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No Air: The Roof-Top Debacle

Posted by on August 2, 2011

You know the saying, “You don’t know what you’re missing until it’s gone”?  I’m pretty sure my husband and I learned the meaning of that during the past four days.

Our air conditioner broke overnight on Friday night.  I woke up at 5:45 a.m. Saturday morning, to stifling heat in our condo.  I knew before I got out of bed that something was wrong.  Sure enough, the thermostat read a toasty 82 degrees, when it should have been 75.

In St. Louis, the summertime tends to be absolutely brutal.  Or, at least it has been the past 2 summers.  Since we were going on our 14th consecutive day of an Excessive Heat Warning (meaning highs in the 90s-100s with heat indexes in the 100-115 degree range), I knew we needed to have our air fixed, pronto.  I didn’t care how much it was going to cost us.  I wanted it done immediately.  So, at 6 a.m. Saturday morning, I called for some HVAC guys to come out.  They (and every other company I called) couldn’t come until Monday.  THAT’S how bad it is here.

So, we decided to “rough it.”  Saturday was tolerable, as it rained for the first time in two weeks, keeping the house at a relatively cool 85 degrees.  Then, we tried to sleep that night.  What. A. Nightmare!!!  My wonderful husband NEVER complains…probably because I whine enough for the both of us, but I had promised myself I’d be good about this.  I didn’t whine or moan how hot it was, because I knew we were both suffering.  I was willing to suck it up and deal with it, as long as he was.  I knew it was going to be a long weekend when we were both still up at 2 a.m. (after going to bed at 10:30) and he looks at me and says, “Wanna go to a hotel?”  My head sang, “hallelujah!”  Long story short…we ended up sticking out the night in the condo because no hotels answer their phone at 2:30 a.m.

 Sunday morning commenced what I am now dubbing, “The Great Air Conditioner Search.”  8 hours, and nearly $200 later, we had a wonderful new window air conditioner installed compliments of my fantastic husband.  We nabbed our 2 very hot cats, and waited in relative peace in our bedroom for the HVAC guys to come on Monday afternoon.

Monday, August 1st arrives.  This day will be known as, “The Day I Learned How Much I Hate Our Management Company.”  I had talked to one of the building managers on Saturday about gaining access to our roof.  Since she clearly had NO IDEA what I was talking about (she said to check by the elevator, which we don’t have), I had a good idea that it was going to be difficult to get on the roof.  I didn’t realize it was nearly impossible.  After an hour of trying to get a 24 foot ladder up to our 3rd floor skylight, our HVAC guy said there was no way for him to reach the roof.  He would have to try the next day with a 12 foot ladder, which he felt would be too short.  Now, here’s where I get pissed.  For some reason, Rodemyer-Christel doesn’t feel like it’s their responsibility to offer a way for workers to have access to their roof.  That, or they’re really bad at math.  They tried to tell me that a 6 foot ladder should work fine to get up to a skylight (the only way to access the roof) that is 16 feet high.  However, if that didn’t work, I could ask my neighbors to all pitch in to buy a ladder that can a). fit up the extremely narrow staircase, and b). can actually reach the skylight.  At this point, I’m not even sure if this is legal…I’m fairly certain St. Louis building code maintains the need for safe access to rooftop structures. 

Armed with a lot of angry thoughts (seriously, this CAN’T be legal), DH and I headed out to find a ladder that I knew would fit the requirements above.  Another $200 later, we had a guaranteed way that our AC could finally be fixed.

The most ironic part about this whole thing is that it cost us less to fix the darn air conditioner, than it did for us to find a way to REACH the air conditioner.

All I can say is that I’m glad we have central air again.  And our cats are glad as well.

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