The Hellhole

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Things have been chaotic here at The Hellhole.  Just after Labor Day, Alan noticed that the house seemed a bit stuffy, and the next morning realized that it had not cooled down to the programmed temperature even with the cooler night air.  He figured the unit was out of freon so he called for repairs.  The repair guy came out on Friday the 7th, and indeed the unit was entirely empty of freon.  Unfortunately, as he discovered when he tried to check for leaks, it was out of freon because the compressor was completely dead.  Demised!  It had ceased to be!  Repairs were going to be $2,780.00 and he told Alan he'd do it if that's what we wanted but he very strongly urged us to replace the whole thing, because of the condition of the rest of the unit (way very mega-bad) and because repairs took us to half the replacement cost anyway.

We are all electric, so there is an outside heat pump, an inside unit, heat strips, an air handler and thing that does...something.  We'd known this was coming and were just putting off the inevitable, ever since the last time our AC went out and then about two weeks later, we saw the company we'd used to replace it profiled on one of those "Eyewitness News Consumers Beware" rip-off reports.  Sigh.  So a seven-thousand-dollar bill loomed and our house was over 90 degrees.  In order not to put this on a high-interest credit card, we needed to move some money around, which process couldn't be started until Monday so I started online research to find a pet-friendly hotel.

Of the four or five hotels near us, and the non-skanky ones a bit further afield, it appeared our best bet was a Hyatt, which was going to run around $150 a night plus a $75 non-refundable pet deposit per pet.  I think it should be done by volume; my three dogs combined don't weigh as much as most people's one.  Needless to say, the thought of this cost disgruntled me, plus the fact that it's a hotel, not an extended stay with kitchen, so we'd have to eat out for nearly every meal - even more money.  I was bitching about this via text to my friend Tammy, who was having none of it.

"You're not staying at any hotel, you're staying with us!" she declared.  I loved that idea but protested anyway, out of politeness:  we don't want to put you out, we don't want to be in your way, etc.  Tammy was insistent (thank the gods) so we moved into Matt and Tammy's basement for nearly a week.  Their basement (finished entirely by Matt) is great - there is a storage room, Brooke's playroom, Matt's workshop, a master suite with its own bath, a music room, Matt's man-cave, a patio...let me tell you, I am damn close to renting out our house and moving in with them.  Have I mentioned that Tammy's a great cook???

The way their house is laid out, it was easy to put up a baby gate or two to keep our sets of dogs separated, though when they had supervised interaction they seemed curious and friendly more than anything - no ruffled fur, bared fangs or growling.  I hope we can introduce them more often and that they get along, because we've talked about wanting to go in together to rent a beach or mountain place for vacation, and worry about the little fellows is why we haven't yet.  Well, that and the vacation budget for the next several years just went to replace our AC and all our ductwork.

Oh yeah - ductwork.  What our new, reliable service people found was that the ripoff report people had installed our ductwork entirely backwards, so it was trapping dust, pet hair, mold and mildew instead of funneling it out.  And I wonder why I have bad allergies...

It was great fun staying at Matt & Tammy's - all weekend was kinda like a grown-up sleepover and during the work week was fun too, eating dinner together, chatting and hanging out.  Oh!  This was funny.  That weekend, my brother Bo and his wife Sarah were in town for the ProgPower rock festival, and he had previously chatted with Matt about crashing with them instead of getting a hotel.  So our first night there, around seven that evening, Matt gets a text from Bo asking, "Okay if we still crash there?"  Tammy and I flew around making up the guest bed on the main level, after I texted Bo, "We are already in residence, we call the basement.".  My friend Anne called to check on our progress, I related the previous and ended the text with, "EVERYBODY be living at Matt and Tammy's!"

The only down side was my commute.  Alan works from home so once he got on their wi-fi, he was set.  I was another story.  There is just no good way to get from their place to downtown Atlanta.  On good days, my commute was an hour and a half each way, on bad days two hours plus.  The longest commute home was my fault, though; I thought I remembered a way to go that I wanted to try to see if it was any quicker, but while I was right about the route, as in you CAN get there from here, I totally went around my ass to get to my elbow.

They saved us a metric shit-ton of money.  Our first evening there, I brought wine, dessert, and roses for Tammy, later we brought over flank steak and another night took them out to dinner but that doesn't come close to what they did for us.  Speaking of wine - I brought some, but when I arrived, Tammy had already been out to buy a bottle of my favorite.  "I knew you'd bring some with you," she said, "But I wanted to make sure there was some here already cold because I know you were upset."  How great is that?!?!  She'd laid in some Pelligrino for Alan too.

We moved back home on Thursday the 12th, cooler but poorer.  This new system has a programmable thermostat so I hope it will save us some dough in the long run.  It is much quieter, and the air feels cleaner and lighter somehow, though that may be my imagination.  The best thing about the whole ordeal, though, is what great friends I have.


  • I'm so glad your friends were able to help you out. They sound amazing!


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:09 PM  

  • As my Dad always said, what are friends for if you can't use 'em! We had a great time, although I'm sure your commute tarnished it a bit!


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:17 PM  

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