Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Helping to make this world better, one furnace at a time ...

The bad news is my furnace is indeed kaput. Like the inexplicably popular mean girl in high school, it's pretty on the outside but rotten on the inside. It's a long story, which begins many years ago when the thing was first installed. Badly, it seems. Apparently, you can install a furnace in such a way as to slightly impede the flow of air through the hot bits so that they actually end up being a bit too hot. Huh. What a thing. Turns out, getting too hot on a regular basis is bad for the hot bits. They could crack. And cracked hot bits are bad.

I suppose the best way to consider it is that I'm lucky I found out before carbon monoxide eventually started spewing out and killing me slowly. Reminds me of the time when a couple I knew were feeling sick and tired and headachey for a few days, thinking they were both getting the flu. Then their cockatiel keeled over and they realized it was carbon monoxide. (The bird survived. They took it to the hospital with them and the nurses set up a little oxygen tent for it in a closet.)

Funny thing is, the cracked bits weren't what had made my furnace not work. That was a burned out air-induction motor. (Or something like that. I don't know. I only just learned about furnace innards, so my lingo may be off somewhat.) But the technician guy started saying "this isn't right ... that way this is installed ... the air can't be moving correctly through this thing ..." and whatnot, until he finally said "I need to look at that heat exchange unit because if you're going to spend $400 or so on a motor, I want to be sure the furnace is worth it."

I started thinking "No! Looking for trouble is bad! See no evil! Don't go in there! Oh nooooooooo!" But I just stood there ... well, crouched there because it was the crawly part of the basement ... and felt the dread growing.

Anyway, blah blah blah, lots of anguish and advice and estimates later, I'm getting a new furnace on Friday. And I'll qualify for federal tax credits for being so dang energy-efficient, too. And PSNC will give me a $100 credit on my gas bill, which will presumably be a little lower because of all the efficiency that will be going on around here. And I will use less energy or create less pollution or both or whatever, officially making me a Better Person. Yay me.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Boring beats bad any day

Things were going swimmingly. Too swimmingly. I couldn't even think of anything to blog about because my mind was all "La la la la la, life is fine." Things were a tad on the boring side, but I've learned that can be a good thing, or if not, a condition easily alleviated with books and Netflix ...

Then I went to see my mum in Myrtle Beach for the weekend (she's fine, it all went fine and I bought a bag of toy plastic pirates). When I got home, I found the house a bit chilly. About 56 degrees ... but I had it set at 60 ... why hadn't the furnace kicked on?

I tried to get it to come on by turning the thermostat up to 70. Nope. I switched it from "auto" to "on." The fan came on, but it was blowing cold air. Feck. The damn thing's broken.

But maybe not! I've been trying to stay optimistic lately, so I tried to come up with happier scenarios. Maybe the pilot light just went out! I once lived in a crappy cheap apartment in Wisconsin with a three million-year-old furnace that had a dodgy pilot light, and I was always having to trudge down to the basement to re-light it if I wanted heat. Which was always, because it was Wisconsin, for crissakes. What a pain in the ass that was. I'm not sure what about that memory caused me to be optimistic, but it did.

So I headed down to inspect the furnace, fully realizing that a good homeowner would have had someone out to look at it back in September before it got cold. Oh well. Too late now. In fact, I'd never even taken a really good look at the furnace before, mostly because it's in the inconvenient, gravel-floored crawly part of the basement, not the convenient concrete-floored standy/walky part. That's what you pay a home inspector to do when you buy, right? He had said it looked great, so I just left it to do its job, which it knows better than I do. Why micromanage? (Yeah, I know why ... shutup, OK?)

Well wow, my furnace really is nice, as far as furnaces go! Way nice compared to the old Wisconsin furnace. I figured out how to get the openy part open, but there was no pilot light to be seen. There was, however, an instruction and warning sticker, mounted sideways and difficult to read. But I read it and learned that my furnace has a fancy new-fangled self-lighting pilot. Easy breezy, I thought, I'll just follow the instructions and get her going again.

The instructions involved walking back upstairs (through the outdoors, as my basement is exterior-access), turning off the power to the furnace, turning the thermostat all the way down, going back to the basement, turning the gas control to "off," waiting five minutes, turning it back on, going back upstairs, restoring power and turning the thermostat up again. Fine, I figured, it's not a pain in the ass if it works and saves me a repair call.

It didn't work. I even did it twice just in case I hadn't held my mouth right the first time. So now I'm waiting for the repair guy to call and hoping it ends up being some small, easily replaced part. Surely a furnace so nice and pretty wouldn't need to be replaced altogether. What would I do if I found out I needed a new furnace? Maybe move to Mexico where life is warm and cheap ...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

This is where I would put the title if this post had one

One time a friend (Let's call her Lisa, because that's her name, but it's not that Lisa, I mean, it's not the Lisa I refer to here sometimes as "the other Lisa," it's still another Lisa) told us (meaning some other friends and I) that she dreamed we had gotten her a birthday cake depicting a fire hydrant with the message "Have a Hound Dog Good Birthday." So of course, guess what we did for her birthday ...

So anyway, woo, today's my birthday. That's another thing Facebook is good for ... it tells people (some people ... not me, or at least I don't know how to get it to tell me) when it's their friends' birthdays. So it seems like people remember me but really Facebook tells them what to do.

Also, Star 102.9 FM, a radio station somewhere in New Mexico, sent me an email wishing me happy birthday. Maybe Facebook told them.

Also also, I completely forgot to not, as I do every year, to not my blogiversary. Six years ago last Monday I started this here little bloggy thingie. Yeah, I know, so what ...

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

If I could write you a song it would be about food

Sometimes the uneventful life is the good life. But occasionally I like having some small something to rant about.

Saturday night I got zero trick-or-treaters. But I know they were out and about because I could hear people talking and laughing as they down my street. I have no idea why they didn't stop at my house. I had a light on in the screen porch, which is the entry I use for my house (and the easiest one to reach from the driveway.) Isn't that supposed to indicate that you're there and have candy to give? There was, however, no light over the front door, which I never use. That light burned out a while back and I never bothered to replace it. Maybe that kept them away?

So next year I'll do one of two things: A) put some sort of lanterns down the driveway to indicate that yes, I'm Halloween-friendly, or B) don't buy any fucking candy. I'm thinking B might be easiest. I wasn't really that upset about not having to get up and give out candy and deal with excited barking dogs over and over again.

Whilst awaiting the trick-or-treaters who stood me up, I made a pizza. I used a different crust recipe, which resulted in a really good thin and crispy crust. It would have been a fabulous pizza if I hadn't put too much basil on it. I didn't even know it was possible to have too much basil but, yes, it really is. I took a photo but the photo sucked. It wasn't an exceptionally photogenic pizza.

But my boots photographed very well:

superhero boots