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People come from all over the world to enjoy a vacation in Florida. Every winter, people flood to the beaches, theme parks, and resorts to enjoy our mild winters and clear, blue skies.

But it’s pretty quiet during the summer. That’s because Florida summers are brutal. It’s hot and very humid. I wish I had the option to fly somewhere cooler for the summer. Maybe a couple of months in Alaska would be just the ticket.

Of course, I couldn’t really do that. Who would take all my shifts at the Oldsmar Piggly-Wiggly? It’s down to me and one other girl as it is. They keep trying to replace people with those machines where the customer rings himself up, but lots of customers don’t like to do that. 

They say to me, “Arlene, where would I be without you? I can hardly see two feet in front of my face, I couldn’t possibly work one of those machines. It’s always beeping at me, and I get so mad I just want to walk out without my bananas and my milk.”

So, I’m here for the summer and the winter, unfortunately. 

A Death Rattle

I was sitting at home, doing what I always do on my day off. I had a cigarette in one hand and a Michelob light in the other and the television was tuned to Passions, my favorite show. My little cocker spaniel Petey was running around my feet.

He had a touch of the madness that year. The vet said it was nothing to worry about, that most cockers get it and that it would go away, and he would be the same old Petey again before I knew it. Easy for her to say. She didn’t have to live with him.

I didn’t know it, but cocker spaniels get something called “cocker madness” that makes them charge all over the place, snapping and snarling at the slightest provocation.

“Petey, damnit, I’m trying to watch my stories,” I told him, but he just kept right on running around like a dang fool.

And then I heard it: a big clunk. Followed by another one. And another. I held onto the arms of my chair. 

“What was that?” I asked.

The hiss of the air conditioner stopped. Click here to find out more about air conditioners. It was my worst nightmare. It seemed like I was sweating buckets after only a few seconds.

I went outside and looked at my machine. “Work,” I told it, and when it didn’t, I gave it one good, hard kick. It rattled, then whirred, then came back to life.

I thought I had fixed the problem entirely. I had no idea how old the unit was, and even though it didn’t work perfectly, I didn’t think that it was going to just give out on me.

Crisis averted; I went back inside in time to catch Markie leaving Trisha on the desert island for the third time. Man, when will that girl learn?

Borrowed Time

That night, the air conditioner went out again. I went back outside and did my old kick trick a second time, but this time I wasn’t so lucky.

The night was hot and humid. No big surprise there. I pulled a fan into my room and set it up in front of my bed, but it didn’t do anything but swirl the hot air around. I felt worse than before. 

I felt tired and sluggish, like someone was boiling my brain from the inside. Click the link: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/caregiving for more information about the risk of heat stroke for seniors.

Finding a Solution

Petey and I were miserable that night. It was so hot neither one of us slept. 

While Petey panted underneath a wet washcloth, I went to work.

The first thing I did was to search the companies in the area available to fix my AC. But I wasn’t going to choose just any company. I made sure to check their reviews online, as well. I wanted a company that was going to stand by their work. 

It was important to me to find a company with integrity. The last thing I wanted was to waste hundreds of dollars on a repair that broke down within a few days. 

By the time the sun rose on another miserable Florida day, I had made my decision. I called a company based in Oldsmar. I told them about my age and Petey’s delicate condition, and they had a technician out to see me that day.

I was so grateful to them for their hard work.