So in 2008, Christmas was on a Thursday, and the week of Christmas was *really* cold. Even by California standards, it was in the 30’s at night that week, just really, really cold. And we were just wrapping up having the house painted (inside). And one morning we woke up and the thermostat said 59 degrees. Inside! And the heater was set to maintain something like 62 or 63. (we live in a four-story house, so even if the thermostat says 63 degrees it’s warmer than that upstairs, so 63 is really fine for overnight). So something was clearly wrong. 59 is COLD! So I called an HVAC company that I have used before – they replaced my little AC unit when I was in Santa Monica – and they came out and walked on the roof. Which is no mean feat in this house! You have to climb up the two flights of stairs to the main level, and then the spiral staircase in the backyard to the top level where our master bedroom is, and THEN you have to climb up a ladder onto the roof. And g-d help you if you look down.
So the long and short of it is that our 20-year old AC/heating unit had called it quits, on December 21st. Good luck with that one.
So we used a bunch of space heaters for a week and they sent a crane out to lift a new, 500-lb heating/AC unit onto our roof on Friday morning, December 26th. Have I mentioned we live in a four-story house? I shot video of it on my little camera and put it on YouTube. I’ll have to dig out that link. I have never had any personal interaction with a crane operator before but let me tell you – this guy was TALENTED! I watched him lift that unit straight up, off of my hilly little street that is less than 15-feet wide, past the elm tree and the eucalyptus tree and he didn’t touch a leaf. And then the AC guys moved it into position and hooked it up, and hooked up the old kaput unit onto the crane, and the crane operator took it off of our four-story roof onto the truck that took it away to the AC farm to play with other old and tired AC units.
So this year, we have continued in the tradition of needing professional contracting work the week of Christmas. Last week when we had torrential rain, it suddenly started to rain inside our downstairs bedroom, which we use as our home office. Drip, drip, drip. Right above my desk. This was a super-sized leak. So I had 2 contractors come out and we chose one who had worked for other partners at Benjamin’s firm. He came and tore out some of the drywall inside the office and shot water at the outside of the window with our neighbor’s hose. Found the leak. Bad window installation he tells me, and tells me he wants to tear out the stucco on the outside of the house, put some new flashing around the window and replace the stucco. Sounds not-so-painful to me.
So this morning they started to remove the stucco (which is QUITE A LOUD ENTERPRISE LET ME TELL YOU!) and they discover that the window is actually the wrong kind of window – it’s a window made to be under an eave of a house, but where it is on our house, there’s no protection from water (“there’s no lip on the window,” he tells me. Did you know windows have lips?). So we have to order a new window altogether! And instead of a four-day job, finished by Christmas or right around there, now we are looking at (properly) installing the new window the first week in January. They patched up the stucco so that when it rains next week there won’t be any more dripping than when we started……