Dumbass Award

Today was going to be the first of my People posts, but this came up, and I just had to do it. I’ll start the People series Friday with a post about the couple who runs my favorite restaurant.

Today I’m awarding myself the Dumbass of the Year Award. So far as I know, this is a brand new award, and there may never be another. Or, I may win it again next year. Who knows. 

When I woke up yesterday morning, everything seemed to be okay. Even when we left for Sunday School about 8:45, neither of us noticed anything out of order.

After Sunday School, I helped wash the coffee urns and clean up the kitchen, as usual, and then we went to Furr’s Cafeteria for lunch, again as usual. Continuing our normal routine, we went to my mother’s assisted living home to visit her after lunch.

By the time we got home, it was probably 1:00 or so, and we both noticed it seemed a bit warm in the house. I checked the thermostat and found it set on its normal setting, but the temperature in the house was several degrees about the setting. Even Sharon, who rarely complains about heat, had to pull up a fan and direct it on herself.

As the afternoon went on, the heat climbed to 83, 84 . . . finally topping out at 86 degrees. Somewhere in there, I realized the air coming out of the vents was warm. Something was definitely wrong.

I’m neither an electrical engineer nor a handyman, but I did know it wouldn’t be good on the compressor to leave it running under these circumstances, so I turned the air conditioning completely off and turned the unit to fan only. Then we called our air conditioning repair guy. He confirmed I was right to turn off the compressor and told us he’d be out today around 1:00 to see what was wrong.

We spent the rest of the day getting more and more miserable. At bedtime, I placed a portable fan on my chest of drawers blowing down onto the bed to augment the very good ceiling fan we always have on in warm weather. At 86+ neither of us felt very good trying to get to sleep.

Age has not hampered Sharon’s sleep like it has mine. She usually gets to sleep fairly fast and, except for a bathroom interruption, sleeps through the night. She even gets back to sleep easily after the bathroom.

Between the pain in my shoulders and my tendency for one nostril or the other to become stopped up, I spend much of every night awake. Last night was even worse than usual, due to the heat.

After spending the first half of the night alternating between cursing the air conditioner and drifting into fitful bursts of shallow sleep, I began thinking more seriously about what might be wrong, or what might be the cause of what was wrong. That’s when I had my first rational thought on the subject.

Memory crept in of how Saturday night, fumbling in the dark to try to turn on the circuit breaker for the hot tub, I’d flipped the wrong switch first. Then I’d fumbled with every other switch in the breaker box until I finally got the hot tub turned back on.

Could I have turned off power to the air conditioner compressor? I didn’t know, because I’ve never actually known what switches controlled its power. I didn’t even know if it had its own separate circuit. Wouldn’t lights fail to function in that area of the house if circuit breaker was turned wrong?

After lying there trying to figure that out for awhile, I finally decided a rational person would probably get up and investigate. I turned the thermostat back to air conditioning and went outside to see if the compressor was working. I even thought to turn the burglar alarm off before I opened the back door. My neighbors would not have appreciated hearing it go off at 3:45 in the morning.

When I got out on the patio, I couldn’t hear the compressor. I walked across the yard to look at it, and sure enough, it was sitting still and silent.

When I went back onto the patio and looked at the breaker box, I could see that two of the breakers were turned off. As soon as I flipped them on, I heard the turning of the compressor fan.

Back inside the house, I could feel cool air coming out of the vent. It took the rest of the night to get the temperature back to normal in the house, but we were able to call the a/c guy and cancel the service call. I’d caused us a very uncomfortable 18 hours or so, but at least I hadn’t cost us a $100 service call. I can just imagine the guy grinning all the way to the bank with our $100 after flipping two little circuit breakers.

Now I suppose I’ll have to go to the doctor about this dent I put in my forehead from slapping myself. Oh, well.

What’s the closest you’ve come to winning the prestigious Dumbass of the Year Award? We want details.


WANA: We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.


For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.


About David N. Walker

David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years in the health insurance industry, during which time he traveled much of the United States. He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers' groups. Christianity 101: The Simplified Christian Life, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella series, Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats, as well as through Smashwords and Kobo. See information about both of these by clicking "Books" above.
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12 Responses to Dumbass Award

  1. Thankfully you figured out what was wrong. Isn’t it amazing. I grew up without air-conditioning and our barn had air-conditioning before our house did. It all had to do with the practicality of livestock being a valuable commodity. I can not imagine living without air-conditioning now. Ours went out a few years ago in an electrical storm and we without air for 10 days before the repair people could get to us. We were not happy. We’ve become spoiled.


  2. Yatin says:

    Your smart enough to see your own mistakes, there are some who are not privileged with that insight deserving even bigger award! 🙂


  3. You caught your own mistake… That’s something. My most recent dumbassery happened while at dinner the first night in Savannah. We’d decided to split the checks into 3rds since there were three of us. My gal pal had pulled her phone to calculate an approximation of what each of our tabs would be…only I misheard her and thought she said she was calculating the tip. Our checks came…about $32 a piece…which is what my friend had said. Except instead of paying attention, I as dividing 32+ by 3 in my head and gave the young lady a $12 tip. Oops. My sis and friend laughed hysterically at me. I told my friend not to tip her as I took care of that for both of us.


  4. Barb Estinson says:

    Sharon is much kinder than I am. I am giggling as I imagine your misery in all the heat, and your brilliant realization at 3:45 am. Sorry about that dent in your forehead! I’d laugh even harder if I didn’t qualify for competing with you for the dumbass award …. for instance, the time I backed Joe’s van out of the garage without noticing how close the driver’s side was to the garage door frame, and ripping off the mirror on the driver’s side. Neither Joe nor I was pleased about that. I did somewhat redeem myself by finding a replacement mirror online for much less than buying one at the dealer would have cost. The neighbor even installed it for us.


  5. Sharon K. Walker says:

    Don’t feel like a dunce. At least you discovered your error and corrected it before the a-c man came. If you hadn’t, you’d have received another dent in your head.


  6. JM Randolph says:

    I think you totally saved the day by
    figuring it out within 24 hours. Two weeks ago, we came home from work at midnight and the outside temp had dropped to 67. Inside, both the heating and AC were duking it out for our money (separate systems).


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