Sunday, July 22, 2007


Mechanical things break down. It is a Law of Nature. It’s one of the first things they teach you in Thermodynamics class, the Second Law: Entropy increases; disorder and randomness trump order. More precisely, in an isolated system, a process can occur only if it increases the total entropy of the system.

Which means, in a nutshell, that ice melts, that steam does not jump back into the teakettle, that things break. Mechanical contrivances fuck up.

And that’s why I am at the Apple store, getting the Mistress’s iBook fixed. It choked in the midst of an operating system update, and since then it has been extremely a doorstop. As a computer, not so much.

Fortunately, the guts of the device seem to be healthy...and so a few tweaks of the software by the resident geniuses at the Apple Store here and it will be good to go.

I wish I could say the same for the air conditioner at Chez Elisson.

Two days ago, our service technician came out for our regular midsummer checkup, and the system passed with flying colors.

Yesterday afternoon, hours before the arrival of a small platoon of dinner guests, the upstairs unit crapped out. Eighty-six degrees and rising. I'm hoping it’s something simple, like a burned out condenser unit fan...and not a blown-out compressor.

But it’s always something, quoth Roseanne Rosannadanna. Mechanical shit eventually turns to shit.

Lucky for us, the downstairs was reasonably cool. Dinner went off without a hitch, after which SWMBO and I slept in the den last night, trading the discomfort of sleeping on the couch and/or the floor for the worse discomfort of sleeping while glazed with a sheen of sweat. Feh.

Update: The HVAC tech is, supposedly, on his way. We’ll just see how long it takes him to show up. And what horrors he’ll find, for the Law of Home Repairs is at least as iron-clad as the Second Law of Thermodynamics: Whatever is wrong with your house, it will cost Too Fucking Much to fix.

Update #2: Good news. The condenser fan was “tight,” in the tech’s words, and was cured with a goodly shot of lubrication. I suspect it’s only a matter of time before the fan seizes up for good, whereupon the fan motor will need to be replaced. But that sure as hell beats replacing the whole condenser unit.

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