Friday morning started off smoothly enough. It was a busy, but constructive week, and the kids had a constructive morning too. They dove right into a tower-construction project that produced some pretty impressive results. (See Amelia’s guest blog on the topic.)

Erin and I had some yard work to do, and late in the morning I had to head out to run some errands. One of those errands was one that, on its face, should have seemed like the easiest one imagineable. I had to desposit a check for work. Easy, right?

In the past, I would have made that deposit up the street at my local grocery store, which has a branch of the bank my company uses. But there’s been some reports of COVID outbreaks there lately, so I found a nearby branch with a drive through ATM. The trouble is that apparently everyone else in Colorado both uses this bank and has the same idea, because there always seems to be a super long drive through line.

I had aborted the deposit mission a couple times this week already, but this time figured I’d just suck it up and wait in line. Part of the issue is that for some reason this branch has the ATM and regular bank drive through service on the same line. 

There were probably 6 or so cars ahead of me, so I used the time to make a call or two. When all was said and done, I was in that drive through line for AN HOUR. An entire hour to literally deposit one check, a transaction that took all of 1 minute. I have no idea what complex financial transactions all the cars in front of me were conducting, but some were at the window/ATM for 15 or 20 minutes. 

As if that wasn’t an awesome enough way to spend part of one’s morning, one of those calls was Erin calling from the home front. The previous day, in an event that seemed so innocuous it was certainly not blog-worthy, we called our local air conditioning guy to come have a look at our AC unit. It was working, but seemed to be struggling a little bit. We were due for annual service anyway, and he was able to get us in on Friday. We knew the unit had some years on it, and we had some issues the past few years, but they’ve been able to bubble gum patch it together and keep it going. The old girl has a another season in it, I’m sure. Am I right? Look at this beautiful box!

Anyway, about 20 minutes into my bank drive through purgatory, Erin had our AC technician on speaker phone, explaining to us that basically there was no bubble gum strong enough to hold this thing together anymore. It had given up. Like most things, the older it got the less cool it got, and now it was completely uncool. Tepid. Squaresville, daddio.

To even attempt a repair would require parts that would end up costing almost as much as a new unit, and would take 2 or 3 weeks to get. Our best option is get a new one, which they told us they could install on Wednesday. So the choice that wasn’t much of a choice was pretty self explanatory, and on we go.

It sucks, of course. Of course, it happens when it’s hella hot outside. (Note my use of the mid-90s “hella” to reinforce my own aforementioned uncoolness.) And I was about to write something about the timing not being great for us, but hey, when is the timing ever good for replacing an air conditioning unit? I don’t think any homeowner ever has a moment, sipping a glass of wine and reading a book, where they say, “Hey! NOW would be a perfect time to replace the expensive cooling machine outside that I totally take for granted and never think about unless it isn’t working.”

But hey, so it goes. It’s a bummer, but honestly this is one of those moments where I look at the world around me and it’s easy to put this in perspective. In a vacuum, any other year, I might have gone more into self-pity mode, but if 2020 has taught me anything, it’s that I’m extremely lucky to have the “problems” that I have. My family is healthy and safe and I am fortunate beyond imagining. With so many out there battling illness, unemployment and oppression every day, something like this doesn’t even register.

And we did get some good news a few hours later. Our AC guy had a cancellation and is able to get our install done on Monday. So we’ll be back to chilling in just a few days. In the meantime, we’ve got windows open and fans going and all is good. We’re saving energy!

The AC thing is the very definition of “first world problems.” I bring it up because I know for a fact that one year ago I would have gone right to the dumps over something like this. We had some home repair shenanigans then, too, and I felt like the universe was out to get me. I look back on that and feel embarrassed about it.

By no means am I saying that our troubles or anyone’s troubles are trivial. All of us are facing daily challenges right now, and that’s completely valid. But in this moment, I feel like we have an opportunity to evolve to a better tomorrow. And I think that’s going to take a major infusion of empathy in our society. For that, we all have to be able to look past our own issues and care about our fellow citizens.

The peaceful protests we’ve seen in the past week are an amazing showcase of people thinking big. This is a historic moment and so many are putting their health and safety on the line to advocate for a better tomorrow. Whether we’re on the streets or not, all of us can be part of that change by educating ourselves, educating our kids, and by holding our local officials accountable to make change.

Next week, part of my productivity equation is going to be about researching more about what I can do in my community to advocate for change. No matter what the temperature in my house is, the fight for equality is always cool.