Monday, December 29, 2008

I'm Sick, the Furnace is Kaput, There's a Storm Coming: but Other Than That, Things are Fine!

Let's see: I drove #2 daughter and her boyfriend down to St. Cloud last Thursday, and saw them off at the airport.

First leg of the journey, outbound from St. Cloud, Minnesota.

Then, the hour-long drive back to Sauk Centre. Since it was Christmas Day, there were a lot of empty parking lots near the Interstate.

By Friday evening, I was feeling distinctly below-par. Enough so that I didn't grill lunch Saturday or Sunday. Or go to Mass on Sunday.

Sunday morning, the family was dressed and ready to go, we went to the garage, tried to open the door - and it wouldn't budge. That's not quite accurate. It may have moved a thirty-second of an inch or so, but that was it.

No problems. #1 daughter's car was parked on the street north of the house, so she and I went out the front door to fetch it. I got as far as the edge of the front stoop, when something about the ice - and the way I was feeling - told me that staying in was prudent.

Turns out I was right.

I went out this afternoon, since there were prescriptions and groceries to get. My wife is feeling worse than I am, and it gave me a chance to take some pictures. I went to Wal-Mart for one set of prescriptions, then to Coborn's. That's when I noticed that I didn't have the shopping list with me.

Back into the van. I backtracked my route: particularly where I'd opened the door to get a photo of the new Ace Hardware place. No card with writing on it.

Into Wal-Mart, and a brisk walk to the pharmacy. Which, by that time, was closed. They take a late lunch break, which is great for people picking something up during a more conventional noon break.

For me, those lowered gratings weren't what I wanted to see.

However, they'd left the shopping list within inches of where I set it down - on a counter that's outside the barriers. Happy days.

Back to Coborn's, where I got more-or-less what my wife had written down. I'm told that it was close enough.

Then home and into the garage. (Good news - the door works now.) The family had been busy: my route to the inside door was blocked. So, outside and around to the front door, carrying about half the groceries.

Once inside, I shambled to the kitchen, set the groceries on the floor, and mumbled something about potatoes still being in the van, and my not feeling like getting them.

My temperature's now above 101: so at least I've got a good excuse for feeling the way I do.

Furnace Failure and a Storm Coming: It Could be Worse

By the time I got downstairs this morning, my wife had determined that the furnace was on the fritz, called the company that handles maintenance for that unit, and learned that they'd have someone out within eight hours.

She also had the kids moving electric heaters into position.

She obviously had the situation well in hand, so I stayed out of the way. The rest of the day was a sort of Good News / Bad News scenario:
  • Good News
    The technician showed up well before the eight hours was up
  • Bad News
    The part that failed isn't available locally
    • Or in this part of the state
  • Good News
    The part seems to be under warranty
  • Bad News
    Without that part, it's downright dangerous to run the furnace
  • Good News
    The technicians (a second one showed up, later) found the part, and are having it shipped out here
  • Not-So-Good News
    If we're "really, really, lucky," the part will be here Wednesday
    • If we're "lucky," it'll be here Friday
That's the way my wife described the odds of our having a working furnace this week.

Right now, my wife's distribution of electric heaters has kept the house quite habitable, and we have yet to pop a circuit breaker.

#3 daughter has a layered look with a hooded jacket, leg warmers, and a scarf on the outside. Even my son is wearing a sweater. So am I, of course.

There's a "winter weather advisory" for tomorrow, and we could get up to a half-foot of snow tomorrow. That's actually good news, since if it accumulates on the roof we'll have a bit of extra insulation. The (by my standards wimpy) 13-mile-an-hour wind might drift the snow up against the house a little, too.

This reminds me of the Good Old Days - and why I'm so glad that I don't have to live there.

Finally, we got a call from #2 daughter and her fiance, down in Louisiana. After my wife touched base, I talked with him - and have a project to get done.

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