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The air conditioner in this house ticks and snaps and makes noises like faintly heard cymbals. We were concerned so we turned off the air conditioner. All I could think of was whether or not it was sparking and if it would start a fire. Each tick, snap or cymbal sound grabbed my attention. I am not used to worrying like that. I am not the nervous-Nelly type. I am far more the “heave to, we can do this” type.

The weather outside was in the 90s to the 100s.The weather inside was in the 80s to the 90s. We opened the windows and bought three new fans. We plugged them in and the hot air circulated around us like a convection oven. Sophie paced and panted. We sweated. I got scared that the extra fans would put too much strain on the electrical system and that it might cause a fire. I paced and panted.

Finally, after particularly restless night, we decided to call the air conditioner repair people. We did not so much expect a repair as for them to tell us if we were being silly or if it there were any problems with the air conditioner. We decided it was not a home repair thing but a people repair thing. I considered a psychotherapist but decided that they could help me know what I could do to reduce my reaction to sounds that made me think about fire but they could not tell me if the air conditioner was fine.

A very nice man came a few hours after we called. He reassured us that everything in the system was normal and functioning well. I was relieved but not convinced. Our dog Sophie was absolutely not convinced. One tick and under her tail went and she scurried off to another room. He told us that the ticks and snaps and cymbals were normal. We explained why we were concerned and he said he understood completely. He went back and showed us how the system worked and why it ticked, snapped and played the cymbals. A psychotherapist can help me understand why the ticks, snaps and cymbals were scary to me but the air conditioner repair man told me the sounds and my reaction to them was normal. I was relived and validated. Now, if I can just help Sophie know they are normal. Maybe my new-found confidence will transfer to her.