Friday, July 29, 2011

How Bree and Brodi Saved the Writing Retreat

Last weekend, my critique group went up to Midway for a writing retreat.
The Six. Not at the retreat, but I just really like this picture.
When we got there, we realized the air conditioning wasn't working. If there's one thing I've learned about my writers' group, it's that we can put up with a lot of things... except a broken a/c. 

So, as the pioneers of yore would've done, we called all the local repair shops. But since it was a Saturday AND a holiday weekend, we struck out. Although there was one repairman who said he'd come out for $130 an hour. 

I'm sorry, I don't have $130 an hour. But it did make me rethink my career choice. 

So Bree Despain and I did some investigating. 

Did you know there are two parts to an air conditioner? An inside and an outside? Well, the outside part - the air condenser - was vewy vewy quiet. It was clearly not working.
Not the actual air condenser. I forgot to take pictures.

To make a long story short (too late) we ripped a chunk of the fusebox out and took it to the hardware store, where I asked the hardware guy to replace all the little parts.

When we got back, we drew straws as to who was going to put the new part in, upon risk of electric shock. I drew the short straw.

Thinking of my safety, I was all, "Do we have rubber gloves anywhere?"

And Bree was all, "Oh yes! I could use those in case I have to pull your charred remains away from the fuse box!"

And I was like, "I meant for me!"

There were no rubber gloves, but I did find a dish rag. And Bree was all, "Excellent! All the better to clean up the bits of Brodi that will surely be scattered about."

To make a long story short, I put the new fuse doohickee in the fuser-mah-thingee and... it worked! And I wasn't electrocuted! And Bree stood there with her towel at the ready, looking disappointed.

I was so excited, I shouted at the top of my lungs, "I am the GODDESS of AIR CONDITIONERS!" That might be the first time anyone has ever screamed that sentence.

The rest of the day was spent recounting the heroic story of "The Day we Saved Air Conditioning" to friends and family and basically anyone who would listen. 

We couldn't stop talking about it. It was as if we had actually given birth to the air condenser. We described each labor pain in detail, and every once in a while, one of us would spontaneously shout, "Girl Power!"
I told Sam the story over the phone, and when he didn't show the appropriate level of awe, I handed the phone over to Emily Wing Smith to give her version, and then to Sara Bolton for yet another perspective.

Trust me, the next time I tell Sam about my awesomeness, he will be appropriately amazed.

How about you? Have you ever had a moment of triumph like this? I felt like I could do anything. ANYTHING, I tell you!

Next, I'm going to build a car, using only a gum wrapper and belly button lint.


  1. As a florist, I've had many a McGuiver moment. Our little tool boxes could re-hang the moon if necessary. *stammers* Not the real one of course.

  2. Now you can fix compressors for other people and charge them $130 an hour. Nice little side job. For times you're not doing anything else.

    On second though, having just read the ARC, don't waste your time on compressors. WRITE!

  3. Lesli- Don't sell yourself short! You could totally rehang the real moon!

    Donna- At this point, I'd much rather fix air conditioners. Just kidding! Thanks again for reading my book. :)

    Michael- I like to think so. Of course people who know anything about anything probably aren't too impressed. :)

  4. I'd like to see the car you come up with. I'm not sure I'd sit in it or drive it, but I'd still like to see it.

    Way to go on fixing the air conditioner! That's definitely a lifesaver and a must! Next time anyone asks what tool I should have around in case of emergency, I'm going to say, "Brodi Ashton." Um ... that sounded a lot better in my head.

  5. Jenni- Who are you calling a tool? :)

  6. Wow. She writes future bestsellers, she fixes air conditioners... there is obviously nothing Brodi Ashton can't do. :)

  7. Robin- Yes, there is nothing I can't do! As long as it involves air conditioners and writing. Anything else, and I draw a blank.

  8. First, I need to get my hands on one of your ARCs. I can't believe they're circulating already! And so gorgeous.

    My most recent feeling-of-invincibility moment took several days longer than yours. It was replacing the alternator in my husband's car because (a) the guy at Autozone told me I could, even though I protested that I didn't even know what the alternator was because he said (b) YouTube can teach you to do anything even if (c) your husband was working 80-hour weeks at the time leaving you to do it alone. But yeah! Once I got the new one in and started the car and the car didn't blow up (I totally get how freaky it is to put in the new fuse or turn on the car) I felt so empowered!

    Thanks for the funny story, as always. :D

  9. Well, there was this one time at band camp...

    Ok, really it was when we first bought our house and the heater kept pretending to turn on but it would blow cold air instead. And I cried every night thinking of how cold it was going to be and how we couldn't even shower because then we would be human popsicles and no way could we go to our friends for Thanksgiving unshowered! At which point I started calling around for Fixit Gods who didn't want to quote me anything without actually looking at it. They wanted $80 just to do that and if it was what they thought it might be, it would cost $350. Finally, I hit one who took pity on me and told me what to look at and how to pull it out and where I could go get a new one.

    So I did. I was all butchy and walked into the HVAC/plumbing store where all the big grease monkeys were and proffered forth my broken thingy and said "I need one of these!!!" $40 bucks and 30 minutes later and I turned into the Goddess of Furnaces.

  10. Nikki- You are courageous to face a car alone. I always think that just opening the hood will electrocute me!

    Sal- Okay, that is awesome. I love bringing in a mashup of parts, in a wadded up ball in my hands, and being all, "Okay, I need you to replace this!" As long as it's the right part, it works! Love it.