So three years ago, the AC in my car stopped working. I took it in to get it recharged, and they said that my car had an out-of-date system and needed to be replaced to be legal. They told me this would cost around $800. So I've spent the last three summers with my windows down, telling myself that I would cough it up next year. Frankly, that's about as much as my car is worth, and I'm just too cheap when it comes to this stuff to spend that much money on just being comfortable.

Then last week, it went out on Alison's car, too. We both drive old Volvo's. Mine is a 1990 station wagon that is continually on the verge of meltdown, and hers is a '94 sedan that still seems almost new. But they're both old, and I assumed that if my car had an out-of-date AC system, then so did hers. It might not be worth it to fix the climate control on my car, but Alison's car has the baby seat in it, and that's the one we use for long trips, and frankly, I'm not so cheap that I'll make my wife and daughter drive around in the South with no air-conditioning. For the baby, that's downright dangerous.

WELL, thanks to our good friend the internet, I did a little research and found out that you can convert your system very easily, and very cheaply. They sell kits for like 50 bucks at every auto parts store in the country. So I bought two of them. This morning, I get up knowing I am about to be a hero by restoring the gift of frigidity to my sweltering family, only to see stickers all over the AC systems of BOTH cars telling me that they have already been converted.

Using the first kit I was able to recharge both cars in surprisingly little time, and with startling ease. On the way back to the auto store to get my money back for the second kit I begin to think two different thoughts.

1. Those people at the shop three years ago lied to me. They didn't have to redo my system. That was already done. They were going to charge me eight hundred bucks for thirty dollars worth of freon. Crooks.

2. I've wasted a lot of sweat. I have driven that car all over Nashville for three years in the heat, and could have fixed it so cheaply any time. Newman!!

Anyway, today I did a ton of errands, drove all over town, and felt like the happiest eskimo in the world. I mean, I had that thing cranked to the max. It was about 12 degrees in that car and I couldn't have been grinning any bigger.

So, the moral of the story is: um, well, I guess, it's... go to AutoZone and ask them first before you go to the shop. And if you have a Suburban that you would like to donate, my wife really wants one.

The End.