Summer in the Desert

We’ve always been told man has three basic needs: food, clothing, and shelter. Well, if you live in the desert, let’s make that four basic needs: food, clothing, shelter, and air conditioning, nice healthy air-conditioning that runs during 113 degree heat or higher.

My husband and I recently had the proverbial desert disaster. The air conditioner in our home failed during this worst of summers. The system was a builder-grade, 14 year-old installation that had been plugging along like a good scout and kept continuing to amaze us. We had our fingers crossed that it could keep hanging on. But the other day the dear thing gasped its last. Now what?


Our house felt like this, hot and abandoned, somewhere out in the Mojave Desert. (Courtesy of Pinterest)

It’s a good idea to have an air conditioning service in your contacts so you don’t have to find one under pressure and at the last minute. Fortunately, we did and called them. A two man crew came out, assessed the cadaver, shook their heads, and gave it last rights. We talked about the options and they all resulted in healthy dollar signs.

We chose our poison and the process was under way. The next morning three men arrived and like skilled surgeons went to work, for the next nine hours. Cloths were spread on the traffic route, care was taken to cover surfaces, care was taken not to damage walls. The team was up in the attic, outside at the air-conditioning unit, and out at their truck. Of course there was no air conditioning in the house. We were replacing everything. A whole new system. Did we wander off into the desert, addled by the heat?


Desert Near Palm Springs by Carl Eytel (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

No, like rats leaving a sinking ship, we holed up in our casita which has its own separate A/C unit, leaving periodically to check on the progress. The old equipment and the new equipment were unbelievably heavy and cumbersome. Out the old went and in came the new. The 113 degree heat didn’t care that this was back breaking work. The men drank Gatorade throughout the day. They had their pace and worked it. Periodically, we’d get a progress report.

After almost a nine hour marathon, the magic happened. The thermostat was installed, the screen “buttons” punched, and on came the air. Hallelujah. It proved a real piece of wizardry. It can be operated from the wall, from the computer, from the cell phone. It seems to do everything but talk and wish you good morning. Quite a change from the old thermostat that gave us the temp and the option for heat or cool.



Here’s the readout on the new thermostat. Check the snowflakes in the bottom left corner. They let you know the system is cooling. The temp has since been set to 78 degrees. So kudos to technology, but mostly kudos to those three guys who worked in the unforgiving heat, kept their cool, and got us back into the house and into the air conditioning.

We were saved from having to leave our marks to prove we had walked the earth, like petroglyph writers of days gone by. That we hadn’t melted into the sunset, that we hadn’t succumbed to a devastating malady – Failed Air Conditioning.


Joshua Tree Petroglyph (Courtesy of


About cmwriter

I'm a writer ... of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. I blog about writing, short stories, poetry, books, plays, and thoughts on life. Love reading and travel and being with friends!
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6 Responses to Summer in the Desert

  1. Glad you had the casita to dwell in! Thanks for the chuckle!

  2. Ruth Hill says:

    always like your mix of art with prose

  3. Kerry Peyton says:

    You ALMOST made it sound like fun. Of course in that neighborhood you had other choices in addition to the casita, but how nice to have that option without truly leaving home or the workers. It looks like a lovely new thermostat and I’m sure the AC unit is superior to the previous one. Hugs to both of you!

    • cmwriter says:

      Hi Kerry – Close up and personal, it wasn’t fun. But the result is great fun and very cool. I know you’re enjoying cooler climes and ocean breezes, nature’s A/C. Hugs back.

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