Thursday, February 4, 2010

We now have four working air puffers

On Tuesday I caught a cold and on Wednesday I felt really bad. I was so crook I couldn’t eat and had a drover’s breakfast instead.

It has been really cold in the apartment lately – mainly because our air conditioning doesn’t work – and never has – despite numerous visits by men with screwdrivers. I know this doesn’t give you a cold but it doesn’t help much.

I asked Rozalin for help and she rang the building people and asked them to send someone straight away. I think she might have been a bit terse with them because she is as sick of our air conditioning as we are. She may have mentioned the pieces of cardboard which were inserted eons ago – and said that they had stopped working.

I was prompted to act by the fact that of the four air conditioners in the lounge room – only one works by grudgingly squeezing out tepid air – and it has started to make gruesome screeching and grinding noises. I thought to myself – if that one goes it’s all over – we will all have to sit on the heated bathroom floors with the cats. Fortunately there are three bathrooms so there is no danger of overcrowding.

The four air conditioners in the lounge room are gigantic. Each one is the size of a Volkswagen Golf (but squarer and longer) and are mostly ineffective. They are useful only for standing ornaments on and we use them at Christmas to display our numerous Owls and Polar Bears. We also keep books and vases on them – or used too until Sissi broke all the vases.

The man with the screwdriver (MWS) who came to fix the air-conditioning was the same man who came to not fix the air conditioning last time. What he did last time was take some bits away and say that he would order new parts and be back one day (Yeh right!). I have heard that before from with the men with the cardboard.

He is a lovely young man who speaks very good English – but doesn’t – and insists on explaining the technicalities of air conditioning problems to me in German. I nod wisely and ask questions like ‘wann?’ and ‘wie langer?’

Anyway – I had prayed last night to the Blessed Mary MacKillop (I have heard about the good work she has done so thought I would give it a try) and - Stiffen the Lizards – WMS fixed it. Now all four air conditioners puff (blow is too strong a word) out tepid (warm is too strong a word) air.

This is a major advance from having them puff out cold air. I could ask why it has taken six visits to achieve this but it would be churlish of me to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Now the screeching, grinding air conditioner is heading towards a major collapse but that leaves us with three puffers which may get us through winter. The problem will be of course that – having now been set on warm puff – the units will be impossible to get off warm puff in summer and we will need to get them changed to cold puff.

For the time being we are basking in the warmth and planning a celebration.

MWS said that one of the units has some serious problems and will have to be completely overhauled. He will order new parts (cardboard?) and call me when they arrive. (Yeh right!).


  1. I hope you are better soon mate.
    My central heating was crook when I got home and a MWS was round in an hour (on a Sunday to boot) and fixed it in moments (for free, under a maintenance insurance plan). Admittedly only a fuse needed replacing and that made me wonder if there are more useful professions than biology.

  2. I am so sorry you caught a cold (Avian Cold from the ducks?)

    Regarding the air conditioners, this may well be a problem of inexperience: Who else in Wien has air conditioners? I would go directly to the manufacturer - wherever they may sit on this planet - and demand that they make sure to send you a competent service-repair person (and if they have to airlift their head technician from China!). I did that with Miele in Washington, DC and it worked (I was one of the first people to buy a German Miele, a very very reliable brand, field-tested by generations of my family back in Europe, but the first models could not cope with Washington's chlorinated water). Exhausted by the inexperience of the local service people, I phoned the American headquarter in New Jersey and that resulted in their sending me their head technician with parts - and in the end a new machine. I still love Miele. ;-)

  3. You have heated bathroom floors? Wow. I would lie down on them and never get up.