I Got Nothing for My Birthday

My side of the family makes a bigger deal of birthdays than Steve’s. On my side, if it’s your birthday, you get a birthday dinner at the restaurant of your choice with Grammie’s Brownie Trifle and Aunt Lila’s Tiger Butter for dessert. And, of course, you get a present…or two!! On Steve’s side, if it’s your birthday, you get a phone call or a text message or maybe a Facebook post.

Now that my kids are adults with very busy adult lives, it’s hard for all of us to get together and celebrate so we’re transitioning to the “you get a phone call” way of celebrating.

Still, Steve knows that birthdays are kind of a big deal to me and with my birthday approaching, he broaches the subject.

S: You have a birthday coming up.

M: Uh huh.

S: I know you like presents and I know you like me to surprise you, but, you know, I can’t do that this year. I can’t go shopping and I can’t spend money without you knowing it.

M: True. True.

S: So, what would you like for your birthday? You’ve mentioned wanting a Fitbit. You haven’t had a massage in a while. Do you want to go out for dinner?

M: Aww….that’s sweet of you to offer, but I don’t know what I want. Can I think about it?

S: Certainly!

A few days later, the subject comes up again.

M: What would you say if I told you I wanted one of those fiberglass propane tanks? You know, the ones that don’t rust.

S: I’d say it’s your birthday.

M: Well, I’m still thinking.

More time passes. I mention taking a day trip to D.C. Steve jumps all over that.

S: We can do that for your birthday!

M: I don’t want a trip to D.C. for my birthday.  It’s something we’d both enjoy.

JSYK…Labor Day is a great day to go to D.C. Traffic isn’t bad and it’s not crazy crowded. We walk from one end of the Mall to the other visiting monuments, museums and gardens. Politics aside, a trip to D.C. is a walk down our country’s memory lane. A humbling way to spend the day.

Steve wakes up the next day not feeling well. He spends most of the morning in bed. Once up, he complains about it being hot.

I just figure the A/C is having trouble keeping up in this 90° heat but a quick glance at the thermostat shows that it’s 80° inside. Uh oh. Something’s not right.

The compressor is cycling on and off but it’s not reaching the set point. We do a factory reset. We clean the air filter. We clean the raw water intake strainer. We turn the unit off for a bit in case it’s iced up.

I’ve said it before…Steve’s the handiest man I know, but HVAC is not his strong suit. Still, he wants to look at the compressor. Oh, God. It’s under the V-berth. The mattress has to come off. Can it get any worse?

Of course, it can.

The compressor is installed behind the holding tank.

M: Whaaattt? We have to take the holding tank out????

S: Either that or we have to cut out a piece of fiberglass. We should have done that when the A/C was originally installed but we had so many other projects to do that I just never got around to it.

Steve knows what I am about to say because I’ve said it before…cutting fiberglass is messy. Fiberglass dust gets everywhere and you clean it up forever.

S: How about you vacuum while I cut? That will help with the mess.

Great idea.

Hole cut.  No obvious problem with the compressor.

Just another hole in our boat....
Just another hole in FNR….

We call Cruisair. They say it’s probably a thermal overload switch and we gotta call our nearest Cruisair dealer. Luckily, this is the “slow” time of year and they’ll send someone over first thing in the morning.

Guess that means I have to make the bed. I’ve said it before….putting the sheets back on our v-shaped mattress in a space with only about 25” of head clearance and zero wall clearance is NOT my favorite thing to do. Can it get any worse?

Of course, it can.

It’s now 90° inside the boat and I have to put the sheets back on our v-shaped mattress in a space with only about 25” of head clearance and zero wall clearance.

Once the sun sets, it cools down nicely. That means Steve doesn’t have to pay for a night’s stay in the Holiday Inn which BTW he says he will do without getting a case of the tight-ass since it is my birthday.

We’re up at 6:30, taking the mattress back off and opening up the access to the compressor so the service tech can get right to work when he gets here.  Steve tells the guy what Cruisair said and the problem is promptly diagnosed.  The tech has to go get the part, but he’s back in a couple of hours.  Switch is replaced, compressor stays on, and the boat quickly starts to cool down.  Before leaving, the tech suggests that we back flush the water lines since there’s a lot of silt in the water here and flushing them prevents sediment from building up in the lines and coils.

Makes sense. It’s a little tricky getting the water lines off and getting the drain hoses on but we manage it without spraying water everywhere. We flush quite a bit of gook out so it was a good suggestion. So, can it get any worse?

Of course, it can.

Once flushed, I notice Steve holding a water line in his hand looking quite perplexed.

M: What’s wrong?

S: This hose came off the inlet valve but it’s actually the water discharge hose.

M: Huh?

S:  The lines were hooked up backwards.  The water coming into the boat was hooked up here.  (Pointing to a sticker on the compressor clearly labeled WATER OUTLET.)  And, the water going overboard is hooked up here.  (Pointing to a sticker on the compressor clearly labeled WATER INLET.)

Clearly labeled….starboard in, port out.

M:  That’s not good.

S:  I don’t think it’s that big of a deal but Cruisair labeled these lines this way for a reason.

We call Cruisair again.  Steve understands what they say.  Something about the hottest gas mixing with the coldest water and that it really only matters in extreme conditions.

M:  Why do you think it wasn’t hooked up right to start with?

S:  Probably because the water line that is supposed to be hooked up to the discharge through hull fitting isn’t long enough to reach the water outlet.  It’s not that big of a deal to hook the lines up correctly.  Just a little annoying to get in there and do it.

M:  Well, we might as well do it right while we’re in this deep.

We might as well do it right while we’re in this deep...
It’s a little annoying to get in there and do it but we might as well do it right while we’re in this deep…

Later that evening, Steve looks at me and apologizes.

M:  What are you sorry for?

S:  The last two days couldn’t have been any worse and you got nothing for your birthday.

M:  So our A/C broke.  Life isn’t perfect but it’s pretty darn good.  We are retired, doing what we want to do when we want to do it.  We are happy, healthy and loved.  As far as I’m concerned, I got everything for my birthday.

3 thoughts on “I Got Nothing for My Birthday”

  1. Marci, Dianne and I have enjoyed all your posts, but this one was outstanding! We have much the same situation with birthdays, but the roles are reversed. Laughed and laughed.

    Be well and stay happy.


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