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Shabbat is Coming

August 25th, 2017

In the Meantime, Happy Friday

This is my sixth day in Ocala. It’s not the seventh, so I can’t complain if it’s not a day of rest.

Stuff keeps popping up to make life interesting. This week I noticed a wet place on the upstairs rug, so I had to get an A/C guy to come look at an air handler. We are low on refrigerant, which is not all that bad, but the reason we are low is bad, indeed. The coils in the air handler are leaking gas. You can shoot gas into a leaking system to make it work for a short time, but then you lose it, and the system quits cooling. The answer is a new air conditioner. It will be installed Monday.

The house has one big air conditioner and one small one. Here’s a shock: the bigger, more expensive one is the one with the problem.

Arggh. Well, we did have the house inspected, and we knew this air conditioner was 17 years old.

Life will go on. My big concern now is making sure my dad has a reasonably cool place to sleep. Both of our bedrooms have ceiling fans, and the nights here are in the mid-seventies, so there is hope.

I knew money would have to be spent. I did not think we would incur a large expense every week, however. Presumably, the outflow will slow down soon.

It’s not just the move. Some tenants in Miami abandoned a condo immediately after signing a lease, and we had to refurbish the kitchen and baths. Also, my dad’s house needed sod and sprinkler work. I wish I could sell it right now, but capital gains tax is a harsh master.

The A/C guy asked if we knew the sellers. He said a lot of sellers hire him to pump gas into their old air conditioners to fool buyers. I don’t think that happened to us. The sellers spent four figures on totally elective repairs before we moved in, and they sold me over $20,000 worth of machinery for $11,000, so they don’t strike me as cheats. It’s not a new house, and it’s August in Florida, so I think the air conditioner problem is just a consequence of physics.

The unit we’re replacing only cools part of the house. It cools the master bedroom and upstairs. It may well be that the sellers were only using it to cool the master bedroom, so the problems weren’t noticeable. It has a zone system, so it can be set up to cool the master bedroom alone. That wouldn’t put much strain on it.

It would have been nice to get this done today. I forgot to call the repair people two days ago. If I had remembered, we would probably have a new air conditioner right now.

I haven’t been able to enjoy the shop yet. What with my dad’s self-inflicted medical problems and the usual difficulties with new cable and TV service, I have been very busy. Unpacking junk and cleaning and fixing up a house are enough work by themselves.

Things might conceivably slow down this weekend.

My dad has gotten a lot worse, mentally. Our offer was accepted in early July, and since then, he has become a different person. He needs help with things he could do in June. It’s shocking. I have had to adjust very fast. It’s a good thing we moved when we did, because it would have been a lot harder had we waited. He seems worse today than he did a week ago.

I hope he stabilizes somewhat. It would be a shame to buy the perfect house for someone who needs care and then have to move to assisted living almost immediately. This place is nearly ideal for a person who has to be looked after. I wouldn’t know what to do with all the space if he had to leave, and I would feel as if the whole mission had experienced a major failure. I’m not ready to have to drive to see him. I hope I’ll have a fair amount of time to prepare for that.

I’m hoping my law school friend Amanda will come down tomorrow and give me some clues about setting a house up. Amanda is an old-fashioned person with conservative taste, so she should be a valuable source of help. It’s nice to have one of the best people I know living 20 minutes away.

Food is turning out to be an issue. We are still not set up for cooking much of anything except breakfast and Crock Pot soup. My dad likes to go to restaurants for lunch, so I have been indulging him. That means driving. We are close to a Cracker Barrel and a good barbecue, but you can’t eat the same things all the time. We are going to have to start driving farther north several times a week.

A lot of things are cheaper here. Gas, groceries, and restaurants are cheaper. McDonald’s costs half as much as it did in Miami, and they can understand orders in English. Driving to get lunch will not be as expensive as it would be in Miami, so that’s a blessing.

We tried a local place, and by “local,” I mean “not a chain.” I had heard good things about it. It didn’t pan out. The tables were sticky. The whole place was grimy. My dad had grilled chicken, and it was so tough he had to spit some of it out. I had CFS with corn (canned, I think) and mashed potatoes which appeared to be made with water instead of milk. I would say the CFS was a quarter of a pound, which is not much. They served some kind of disgusting margarine instead of butter. I won’t eat that stuff.

When we paid the bill, my dad told them the chicken was extremely tough, but they didn’t offer to take it off the bill. Someone needs to take them aside and explain the importance of customer relations. Obviously, neither of us will ever eat there again, and we will tell everyone we know how bad it was.

Chains aren’t so bad. If I can find some that serve lunches under 2,000 calories, we’ll be fine.

There are a lot of fat people here. Seriously fat. I feel bad for them. They need to get it together. This place is full of Christians, so I can only assume pastors aren’t informing people that gluttony is a sin.

There are also a lot of unhealthy people here. Publix (a grocery) has a “diabetic food” sign over one aisle. When my dad was in the ER, I saw a number of people in very bad condition come in. It seemed like no one came in with a cut finger or a sprained wrist. It was all people on gurneys with tubes in their noses. COPD and heart problems. Southerners with typically southern bad habits.

I hate to see such nice people in such bad shape.

I don’t know much about COPD, but as far as I can tell, it’s short for “I smoke cigarettes.”

Once all the BS is behind us, I’m going to enjoy living here. I enjoy it now, as much as one can under the circumstances. It’s an incredible sensation, driving five miles without stopping at a light. The people are so nice they say goodbye when they get off of elevators. I was so right about Miami, it hurts.

One month from today, all of our stuff, including my machine tools, should be here. The house should be running like a top, with air conditioning and everything. The nonsense with the tenants should be over with. I will have settled into a routine, caring for my dad. I will have been to at least one church. The weather will be cooler. Things will be easier.

Right now I’m writing to let my brain cool off. I’ll be back at work putting fires out shortly.

Maybe I can go outside for ten minutes and look around. That would be pleasant.

Whatever happens, it beats being in Miami. You can take that to the bank.

8 Responses to “Shabbat is Coming”

  1. Sharkman Says:

    Hallelujah, Brother.

    I am pleased for you both, and will pray for your Dad to stabilize.

  2. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    Prayers for our friend Ruth.
    Harvey hit landfall on her hometown.

  3. Joe Says:


  4. Steve H. Says:

    Chicken-fried steak.

    Sorry to hear about Ruth’s misfortune. I know what that’s like.

  5. Steve H. Says:

    On the other hand, maybe Harvey will find he is picking on the wrong lady.

  6. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    Often, when buying a house, stuff like AC falls under a warranty insurance bought for the sale. I know you’re a lawyer, but I’d be remiss in not mentioning it.

  7. Steve H. Says:

    Thank you, Ed. In other circumstances, that would have been a big help. We don’t have a warranty, though. Maybe I could write one in on the contract, using crayon.

    I hate paying for a new unit, but the concern that really had me rattled was the prospect of sleeping in a Florida house in August with no cooling. Last night was very comfortable, though. The house has two units, and apparently the healthy one was able to maintain a tolerable temperature where I was.

    I happen to have a self-inflating air mattress. Hope I don’t have to use it tonight! I have a few rooms where the temperature is okay.

    I have been sleep-deprived for quite a while, so I am not happy when a new problem keeps me awake.

  8. Ruth H Says:

    Steve, when old folks get sick they often become mentally confused, and many get over it. That could happen, or not.
    I got word my home is good, a little shingle damage, trees broken and debris all over taking down some fencing, but house is in great shape. We are blessed.