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Listen to the Universe, or Give Up When Things Get Tough?


Tonight was supposed to be one for the ole' memory bank. Ever since the pandemic gripped our lives, live concerts haven't really been something I put a lot of focus on. Which, for me, is very strange. I'm the kid that grew up going to any and every concert I could physically make it to. Some friends playing in a garage? I'm there. American Idol Tour with Adam Lambert? Give me those nosebleeds. Blindside is gonna be a Juanitas for a 3rd time? I'll stop for food on the way. But tonight was going to be my first big show since the pandemic and it was going to be a band that literally GOT me through the pandemic- Falling In Reverse. Back up 10 days ago.


I could tell the second the air began to get 1º warmer. "I think the air conditioner is going out." Of all the times in my life I wish I was wrong, this was definitely one of them. Within the next 2 hours the house went from 73º to 80º. Our air had, in fact, gone out. Being that this happened on a Saturday I knew I'd have to wait until at least Monday morning to get someone to come out.


Go forward 2 days.


My new (to me) truck was already having to go to the shop with some pretty major issues. On the way to drop the truck off I enjoyed the last little bit of air conditioning I'd be around for a while. Then I headed to the first of many Monday morning meetings. "Can you meet us there in 20 minutes?" The first a/c company to pop up on google was calling me back and could already come out to look at it. I took this as a good sign; I would grow to regret this. A few hours later and we were $13,000 in debt (but thanks, Wells Fargo, for the new a/c unit) and going to remain un-airconditioned until at least the end of the week.

Go forward 2 days.


Got my truck back! All warning lights were absent from the dash and the steering wheel no longer pulled to the right like its life depended on it. Success. One major thing is fixed. Now for the second major thing.


Go forward 2 days.


"Your equipment is in and we're ready to set up an appointment for install." If only they had an appointment for 6 days in the past, that'd have been great. Monday will do.


Go forward 1 day.

Oops. I broke my watch. I suppose bad things happen in 3's.


Go forward 2 more days.


The house was now steadily at a muggy 86º and my take-one-for-the-team wife, Nik, sat in that heat box while all the sweaty men scurried around her removing and replacing our a/c units. After about 5 hours of work they seemed to be done and they left the house. Second major thing fixed! When I returned home to our new, freshly cooled house I felt something was... off. That's weird, after the air being on for 4 hours the house should be cooler than 79º.


Go forward 3 hours.


Second major thing not fixed. The air isn't working. Time to use that fancy "chat" option on their site. "Yeah, hi. We just had a brand new, very expensive, unit installed earlier today and now nothing will turn on and it didn't cool anything off. Send someone asap. Please."


Go forward 4 hours. Guess we'll tough it out and sleep in the heat, it's not the end of the world. They'll fix it tomorrow and all of this will be a silly (cruel) memory.


Next day around 4pm.


Super nice guy arrives to fix the issue. He works for nearly 2 hours while I work on some campaign designs and materials. After he's done crawling around up in the attic and making Amper bark incessantly, the thermostat kicks on and he explains that the drains were installed wrong. So, the drip pan was completely full of water and the safety cut off drain thingy kept it from spilling over. But now everything is fixed and there should be no more issues. Second major thing fixed! Again!


Time to leave for concert. We're now late due to a/c man.


I'm ready to jump in the truck, snack on some strawberry mini wheats, and make our way to Little Rock to sit in the heat (the kind we chose to subject ourselves to) and watch some different sweaty men scurrying around the stage singing songs for us. One of those men will be Ronnie Radke. Good thing I gassed up recently and we can just head for the interstate.


Engine light comes on in truck.


"Uh, are you fucking kidding me?"


Low tire light comes on.


"What is happening?!"


First major thing not fixed, after all. I just want to go to this show. Is that so much to ask? I need a "get away", just some downtime to listen to live music. Maybe we can borrow my dad's truck to go to the show? Affirmative. As we jumped in my dad's truck I made a joke about how if any lights come on in his truck I'll just... give up. Well, just as we approached Plumerville A LOW TIRE LIGHT COMES ON. I honestly didn't know if my brain was playing tricks on me or if the Good Lord Above™ was trying to make us miss the show. At this point I felt really uncomfortable ignoring the universe and its repeated attempts at thwarting our date with Ronnie. I decide to turn around and hope for another show in the not-too-distant future that we can attend. Maybe even inside. With air conditioning.


When we pull back in the driveway and hop out of the truck a lady across the street calls over to us. "Hey, honey! I'll give you some money. Could you help?" We've lived in this house for over a year and those neighbors had never really said much to us. "You don't have to pay me, but I can definitely help!" A big head of cauliflower had decided to hide from her in the back of her van. She couldn't get to it, she was 78 years old, in her night clothes, and I figured rescuing this cauliflower was a pretty easy feat for me. After saving said cauliflower from a heat filled demise I realized they needed even more groceries carried in. She was trying to help out her brother, who was 80, and standing on the porch trying to carry in the rest of his bags. What took me a whole 5 minutes to pick up and deliver to the kitchen filled them both with such relief that I immediately saw why the universe kept wanting us to turn around and not go to that show. Plus, I got to meet my neighbors. And she got to pet Max, the corgi. Wins all around!


"That right there is why you listen to the universe." I said to Nik, with a happy heart and sweaty back. She gave me a big, uneasy grin. "Right? Oh, um, I think the air conditioning is broken again."


*deep breath*

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