Thursday, July 13, 2017


It should have been an easy enough job, to replace the filter on the intake unit of our air conditioning system. Why pay a handyman to do a job when I could do it quickly for myself?

Well, I should have known better. I am no handyman. And I chose a bad time, with a whole group of artist friends arriving shortly for a potluck evening.

Not so easy, as I soon discovered. First, the panel that covers the intake vent was thoughtfully placed behind the bannister on the way downstairs. It couldn't be opened without removing--or, I thought, at least loosening the bannister, which is held in place by four small circular supports spaced about two feet apart. Each support is attached to the wall by three screws, spaced in a triangle around the center. Easy enough, I thought, to remove the screws and loosen the banister to gain access to the air vent panel.

Except... one of the three screws on each support was placed immediately behind the arm that held the bannister in place. I don't know how the people who installed it managed this miracle, but the Phillips screwdriver had to be held at a slant to get to the screw head, which meant that it kept slipping out as I tried to turn it. And the screws were not only tight, they were inordinately long. I was soon, I'll admit it, swearing like a trooper. And sweating. It was hot.

Then, once I finally had the bannister loose enough to open the panel and remove the old filter, I found that even then the access to the space behind to replace to with the new one was a narrow angle, barely wide enough to slip the filter through, let alone use an arm to set it properly in place. Also... the draft of air being drawn into the system was powerful enough to pull the new filter out of shape, making it impossible to seat it squarely in the slot designed to hold it.

By this time, I was in full frustration mode, becoming more furious with each attempt to get the bloody thing flat and firmly seated. I discovered that my meditation practice has not yet depleted my reserves of anger, nor developed the virtuous skill of patience. My language... well, let's just say it was fortunate that my five-year old grandson was not on hand to hear me. It was very far removed from my aspiration to Right Speech. I was soon yelling at Ellie to switch the whole system off, in order to stop the draft of air... why had I not thought of this before? And finally managed to get the filter flat and (approximately) placed where it was supposed to be.

Then came the need to return the misaligned screws and tighten them, and restore the bannister to its rightful place. Time had begun to close in on me, with our friends arriving shortly. And by this time I was badly in need of a shower, not to mention the restoration of my equanimity...

Ah, well. I learn, at least, that there is still much to learn!

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