Wednesday, January 8, 2014

This has NOT been my week!

So, as you may remember, I had to wait two days to get my sewer cleaned out. Then it took the rest of Saturday and some of Sunday to clean up the mess in the house.

Monday I was snowed in with 13 inches of snow (I measured it) in the driveway until my neighbor dug me out.

So, today, I noticed the bulb had burned out in the downstairs shower. Okay, I can change that when I get the time. I got ready and prepared to head out in the -13 degrees F. weather. I put the last kitchen trash bag in the trashcan (which was already out to the road) while I let the car warm up. Then I headed into work.

The drive in wasn’t too bad (if you went slowly). At lunch, I didn’t want to make that ride again, so I went to Time Out and had a mediocre grilled ham and cheese sandwich.

But, riding back home after 5:00 p.m. was horrible. The sun came out just enough in the afternoon so some of the snow melted and then refroze. According to the car, it was -1 degrees outside. I sat through the light at Plymouth Road and Farmington for about eight times! It was just a sheet of ice and everybody was afraid to move (I was too!) It took over 30 minutes to get home (it’s usually an 11 minute trip) but I made it!

First thing I noticed was that none of the trash had been picked up. That’s okay, I understand. It’s too cold to work outside.

Inside, I treated the cats and then took off my coat. I thought, “Damn, it’s chilly in here” and went to turn up the heat. That’s when I saw it was 52 degrees and the furnace wasn’t working!

Not to worry, I have a protection plan on the furnace and the hot water heater from DTE that I pay on every month. So, I called the 800 number. “Due to the high number of calls, the average wait time is 30 minutes.” And it damn near was.

While I waited, I turned on the electric heater in my fireplace. It’s not enough to heat the house, but I thought I could slow the cold.

I finally talked to a woman, gave her my information and she said she’d call the local furnace repair partner. I was put on hold. She finally came back and said they were closed for the day, but she left a message. The earliest they might get here would be after 8:00 a.m. TOMMORROW!

This is not the night for this…

So, after we hung up, (she did tell me to try and stay warm), I went and got the propane heater from the garage. This saved my pipes a few years ago when I lost power at Christmas time. But it was normal winter temps then, not this shit!

I got it fired up and set up downstairs where it wouldn’t catch anything on fire. I thought since I didn’t really want to do too much (the cold has been bothering my leg and back), I could at least replace the shower light bulb. So, I did that. Since it’s in a shower, it’s waterproof. While trying to reach up and screw the elaborate cover back on, I stripped a screw! Now I need to buy a new fixture…

That was it! I quit!!! At least I thought I did…

I opened up the doors under the sink and turned the kitchen fan on low to push the heat down. I used the last of the egg salad to make a sandwich for dinner. Then I put an extra blanket on the bed, slipped on some thick sweatpants, sweatshirt, warm socks and settled in for the night.

Then my cubical buddy Michelle from work called. She and her husband Scott were at Bass Pro Shop. Now what you may not know is that Scott owns a heating and cooling company. He asked me what kind of furnace it was and I said a Carrier. He said he knew just what was wrong and would talk me through it. Unfortunately, Michelle’s phone kept breaking up, so I missed the name of it (so let’s just call it a gizmo). He said if he was home, he’d take a picture of it so I would know exactly what he was talking about.

He called me back on his phone and told me to take it off, wipe it off, tap it a couple of times on the side of the furnace and then put it back in. I let him go so I could get some tools. Sure enough, I saw what he described (or I thought I did). So I did what he said. It took a while to get off, but I finally got it. I wiped it off and then tapped it on the furnace. It shattered!

I called him back (I didn’t want to but I said I would) and told him what happened. He said, “Oh, no! You took off the igniter, not the gizmo!” He said he would come down and fix it tonight and not charge me. I said, “Thanks, but that’s too far (they live in Waterford) and I got people coming tomorrow that I pay each month to repair it.” I explained I was safe and warm, the house was okay and I really appreciated his trying to help. But, there’s a reason I am a writer and not a furnace repairman.

And I must stress, I do appreciate his trying to help.

I climbed under the covers and watched TV for a while until I felt sleepy. Then I went to bed.


  1. I'm so sorry dad! I hope you stayed warm and hopefully things will turn around. If not you always have a home in SC!

  2. I may have to take you up on that! This place seems jinxed!!!

  3. Stick with more furnace repairs!!