Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Winter of My Discontent: AC Crapshoot

 
  1. @susanquinn did a great post on the vagaries of “winter” in Florida. Where I live in FL, we call people that live where Susan does “Northerners.”

I live in the Conch Republic (capital city: Margaritaville). My current, post-Irma abode is just over 100 miles from the southernmost point of the United States. We don’t “do” winter. Okay, maybe we hope for a couple of days in JAN or FEB where the temp only hovers at around 50-55 for a couple of days, but only so that it decrements the bug population in JUN, JUL, and AUG. My weather bug app says that, over the next 10 days, the lowest high will be 71. That day is an anomaly. Most days the high temp will be between 75 and 80. Last week, my super-cool-guy watch was telling me that temps were typically in the high 80s.

So, blizzards? Sleet? Snow? Arctic inversions?

Pass.

Those climatic extremes are for all y’all who live in northern climes. Like, say, the Florida panhandle.

But, while frostbite will not be a concern, the requirement for air conditioning is year-round. The inside of my car, coming out of work today, was make-a-blue-tick-hound-pant hot.

A little over a month ago, I bought a car off of one of the dive instructor puppies next door. My eldest daughter (call sign: PROM QUEEN)’s vehicle had just given up the ghost, and Adam had a detailed list of the maintenance that he’d been deferring, knowing that he was going to sell the car. We struck a deal that I’d take the ’04 Subaru to my mechanic, who Adam knows and who I trust implicitly, and half the costs of the maintenance would be stricken from the price of the vehicle.

“So,” said Vic, the uber mechanic,”Is this car just going to be a little island hopper, or is it going to be a long-range, highways and byways type of vehicle?”

PQ has a lot going on, over the next coupla three months, so we dutifully reported to Vic that she would be traveling regularly between Gainesville, Del Ray, the Keys, and Ft. Myers.

Vic said, “Look, if it were my baby girl, I wouldn’t have her on the highways logging those kind of miles in that Subaru.”

I leaned up against the counter and put my head in my hands, knowing what was coming. “How would that vehicle do driving up to the base in Homestead every day?”

“Oh, no worries, there.”

Awesome. So I gave up my ’18 Nissan Altima and started driving the ’04 Subaru. Which is fine, but…

The air conditioning is whacked. It’s not even that it doesn’t work. Sometimes it straight up doesn’t work. Sometimes it does. Sometimes it’ll work for 10 or 15 minutes and then die. I hate inconsistency.

When I took it back to Vic, he and his boys determined that the problem was the electromagnetic clutch on the compressor; it’s bad and needs to be replaced. As I stated, I trust Vic implicitly. He could’ve told me I need a new transmogrifier or that my dilithium crystals were depleted. Doesn’t matter. Vic’s word is automotive law.

So every time I get in the car to go to work, the temperature is in the high 70s to high 80s. When I get in the car to drive home from work, the car has been marinating in high 80s heat all day. It’s not really a problem. If I drive into work and get swamp butt from no AC, I can shower and change clothes right there. If I drive from work and get swamp butt from no AC, who cares?

It does kind of bug me, though, that having all the windows down, moving at speed, disrupts the even burn of the fine, Cuban-seed, Dominican-grown cigar that I like to enjoy during my end-of-the-day commute. Eh, First World problems.

Prom Queen was packing up the Altima for one of her myriad trips, and I told her that I hope she appreciated that I was giving up my car to square her away.

She patted my shoulder.

Our car. It’s our car.”

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There are 47 comments.

  1. Judge Mental Member

    You’re a good man, Mongo.

    • #1
    • January 18, 2020, at 11:20 AM PST
    • 11 likes
  2. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    You’re a good man, Mongo.

    Nah. But sometimes I can approximate a reasonable facsimile thereof.

    • #2
    • January 18, 2020, at 11:24 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  3. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    This is where forethought comes into play. Socramedes is 14. So I traded in the 2004 Jetta in for a Certified Pre-owned 2019 Honda. I get to drive it for 2 years, then pass it to him. Upon which time I will get a 2020-2021 something else. Drive for 4 years then pass to #3. 

    I get a pretty decent daily driver for most of the next decade this way.

    • #3
    • January 18, 2020, at 11:25 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  4. Sandy Member

    Oh, yeah, “our”car. Interesting how often a parent needs to remind a kid of the foundational principles of private property and the nature of a loan. If she has an accident, I’m pretty sure “your” insurance would suddenly come into play, to say nothing of “your” dollars for “your” repair guy.

    • #4
    • January 18, 2020, at 11:30 AM PST
    • 12 likes
  5. Blondie Thatcher

    Dads. They are the best. I got to have a car at college because my mom came to pick me up for my first fall break. Four hours down, four hours back in the same day on an interstate highway by someone who rarely leaves an area with a population of about 5,000 took care of that. I wanted to get this cute little compact car but daddy wouldn’t have any of that so off I went in the family sedan Oldsmobile. I get the reasoning now, but at 19 it wasn’t cool. Dads, y’all take care of your girls. 

    • #5
    • January 18, 2020, at 11:31 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  6. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    You’re a good man, Mongo.

    And one with his priorities straight. Well done. (We had a situation, several years ago, involving my stepdaughter/granddaughter and a Subaru (hmm) that suddenly started venting gas fumes into the passenger cabin. So, no problem, right? Trade cars and we drive the Subaru with the windows open? Except it was the middle of winter, which we do have, up here, so temperatures between 10-15F and snow blowing through the windows. Even with the heater going full bore, it was pretty grim. Eventually ended up solving that one by buying a new vehicle. (Not a Subaru. Note to Subaru owners, I know you love them. We just don’t seem to have had very good luck with them, is all.)

    • #6
    • January 18, 2020, at 11:36 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  7. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Blondie (View Comment):

    Dads. They are the best. I got to have a car at college because my mom came to pick me up for my first fall break. Four hours down, four hours back in the same day on an interstate highway by someone who rarely leaves an area with a population of about 5,000 took care of that. I wanted to get this cute little compact car but daddy wouldn’t have any of that so off I went in the family sedan Oldsmobile. I get the reasoning now, but at 19 it wasn’t cool. Dads, y’all take care of your girls.

    Around here, we call that “pushing the Dad Button.” It doesn’t seem to matter how young, or how old daughter is, or her stage in life, or her marital status. When things are as they should be, the “Dad Button,” never fails. Around here, anyway.

    • #7
    • January 18, 2020, at 11:38 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  8. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    I almost went to Fort Myers to practice back in 1972. The frozen up A/C in the motel and the alligators in the golf corse water holes kind of discouraged me. Plus I was advised that if I went out to the practice tee before 9 AM, the skeeters would carry me off.

    I gave my middle daughter an old 1996 Nissan pickup truck I had. That was a few years ago and it was in great shape with 60,000 miles on it. She was going to trade it in for the Cash For Clunkers thing (she lives in Santa Monica) but, fortunately,. I still had the title. Then, she was driving to Oregon and I bought her a used Prius (Santa Monica again), which I am about to pay off. I was thinking maybe I would like to have that 1996 truck back but I guess I had given her the title and she had sold it.

    • #8
    • January 18, 2020, at 12:16 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  9. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):
    I almost went to Fort Myers to practice back in 1972. The frozen up A/C in the motel and the alligators in the golf corse water holes kind of discouraged me. Plus I was advised that if I went out to the practice tee before 9 AM, the skeeters would carry me off.

    Fort Myers. Yeah. Like I said, that’s the “North Country.”

    • #9
    • January 18, 2020, at 12:18 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  10. GLDIII Temporarily Essential Thatcher
    GLDIII Temporarily Essential Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    My baby has finally killed the 99 BMW convertible I gave him his last year of high school. It had ~100K on it then, but it looked great and everything worked fine, mechanically it was still “the beast”. Since then he has used it for daily college commuting, his travels, and now a year of employment, thus putting another 80K on the meter over the last 7 years. During that time he has re-sculpted the front end into someone else rear, however the other driver was joy riding, so we called that a draw, but “we” used that as a learning event for body repair. I offered to re-paint it for him if he would just do the final alignment of the replaced fenders, hood and grill parts, but for some reason he has always left the last few bites on his plate and never finishes something to it’s finale. One can only teach one so much. 

    It has needed various minor, but irritating repairs for things like a failing power steering unit, water hoses, cam positions sensors, oxygen sensors, door & hood handle mechanisms, tire, struts, ball joints, and of course the required oil maintenance. Nothing major given it’s age and mileage. We did all of those repairs, it was continual class room for automotive independence.

    While it was initially the envied ride when he acquired it, he has lost that luv in feeling. Pity, but I guess we all age out and get ugly. CarMax would only give him a 100 bucks for it, so it becomes tax deductible fodder.

    Today I had to co sign a car loan for my credit virgin son to avoid usury levels of interest rate (16% vs 2.99% with dad on the note). He is getting a 3 year old Miata MX5, so I guess he inherited somethings from his dad, to have all of your mistresses with 4 wheels that you can keep in the garage, it much cheaper in the long run.

    His fiancé agrees.

    • #10
    • January 18, 2020, at 12:21 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  11. cdor Member
    cdor Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Ya know what the lefties always say, doncha Boss? “But it’s for the CHILDREN!”

    • #11
    • January 18, 2020, at 12:26 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  12. cdor Member
    cdor Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Instugator (View Comment):
    Socramedes? I’ll bet all his friends call him that too.

     

    • #12
    • January 18, 2020, at 12:28 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  13. MarciN Member

    My oldest was going to Colgate University, which is a tiny college in upstate New York. It’s very cold up there. The campus is gorgeous, but it was built on the side of a very steep mountain of slate. When the first snow falls sometime in late October, the freshmen have a tradition of riding the cafeteria trays down the snowy mountain for fun. At any rate, Kate definitely needed a car. But we really didn’t like the idea of her driving back and forth to Cape Cod, so we were hemming and hawing over the idea.

    My husband’s number one goal in life was to have a Cadillac by the time he turned 50. As his fiftieth birthday was approaching, he and my son took off to the car dealers for the day to find The Brand-New Cadillac. They were gone a long time. When they finally got home, they arrived in a slightly used red Jeep Cherokee–for Kate. “She’s gotta have four-wheel drive. And I don’t want her driving one of those little student cars that collapse on impact.” :-)

    • #13
    • January 18, 2020, at 12:32 PM PST
    • 12 likes
  14. PHCheese Member

    I gave my my 2 year old Honda Accord coupe to my oldest some years back. He took a job in Memphis . We were talking on the phone one night and I could hear sirens. I asked him what was going on. He looked out his condo’s window and saw a police chase in progress. He gave me a running description of the chase. The car being chased turned into his parking lot and totaled the Honda. The police then pulled the guy out of the car and gave him a beating. I really liked that car.

    • #14
    • January 18, 2020, at 12:36 PM PST
    • 9 likes
  15. Arahant Member

    I didn’t know you were a lesbian, Boss. 😈 More seriously, Subaru is the Japanese term for the Pleiades. You’re driving around with the Seven Sisters.

    • #15
    • January 18, 2020, at 2:00 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  16. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    cdor (View Comment):

    Instugator (View Comment):
    Socramedes? I’ll bet all his friends call him that too.

     

    It is his Rico Handle when he opens the year I gave him.

    • #16
    • January 18, 2020, at 2:09 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  17. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo

    Arahant (View Comment):
    I didn’t know you were a lesbian, Boss.

    Well, sure. A lesbian trapped in a man’s body.

    • #17
    • January 18, 2020, at 2:15 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  18. Arahant Member

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):
    I didn’t know you were a lesbian, Boss.

    Well, sure. A lesbian trapped in a man’s body.

    He swings. He connects, and it’s outta the park with one of the oldest jokes I know.

    • #18
    • January 18, 2020, at 2:17 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  19. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):
    I didn’t know you were a lesbian, Boss.

    Well, sure. A lesbian trapped in a man’s body.

    He swings. He connects, and it’s outta the park with one of the oldest jokes I know.

    You never heard the one about why elephants wear red tennis shoes?

    .

    .

    .

    So they can hide in cherry trees.

    • #19
    • January 18, 2020, at 2:22 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  20. Arahant Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    You never heard the one about why elephants wear red tennis shoes?

    So they can hide in cherry trees.

    If you want an old jokes thread, start it. I’ll bring out my mustiest and worst.

    • #20
    • January 18, 2020, at 2:24 PM PST
    • 1 like
  21. GLDIII Temporarily Essential Thatcher
    GLDIII Temporarily Essential Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    You never heard the one about why elephants wear red tennis shoes?

    So they can hide in cherry trees.

    If you want an old jokes thread, start it. I’ll bring out my mustiest and worst.

    Don’t make me pull out the heavy artillery in my library

    • #21
    • January 18, 2020, at 2:27 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  22. Arahant Member

    GLDIII Temporarily Essential (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    You never heard the one about why elephants wear red tennis shoes?

    So they can hide in cherry trees.

    If you want an old jokes thread, start it. I’ll bring out my mustiest and worst.

    Don’t make me pull out the heavy artillery in my library

    Bring it on!

    • #22
    • January 18, 2020, at 2:28 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  23. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo

    Arahant (View Comment):

    GLDIII Temporarily Essential (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    You never heard the one about why elephants wear red tennis shoes?

    So they can hide in cherry trees.

    If you want an old jokes thread, start it. I’ll bring out my mustiest and worst.

    Don’t make me pull out the heavy artillery in my library

    Bring it on!

    Best Dad joke I ever made:

    When Prom Queen came home after her first semester in college, I had a full-up grillapooza planned. As I set the grill alight, she pulled in after visiting some friends.

    Oh! Prom Queen, I just lit the grill, and I’ve got ribs and spent an hour today making the rub for the ribs. Gonna be the best rib feast ever!

    Prom Queen: Uh, Dad, I don’t eat meat anymore. I’m a vegetarian.

    So, what’re you, a lesbian?

    • #23
    • January 18, 2020, at 2:35 PM PST
    • 9 likes
  24. Phil Turmel Coolidge

    Boss Mongo: Prom Queen was packing up the Altima for one of her myriad trips, and I told her that I hope she appreciated that I was giving up my car to square her away.

    Softie. Yeah, I know: daughters. But you can be stronger. You have to be–that kind of guilt trip doesn’t work on daughters.

    GLDIII Temporarily Essential (View Comment):
    Today I had to co sign a car loan for my credit virgin son to avoid usury levels of interest rate (16% vs 2.99% with dad on the note).

    He drives your beater for seven years and wasn’t motivated to buy his own car? That’s the whole point of making your children drive beaters. They get tired of the crap and go get their own [expletive] wheels.

    Worked on my boy and my elder daughter. The quality time helping them with repairs was a bonus. (:

    My baby girl (20yo) isn’t quite there yet, but you can see the steam from her ears every now and then. (Especially on summer days here in the Atlanta area–her beater has no AC.)

    • #24
    • January 18, 2020, at 3:06 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  25. JoelB Member

    Subaru is the Japanese term for the Pleiades. You’re driving around with the Seven Sisters.

    Oh, that explains the stars in the logo. I have never thought about it. @arahant

    • #25
    • January 18, 2020, at 3:06 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  26. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo

    JoelB (View Comment):

    Subaru is the Japanese term for the Pleiades. You’re driving around with the Seven Sisters.

    Oh, that explains the stars in the logo. I have never thought about it. @arahant

    @joelb, yeah, that’s one of the things I’ve gotten used to.

    Water is wet. The sky is blue. Arahant knows more than I ever will.

    • #26
    • January 18, 2020, at 3:23 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  27. Arahant Member

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):
    Arahant knows more than I ever will.

    And Boss has been more places than I have been and done more things than I shall ever do. My one current claim over him is that I have written a book. But he’ll be joining me soon in that club.

    • #27
    • January 18, 2020, at 3:47 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  28. GLDIII Temporarily Essential Thatcher
    GLDIII Temporarily Essential Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Phil Turmel (View Comment):

    Boss Mongo: Prom Queen was packing up the Altima for one of her myriad trips, and I told her that I hope she appreciated that I was giving up my car to square her away.

    Softie. Yeah, I know: daughters. But you can be stronger. You have to be–that kind of guilt trip doesn’t work on daughters.

    GLDIII Temporarily Essential (View Comment):
    Today I had to co sign a car loan for my credit virgin son to avoid usury levels of interest rate (16% vs 2.99% with dad on the note).

    He drives your beater for seven years and wasn’t motivated to buy his own car? That’s the whole point of making your children drive beaters. They get tired of the crap and go get their own [expletive] wheels.

    That is a “co sign”. The kid is doing fine on an entry level Engineering job. But with no loan history he has no credit rating, this is the first loan he has ever applied for, because he was always saving and paying cash. I have no fear I will have to cover him on a first time loan. He is doing this in preparation for being able to apply for a home loan in a year or so.

    Worked on my boy and my elder daughter. The quality time helping them with repairs was a bonus. (:

    My baby girl (20yo) isn’t quite there yet, but you can see the steam from her ears every now and then. (Especially on summer days here in the Atlanta area–her beater has no AC.)

    My His “beater” can still bang out 0 to 60 in a bit over 7 seconds, and still out handles most other cars on the road. It is still running, but fails to meet MD emission and the “cure” is a set of very expensive catalytic converters. It is failing the cost to value ratio, and he can now afford better. The issue was too many little indignities, and he has saved to get a newish car that is not as leaky and creaky as the current ride.

    He knows how to fix nearly everything on the car. He does not do it with the speed and deftness as dad, but that is the difference from 45 years of being a grease monkey. He still has me consult with him when we try to divine what the cascade of error faults the car triggers as stuff fails, or falls out of the various sensors happy ranges, but that is part of the education.

    That BMW has more than served it’s purpose, he will appreciate that aspect in probably 15 years, when the parental cycle is emotionally internalized by him.

    • #28
    • January 18, 2020, at 3:50 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  29. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):
    Arahant knows more than I ever will.

    And Boss has been more places that I have been and done more things than I shall ever do. My one current claim over him is that I have written a book books. But he’ll be joining me soon in that club.

    FIFY.

    • #29
    • January 18, 2020, at 4:21 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  30. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Ya see, when you brag about your weather, even to me, another Floridian, there is divine justice. Daughter gets the car and you sweat. Sounds about right to me. 😜

    • #30
    • January 18, 2020, at 5:43 PM PST
    • 11 likes