Tuesday, October 25, 2005

That Will Be About $3,000, And Have a Nice Day

Here is a homeowner's tip. When the man from the heating company, who has come to do a routine inspection, comes up from the basement and says, "Ma'am, would you come down here a minute, I'd like to show you something," do not go in the basement!!! Nothing good will come from following this so-called "technician." You go down there, and the next thing you know you'll be hearing words like "efficiency," "BTU," and "unsafe condition." The kicker comes when the guy says he can't leave your furnace on under these conditions; followed by, this is a very busy time of year and we can't get to you until the first week in December. Then he looks right at me, as though I can possibly think this is somehow fine, and says, "You might want to get some space heaters."

Space heaters!!! Flash to all of us standing in the yard at 3 a.m., posing for the news crew in our pajamas, as we watch the fire department try to put out the fire that the space heaters started. Harper is too young to understand stop, drop and roll, or to even tell us, "Hey, my curtains are engulfed in flames in here!" So I find myself not thrilled at the prospect of heating our home this way for a month or more. Yes, I know, these things are much safer than they used to be, but still. Not having a working furnace seems like something that you should have to deal with for a couple of days, at most! Aren't there heating technicians somewhere that work seasonally, you know, back-ups they bring in for the busy season? Kind of like accountants who do extra work during tax season. . .

To make it even more fun, Harper is in the basement with me during all this, writhing in my arms. She would like to get down and crawl on the basement floor (yuck), but I'm so busy looking for the cracks in our heat exchange with a system involving a flashlight, long mirror, and laser pointer, that I can't really watch to make sure she doesn't eat any dead bugs.

Did I mention it's cold enough right now that snowflakes fell from the sky yesterday afternoon? (Fortunately this is just a cold snap and it should be a little less frigid in a day or two.)

Honestly, as I type this, I think I can feel the temperature dropping. So even though I am annoyed and a little bit panicked that we now need a new furnace and will have to huddle together for warmth in the evening (ohmygosh, and what about the pipes freezing?), I'm also really grateful for this house, even if it's falling apart, because I cannot imagine what it would be like to be homeless and trying to stay warm. So thank you God, for our walls, at least we won't have a wind-chill factor to deal with.

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