fairly light outside, and the fireflies (lightning bugs) in my postage stamp front yard are going bananas. There are none in the back yard. There are none in any other yards up, down, or across the street. But in my front yard they are flashing almost in unison, and there are 8 or 10 at a time. It's crazy. They rise from the grass and seem to all be headed across the street, but they seem to be going up into the tall trees over there.
Do all the males live in my yard, and all the females live in the trees across the street?
I've had a very tiring and expensive week.
On Monday I drove up to the country house to meet the furnace man for the annual service. Monday evening I drove home again. That's almost six hours in the car.
Tuesday evening I drove up again to meet the a/c installers Wednesday morning at 8 am. I left home very late, and would have got to the country house at about 1 am. That was ok, no big deal. Well, would have been ok if I hadn't hit an enormous pothole on the NY state Thruway, on the edge of the road just before the New Paltz exit, at just after midnight. I didn't see it. It was very dark, there were no other cars in sight, and it had been pouring rain, so the hole was full of water, so even if I saw anything at all I wouldn't have identified it as a big hole. But suddenly the car dropped about 8 inches, there was a bang, and then the car jumped into the air a good 18 inches and was thrown halfway into the left lane and fishtailing. Suddenly it was very difficult to steer.
You don't expect a hole like that on the Thruway, when you're traveling at (an undisclosed) rate of speed.
I pulled off onto the exit onto route 299, turned right (it was very difficult to turn left), and pulled into the first motel I came to, which was close and luckily on the right. The right front tire was completely flat. They're "drive flat" tires, but there's a limit as to how flat they can be driven on before you destroy the rim, and this was past that.
I got a room and tried to figure out what to do next. What am I going to do about the a/c guys? I'm going to have to rent a car, and get my car towed to my tire place, there's not a whole lot I can do at past midnight. No way I'm going to get to the house before like 11 am at the earliest, even assuming I can get a rental car just by snapping my fingers, since the rental car places won't be open until 9:30.
I fired off an email to the owner of the a/c company, copying his secretary, explaining the situation and asking him to call me on my cell as soon as he got the message. Then I researched rental car companies (luckily I had my notepad and my handi-dandi little WiFi box). I know from experience there was only one company in the area that will pick me up, and they had offices only in Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, and Kingston. I wanted Kingston, because that's closest to the country house and to where I wanted to take the car to be worked on, and that's 35 minutes away, so if they came and got me, it would still be after 11 before I could get to the house.
On the way I had stopped and bought about $30 worth of salads for Wednesday's and Thursday's meals, so I put them in the motel room refrigerator.
I tried to go to sleep, but I couldn't sleep, trying to figure out what to do. I hoped I hadn't done any mechanical damage to Hal's front end. (Yeah, it was the BMW, and this was the seventh blown tire in three years, the second in seven weeks.) I finally fell asleep at about 3:45 am, and then was awakened by the a/c man's phone call at 7 am. The motel alarm clock hadn't gone off. (By the way, why are motel alarm clocks so freakin' hard to figure out how to set? You'd think they'd get the simplest ones, but no, they are puzzles!)
He said no problem. They'd take their time loading the trucks, and they could install the outside unit before I got there, AND he'd send his wife to pick me up. She would have me at the rental car place at 9:30, when they opened.
Yay. I opened the refrigerator to get me some breakfast, and found everything frozen solid. Frozen boiled eggs are hard to eat. Frozen yogurt isn't any good when it's like a rock and you don't have any spoons anyway. And you flat out can't freeze salads. I guess you can eat them, but it's not very appetizing. I had effectively no food.
I tried to reserve a car online, but it wouldn't allow me to reserve a car 2 hours hence. I'd have to just show up and hope.
Pat, the wife, drove down from Kingston, picked me up and we went to Kingston, and luckily the rental folks did have a car I could have, so then I rushed to the house and let the a/c guys in. Then I drove to Rhinebeck to my tire guys to make sure they could take me today (and that's one reason I always go to these guys, they always fit me in) and got a recommendation for a tow company. Called the tow company and arranged to meet the tow truck back at the motel - 45 minutes back down the Thruway. Followed him back to Rhinebeck, and then waited at the tire place while they checked the tire and the front end. No mechanical damage. Yay! But I had hit the hole so hard that the pressure sensor had been blown to smithereens, so that had to be replaced. However, even though you could buy one of those sensors at any auto supply store for like $15-20, the BMW will take only a BMW sensor, and they cost a ridiculous bajillion dollars. Sigh. Oh, yeah, the tire is completely shredded on the inner side, so that has to be replaced. They need to order the tire, so it'll be tomorrow morning.
Back to the house. It was just noon, and I am dead tired and starving. I went out and bought more food.
By 4 pm the a/c system was fully installed, and up and running. The guys left. I left the a/c on, mainly to reduce the humidity in the house so I'd be more comfortable sleeping, but then it got cooler outside and I was busy sorting stuff from the file cabinets and didn't notice it was getting really cold in the house, so I turned the a/c off. After a while I realized I was freezing, so about 10 pm I flipped the system to heat.
Nada. It was blowing air all right, but the air was cold. No heat. It was in the low 60s outside. And inside.
They had installed the a/c coils above the furnace unit and were using the furnace fan. They'd been dinking around with the wiring in the furnace. I don't know what went wrong, but I had no heat. I piled blankets on, but my poor forehead and nose froze all night.
Oh, the irony. I hadn't been able to work in the house because it got too hot. So I fixed that, and now I freeze.
They were coming back the next morning to remove the old dead heat pump, so when they arrived at about 9 am I told them about the heat. It turned out the oil line needed to be bled, so they did that, and I had heat. The tire guys called, and I went to Rhinebeck, and paid the bill. A pleasant surprise - they felt so sorry for me that they charged me only $25 for the bazillion dollar sensor. I retrieved my keys, then drove to Kingston and returned the rental car. The rental car place had an intern drive me back to Rhinebeck, and I drove back to the house.
The a/c guys finished removing the heat pump at 2 pm, and at 3 pm I started the drive back to the city house. Heading down the NY Thruway, and the Garden State Parkway, Thursday evening, when hordes of people will have Friday off, and will be heading to the Jersey shore for the holiday. Oh, joy.
As expected, the GSP was dense and nerve-wracking, but not quite a parking lot. The usual 2.5 hour drive took me only 3.5 hours. The Nugget saw me pull into the driveway and asked if she could come over and visit Gramma, and of course I said yes. Daughter was grilling chicken, so she fed me. I was so tired I couldn't unload the car. In fact, my notepad and travel bag are still out there. Which is just as well, since I really should check them for bedbugs before bringing them into the house. It really was a crappy motel. New Paltz is a college town.
I went to bed at 10 and slept past noon yesterday. I'm still tired.
$ 87.99 One night, crappy motel
$ 30.00 Destroyed food
$107.32 One day plus 3 hours rental car
$170.00 Flatbed tow from New Paltz to Rhinebeck
$250.00 New tire and sensor (even with the sensor break, this seems awfully low)
Not including, of course the usual $100 or so in gas and tolls each trip usually takes, plus multiple bridge and Thruway tolls going back and forth getting the cars towed and etc.
I should have reported the pothole to the Thruway authority before it kills someone.
I do have AAA, and I suppose I could have called them for (some part of) the tow.
Because I just wanted to get stuff done as quickly as possible with no fuss, no bother, just bam bam bam done.
Straight line to finish line.
And no, my auto insurance doesn't cover tires, so since there was no mechanical damage, nothing of this is covered.
Frankly, I don't much care. I'm out of aspirin.