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I woke up this morning and the house was cold. Cold, and silent except for the sound of the cats and the hum of my laser printer in power save mode.

I'm sure everyone who has ever owned a home feels an empathetic sick, sinking feeling in the pit of their stomach just about now.

I called the HVAC people. They sent out a nice young man named Chris. His nametag helpfully informed me that he'd been both tested for drugs and undergone a background check. (They also e-mailed me his picture in advance, I suppose so a person posing as an HVAC technician couldn't get into my house and monkey around with my broken furnace.)

Chris, with Loki close by, ready to assist him at a moment's notice, fixed the furnace-not-turning-on problem very quickly. Unfortunately, he also found another problem.

"Look in this hole. See where I'm shining my light?"


"See how this little tiny ring is missing from that aperture?"


"That means your furnace is trying to kill you."

Okay, that last thing is not actually what he said. Rather, he told me that it was the symptom of a badly cracked heat exchange, and that if it was that badly cracked, my furnace might start filling my house with carbon monoxide at a moment's notice. So effectively, that last statement is what I heard.

That is why, the day before leaving the country for Christmas, we now only have about $500 in our savings account. I guess the good news is that we were saving all of that money for a new car next year, so we had it on hand to pay for a new furnace. The bad news is that we no longer have that money for acquiring a new car. But hopefully the faithful old steed will keep limping along while we try to rebuild our savings.

Chris brought in an electrician, who looked around and within five minutes found over $6,000 worth of reasons my house is not up to building code. Thankfully most of that can be ignored until I've managed to sell a kidney on the black market, several years from now. The stuff actually related to the furnace he took care of today, and the price seemed very reasonable in comparison to the number he quoted for, say, replacing my electrical panel, which comes direct from the 70s and is chock full of aluminum wiring. As far as I can tell, the sole purpose of aluminum wiring is to set houses on fire.

The new furnace will be installed tomorrow morning. Chris the Technician put a brand new carbon monoxide detector in that will warn us if the furnace tries to kills us, so that we can use tonight to prevent ourselves from freezing to death.

I guess I'm glad that this happened now, after I did all my Christmas shopping. It means all of our friends are getting nicer presents than a candy bar, or a used bookmark that Tengu has chewed up. I've now managed to take in enough alcohol that I no longer feel like screaming hysterically.

Santa, if this is how it's going to be this year, I just can't wait to see what surprises you have in store for me at the airport.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 22nd, 2010 07:14 pm (UTC)
Oh man, at least you guys won't die! But it is rough not to have a lot of money when you are traveling. Crossing my fingers your flight is without trouble!

Merry Christmas to you and your husband!

Dec. 22nd, 2010 07:45 pm (UTC)
It seems to have become traditional for some home appliance at my parents' to fail over Christmas.
Dec. 22nd, 2010 08:18 pm (UTC)
hey, you _have_ a savings account =P

my transmission died on my 2001 civic (apparently a common problem with that model year. design problem with those trannies). with the other maintenance it needed, cost $4.2K. had to take a loan on my 401K =(
Dec. 22nd, 2010 09:01 pm (UTC)
That is scary as hell. Do you have a carbon monoxide detector? I never did until a couple of years ago when our pediatrician ordered us to get one.
Dec. 22nd, 2010 09:04 pm (UTC)
One of our smoke detectors is also a carbon monoxide detector, and there's the one that Chris left with us as well. So hopefully that will keep us alive until the furnace gets replaced tomorrow.
Dec. 22nd, 2010 09:05 pm (UTC)
Well, give us a call if you need to get out of the house quickly or anything!
Dec. 22nd, 2010 11:04 pm (UTC)
Ugh, that's awful! *hugs*

(Ours went in November, but at least it was before things got really cold).
Dec. 23rd, 2010 12:31 am (UTC)
I'm sorry, that sounds really awful. On a side note, you should message me if you'll be spending a while in Europe, maybe we could meet up!
Dec. 23rd, 2010 01:19 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, we're only going to be in the UK until January 1, so once again I don't have much moving around time. Hopefully next year Mike will have another week of vacation so we can spend more time overseas and maybe get outside of one small area in the UK. (Also, there is a possibility I may be in Germany for a week next fall... that mostly depends on if my adviser can find the funding to send me over there with the cores we're drilling this summer.)
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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