Air conditioner duty has its hazards

By Glenda Price

Those of us who live in the Southwest — not in the mountains, not in houses with thick adobe walls — have to deal with a summertime that lives up to its name, especially in times of drought, which is nearly all the time.

So we have to deal with air conditioners. Since we’re in dry country, the ones that use water — swamp coolers — are usually the choice.

In spring we hook up the monsters and in the fall we unhook them. Both times the unlucky person with the job ends up with mangled body parts and a surly disposition.

Tending to these chores is a “guy thing.” We women try to be gone someplace — anyplace. Otherwise, we’ll have to do the first-aid thing or, worse, get sent to town to buy those weird-named things our guys need.

Any female who has had the misfortune of being big pregnant in the middle of summer (we all know who we are) must admit we have made life miserable for our husbands. One gal I know made her guy climb up on the roof and dump ice in the air conditioner.

Some rooftops are really steep. A guy I’ll call Edgar (to protect the hapless) climbed on his roof, and when he pulled the side panel off, it fell on his toe. When he tried to catch it he slipped, and slid into the back yard. He checked his bruises and decided he’d probably live, but that stupid air conditioner still needed to be hooked up.

He went to the saddle house, got his rope and tied it around his waist. The pickup happened, handily, to be backed up to the front of the house, so he tied the other end of the rope to the bumper. That way, if he started to slide down the back side of the house again, the rope would hold him.

He retrieved the side panel, put new pads in, got the frozen and busted tubing replaced, the water turned on and the pump working. Yep, he was doing good.

I must make a painful confession here. Sometimes we women are worse than no help at all. Sometimes our guys would be happy if we stayed out in the pasture till they finished, or maybe even forever.

Unfortunately, about that time Edgar’s wife decided to go to the barn and check on the baby chickens, and she didn’t think it particularly unusual that the pickup was backed up close to the front of the house.

She got in and drove off.

This time Edgar didn’t fall off the back of the house like before. No. He went over the top and down into the front yard — and then some — before his wife saw something in her rear view mirror, bouncing along behind her and heard a gurgling scream.

The first good news is Edgar didn’t suffer permanent injury. The second good news is he and his wife are still married — to each other.

Glenda Price has been a contributing editor to New Mexico Stockman magazine since 1982. Contact her at: