During these hot, dog days of summer, I thank God and all of my lucky stars for our air conditioner. It hums away all day long keeping our home cool and cozy. It is absolutely wonderful to walk into your home (after several hours of garden chores in scorching heat) and instantly feel that blessed, artificially cooled air.
Times were not always like this.
We used to use a swamp cooler (for those of you not familiar with the inner workings of a swamp cooler, here's how they work: you simply plumb water to this big ugly box, which is usually situated outside a window or your home, the water runs through the padding on the inner walls of the ugly box which provides cooler air that the large 'squirrel cage' fan inside blows into your house). Our swamp cooler did a fantastic job of cooling in a hurry, but you had to put up the the wobbling of your chin and cheeks, and even the pinning back of your ears. But, it was cheap, and since I am cheap myself, I always voted cheap. I even invented an irrigation system to flood irrigate perennials and shrubs with the run-off water from our swamp cooler. Water runs out the bottom of the cooler through a PVC pipe (also ugly). I could direct the water wherever I wanted it to go. All I had to do was lay out more ugly white PVC pipe. This sytem of watering worked great for us for several years. It also helped justify keeping the swamp cooler, which, remeber, is a CHEAP way to cool your home.
As Susan and I were out weeding in the garden one afternoon, we noticed the sound of splattering water. We followed our ears right to, you guessed it, the swamp cooler. Water was filling up the box and spilling out all of it's sides, making a muddy mess! I quickly ran and shut off the water. Susan mentioned that it does not require a brain surgeon to realize that a pipe was plugged. I knew she was likely right, so I told her that I would explore all of my connections while she finished the weeding. So off she went. I started at the furthest point and worked my way back towards the swamp cooler, checking each 20' section for clogs. Finally, I found the plugged pipe (I wish I would have started at the swamp cooler, because the clog was in the first 20' section of pipe, but, at least I had found the problem).
The way she tells it, Susan says that she could hardly believe her eyes when, as she walked around the row of grapes to see me down on my hands and knees, with my lips locked around a 1 1/4" PVC pipe, blowing for all I was worth. After about 60 seconds of this, I had to stop and clear my head. Once my dizzy head cleared, it came to me. I could rig-up a PVC fitting over the end of the pipe, attach a reducer into the fitting so I could then screw the end of the water hose into it. Once accomplished, I turned the hose on and waited for the water pressure to push the clog on thru the pipe. And waited....and waited.....and nothing. Then I got a really bright idea. I went in the house and grabbed a bottle of clorox. I poured about 1/2 gallon into the pipe, hooked the hose back on and turned it on. Nothing. I asked Susan if she would go to the swamp cooler and check the open end of the pipe, and I would open the hose valve on full-bore. After a minute or two of listening and peaking into the pipe she said she could hear a hissing sound. I asked if she would look in and see if anything was trying to work its way out. Just as she looked in....BOOM! Water, clorox and the clog, all at once, blew all over her face and entire front of her shirt....
What can one say in a moment like this???
I can't remember exactly what I said. I think I mumbled something about how glad I was that the clog was fixed, and that I loved her new bleached out T-shirt...and maybe something about going to shop for an air conditioner.