Among the myriad of things I didn’t know about home ownership, I’m supposed to routinely clean out my air conditioning overflow valve.  Unfortunately there is no Traumatic Home Ownership website or checklist for such things.

I learned about this mysterious overflow valve the hard way after my air conditioner shut down last summer.  One service call later, a friendly repair technician pointed me to a little brush on the side of the central unit.  Lesson learned as I wrote a check while thanking him for being so friendly and responsive.  Late night house calls aren’t really fun for anyone, but he was well compensated for the visit while the snowflakes, my lovely red headed wife, and I were finally able to stop sweating.

Fast forward to today as the Terminex man is paying close attention to a mysterious little pile of lord-knows-what which just happens to be underneath the magical little brush I didn’t always know existed.

It turned out I do a great job of cleaning my overflow valve, but not such a good job of cleaning the little brush.  The interesting pile was merely the filth that fell from the brush after it dries.  Like (most? all other?) central air units, they’re not exactly positioned in the middle of a highly trafficked area.  The little mound of whatever could’ve gone undetected forever if not for the thoroughness of the Terminex guy.

(Thanks for that, Terminex Guy.)

Do I have a point here?  Sort of.  Most nights involve some sort of discussion/argument/mandate regarding taking a bath or shower.  From there it later evolves to stumbling upon un-hung towels and discarded clothes.  On evenings when Snowflake #1 is particularly adamant she’s not going near the bathtub or shower I sometimes offer a third option in the spirit of compromise: if she wants to go out in the backyard I’ll spray her with the hose.  Somehow I’m certain we’re inevitably heading to the day when we take each other up on this.

Unrelated to my newfound awareness of the overflow valve, I’m steadfastly insistent that my snowflakes aren’t going to bed with the combination of sunscreen, chlorine, and the summer day on their skin and in their hair.  Just like the little pile beneath the brush, I’m always unprepared for the mess that follows.

“Your kids will come from camp exhausted and ready for bed,” their counselors assured my lovely red headed wife and me at the start of the summer… and they were 100% accurate in this prediction/assessment.  What they left out however was that amid their fatigue and weariness, they’d still be completely unwilling to actually go to bed, and just like the overflow valve that led to the little pile of filth, tonight’s brief shower led to a minor… I guess I can use the word, “disagreement,” that led to a not-so minor disagreement, and led to a definitely not minor disagreement, and things continued to escalate from there.

As I write this, I’m thoroughly exhausted and I don’t think I’ve said a word after insisting showers would be taken this evening.

“Just long enough to get wet,” I’d offered at the time.

Maybe I’ll just go hide in the basement.  I happen to know of a spot next to the air conditioner where no one ever seems to look.  While I’m there I’m going to ponder the word “hanger.”  I heard it for the first time this summer and instantly recognized it’s meaning as a combination of “angry” and “hunger.”  There’s little doubt it was the muse for Snowflake #1’s somewhat less than pleasant demeanor.

Shouldn’t it be “h’anger” though?  Not only is it a contraction, and different from those things my lovely red headed wife puts in the closet, but based on my experience confronting it, you really need to own it.