Air-Conditioning Hassles and John Edwards Get My Dander Up
hey say you're not supposed to call old significant others when you're drunk (or do a lot of other things, for that matter). I think for me, the rule would be you shouldn't blog when you're cranky. Unfortunately, no one took away the keys to the blog as I was getting crankier and crankier today. Let me walk you back through it...
Sometime last night, the window-unit air conditioner in my bedroom decided the compressor was optional. "We're cutting you off! We have to think of the rest of the us: the fan, the coils, the stupid timer that only goes up to 12 hours! It's every feature for him- or herself!" So now it only blows air, a slightly warmed variation of whatever is outside.
As anyone who has lived with me knows, I'm pretty much tied to air conditioning indoors in the summer. I'm okay being outside in the heat and humidity for awhile, but when I'm inside, I want it cool. I want it cold if I'm sleeping. I want condensation on windows, if possible.
So that started me off on the wrong foot today, and it isn't just the hassle of replacing a window-unit air conditioner. That would have been the case at one time, with my old windows. But in their collective wisdom, my co-op board decided every apartment in the co-op (all 500-and-something units, across five different buildings around a central garden) needed new windows, and they had to all be the same, and it didn't matter if your current windows were just fine, worth 2-3 times what the replacements would be (my case), or the drafty originals from 1939. We were all getting new windows.
I objected strenuously, but I also recognized that I live in a cooperative. Outside of New York, that maybe doesn't mean anything to anyone. And, in day-to-day practice, a "co-op" and a "condo" are practically interchangeable. But unlike in a condominium, I don't actually own my apartment, I own shares in the overall cooperative, and am assigned (or maybe I lease? not sure the legal definition) my individual apartment. Like a co-op, I pretty much own the apartment "from the paint in." Which means I don't own the windows, as they're structural and part of the outside of the building too -- and uniformity on the outside was an issue for the co-op board, even though my original windows matched the color scheme of the others very well, they were just far better quality, and I'm on a floor that has slightly different windows anyway from the other floors.
So I gave up the fight about the windows, and probably had the value of my apartment reduced by about 5K or more, I'm guessing. Whatever.
But when it came time to re-install the window-unit air conditioners -- the co-op's buildings are too old to have central air, unfortunately -- they kind of kluged together a solution that essentially involves soldering and sealing the cabinet of your window unit into the open window, using Plexiglass for the side panels, if needed, and lots of clear caulk.
Which is what this means, now that one of those hermetically sealed air conditioners has died on me: I will probably need to schedule a time (and pay) for a window crew to come and take out the current AC unit, get delivery on a new unit from the people who sold me the last one (since it's still under extended warranty, and they'll replace it for the same value) and they take away the old unit, then get the window crew back to install the new unit. If I'm exceedingly lucky, I can get the current unit out, separate from the "cabinet" that houses it, and can get a new AC unit that will fit inside that same cabinet (i.e., the same model, if they still sell it), so the window crew doesn't need to be involved. That is the big question mark at present. All previous attempts to figure out how to remove the AC from the cabinet have failed -- as if it, too, had been sealed in when they sealed in the whole AC to the window -- but I have a newfound urgency to solving that problem, so in the depths of my frustration, there is some hope, somewhere. Meanwhile, I just want the evening temperatures in New York City to remain cool-ish here in August until I have a new air conditioner that can best the humidity.
So it is with all this as background that I started work today, from home (in the still-air-conditioned living room). A friend told me last night that he's decided he "doesn't suffer fools gladly"; he "makes fools suffer." That strikes me as a pretty harsh frame of mind to go through life with -- with more harm, ultimately, to the harm purveyor than the sufferer -- but I admit that became my mental frame of mind today, already annoyed by the air conditioning fiasco.
I have to say, however, that I work with very smart and yet still very real people, and in all the conversations I had today at work, I was struck by how decent and, well, human my colleagues can be. I don't often talk about work on this blog, for a variety of reasons, the primary one being that I've already got a professional platform, being in Communications there, but I don't want the two -- ibm.com and derekbaker.com -- ever confused. (As if.) But I have to say that the people I work with on a regular basis and the vast majority of people I connect with for ad hoc purposes are really decent and helpful folks, in spite of vacation schedules, family pressures, health issues, executives breathing down their necks, whatever it is. That alone helped me get some perspective on the day, but then came Big Annoyance Number Two: John Edwards.
Dude, what in the hell were you thinking? Seriously.
Let's leave aside the fact that you cheated on your ill wife. That would be bad enough, but the entire nation is already feeling sympathy for her, so you were just looking to be the asshole that made her life worse, weren't you? But let's put that aside for a moment, because politics is an ego game to some degree to begin with, and John McCain has done much worse. He cheated on his sick wife, too, but went ahead and divorced her to marry the blonde chick he'd cheated with. (That would be the present Mrs. McCain -- an admitted drug addict who stole prescriptions from poor kids to support her habit. But she's clean now. Whew.)
But, Senator Edwards, how stupid do you have to be to think that your affair isn't going to get discovered and reported on, especially if you're running for President of the United States?
You dolt. I supported you. I sent you money, which you apparently turned around to pay for "videos" (heh heh) produced by your paramour for your Web site -- despite her not having much background or talent to do such.
Infidelity has affectecd the lives of all the front runners' families other than the Obamas (as far as we know so far), from the McCains to the Clintons to now the Edwardses. So more importantly, it's the hypocrisy that makes me cranky. You said you couldn't support the right of gays and lesbians to marry because it conflicted with your personal religious beliefs about marriage. And, from what I've been able to determine, you were "undecided" on the Family Medical Leave Act or immigration rights applying to same-sex couples.
To your credit, you favored the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." And you cosponsored the act that adds protections based on sexual orientation to hate crimes legislation. And I have to say, I even respected the way the you expressed your opposition to gay marriage (even if that was only to play both sides of the electorate) by explaining that you weren't there yourself, but your wife and kids had made it clear that they thought you were wrong. That was a much more honest answer than what I heard from Obama or Clinton, at least, who are still neanderthals on this issues.
But -- and I'm sorry, but I have to say it -- your saying that a gay relationship isn't worthy of the status of "marriage" under Federal law even while you're debasing your own heterosexual, government-endorsed marriage is the height of hypocrisy.
I'm mad at you for a number of reasons, John. (And, having sent you money, most recently the exact day before you pulled out of the race in fact, I feel we can speak on a first-name basis, at least.) But not least among them is that you chose to debase my relationship on the grounds that yours was somehow more sacred -- and then didn't even honor that.
So, all in all, a cranky day. Not without reason. Here's hoping tomorrow, for everyone, is a better one.