Photo by a Hockey Puck
The hockey pucks sometimes call me “bougie” because we live in a large house in the Hamptons with nice things.
A house in a beach town requires a lot of bedrooms, beach towels and dishes to accommodate all our visiting hockey pucks, family, and friends. That’s why we have two washers and dryers, two ice makers (one under-the-counter, one in the freezer) and four air conditioner zones.
If you don’t know what bougie is, I’d say four AC zones and an under-the-counter ice machine defines it.
I would argue that I’m not bougie enough. I would love this column to be about my beach-front pizza oven, or the Wi-Fi in my Rolls, my Gulfstream’s coffee maker. And how, if those things broke, I had an underling for me to flick my hand at and say, “Underling, fix it.”
Instead, I’m going to complain about how in the past few weeks, one dryer, one ice machine and one AC zone broke. No jets for me. The bougiest sentence I’ve ever gotten to utter is, “There’s mold in our pool house.”
I’m lucky to have problems like these, but there’s no way around it: I’m the underling.
I know we say this every summer, but the Hamptons are more crowded than ever. I had to wait two weeks for an appointment with the ice machine and dryer repair people. When I called our HVAC company, they told me that since we haven’t used them in two years, they could no longer service us!
I nearly burst into tears.
Would I even be able to get another company to make the repairs? What would I tell my guests when they arrive to zone 4? Would they have to bunk with me and Mr. Hockey in zone 3? How will they handle Mr. Hockey’s snoring?
Incidentally, I handle the snoring by wearing wax ear plugs, yelling “Mr. Hockey! Stop snoring,” and sometimes placing a pillow over Mr. Hockey’s face. Ever so gently.
I couldn’t lose my HVAC guys, so I did the only thing I know how to do. Write.
I wrote the owner a snail-mail letter in which I begged them to come back because we had been loyal customers for 20 years (except for the past two years when we didn’t call because the AC wasn’t broken).
The letter worked! They agreed to come. We agreed to a yearly service contract so this never happens again. The pen is mightier than the sword. Or in this case, my HP OfficeJet 6978 is mightier than me screaming at the receptionist to speak to the manager.
I completely understand why our HVAC guy nearly dropped us. There are more people, more houses and therefore, more broken air conditioning units.
Kenny, the dryer/ice machine repair guy (we’re on a first name basis), arrived 45 minutes after his 8 am to 12 pm repair window. When I asked him if the traffic was bad, he nearly burst into tears. I know we say this every summer, but the traffic out here is worse than ever.
One afternoon last week, it took me over 20 minutes to drive from the King Kullen in Bridgehampton to Provisions in Watermill. During that 2.5 miles, I didn’t hit the gas once. It was less of a drive and more of a drift.
I can tell what you’re thinking: Tracy! Everyone knows you don’t drive from Bridgehampton to Watermill at 3:45 on a Tuesday just to buy organic coconut wraps. Rookie mistake! I couldn’t go earlier that day. I had been waiting for the dryer vent cleaner who was booked for the 11 am to 2 pm time slot.
As borne out by Kenny, it’s an unwritten rule that repair people will only arrive at the end or after of a three-hour window. Unless it’s a four-hour window.
I often joke about how difficult it is to make a left turn in the Hamptons in the summer. This might sound crazy, but I think it’s actually become easier. With the cars crawling in both directions, I can now edge my nose into the road, and someone will let me in. It’s as though the horrible traffic has sapped our collective will to be jerks.
This is my life. I wait. Wait on hold while someone books my repair appointment. Wait during the four-hour window for the repair man. Wait weeks for the replacement part to be shipped. Wait in another four-hour window for the repair man to return and install the new part. Wait to make a left so I can inch to Watermill and buy my bougie organic coconut wraps.
Tom Petty was right. The waiting is the hardest part.
A small miracle happened while I’ve been writing this column. The replacement fan for my ice machine and the new motor for my dryer arrived on my doorstep. Kenny will be back to repair both appliances in just over a week.
He told me it would take all morning. I’m planning to get him some Round Swamp cinnamon rolls and make a fresh pot of coffee. Then I’ll happily wait while Kenny fixes everything.
After which I’ll probably burst into tears of joy.
I’ll shed those tears until something else breaks. Did I mention the refrigerator is making a weird gurgling noise?
Published in The East Hampton Press on July 15, 2021