Fatherhood, in its most base form, is a position of protection. We are here to protect our family, just as the dominant lion is there to watch over his pride or the alpha male gorilla is there to protect his family, and scratch himself. And when we're unable to carry out our basic task, it's a wretched feeling. Such was the case tonight when I came home to find that our air conditioner was out. It was blowing, but it wasn't blowing cold and there was frost on the inside of the unit. The high today was 95, it's supposed to be 97 tomorrow. Now, I'm not a particularly useful man when it comes to electrical maintenance, though I believe myself to be at times. I did what I could, though. I took some of the unit apart and looked at it, stared at it, in fact. I jiggled some wires, cursed it, then put it back together, cleaned it out and turned it back on. Surprisingly, nothing. I'm as impotent as can be when it comes to things mechanical. So Kristy and The Quartet went out to her parents' house, which is way out east, but where the air blows cool, leaving me here to contend with the heat, and the sweet sound of silence. There is nothing to listen to now but the whirling of the ceiling fan above me. No one is here to say they don't want to go to bed, or they don't want to take a bath or they don't want to grant me a moment of peace. It's just me and the stillness and the cicadas.
I still need to deal with the air conditioner, and it should be a blast finding out what that costs on the Fourth of July weekend. But first, I'll need to fix the garbage disposal that stopped working yesterday (are they all connected?), because it seems a father's job is to guard his family and to mash food up so finely that it will flow through the pipes. Well, at least it will be unbearably hot as I crawl around under the kitchen sink with my bad back, making me feel even more like the father of four, I suppose. To top it all off, tomorrow is JP's birthday. He'll be five. I just hope that what he's been wishing for is a Badger 1/3 horsepower garbage disposal and a compressor (or whatever it may be) for a Goodman package unit.