Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What did not happen over the last 36 hours

When I came home from work on Monday, hoping to have some supper before we went to church, it was not to a scene of happiness.
The acrid chemical smell in the air led us to suspect a fire in the microwave oven, so my wife had called the Fire Department, who told us we should not stay inside. It was cold and my wife went into our neighbor's place across the street, while I did not.
Besides the four or five fire trucks there was a freelance photographer there and eventually a person from the gas company, who I did not speak to at first.

Once they took a look around, they opened the windows and doors, then brought in large industrial fans on extremely long extension cords to take away most of the fumes, while we waited, wondering what was happening. Eventually one of them told us that the gas furnace had overheated and had to be turned off and sprayed down with water to cool things off, and that it was not any problem with the microwave at all. I went in to look at the old furnace, which did not seem to be in very good shape after all this.
We ended up not making it to church that night. Also, we did not have much heat in the house except for a couple of small space heaters we set up.
The next morning, I stayed home to make some phone calls, hoping to find out whether our homeowner's insurance would provide any payout (it would not). A gas company representative came by and quickly determined that the boiler was shot and could not be repaired. We measured the size of the rooms and he based on a few other quantities, he determined that the old 200000 BTU input boiler was too large for the residence. Their quote on a new, smaller, modern gas boiler was not something I wanted to accept immediately though. I called other heating contractors in the area and the first couple could not set up appointments with me right away. One of them did come to visit, discuss what they could do, and agreed to set us up with a newer, even better, system, though not appreciably lower in price than the first quote. Since they could start right away, however, and in consultation with my wife, I agreed, drawing down heavily on a line of credit I had wanted to spare. The heating company spent the following ten hours pulling out the old unit and putting in the new 150000 BTU unit, finishing just shortly before midnight, a couple hours later than expected.

The brand-new boiler does not take up as much room in the basement as the old one. Even the heating guy admitted it is not the kind of big purchase you would care to show off to people, all that much. On the other hand, it should not attempt to run while dry the way the old one apparently did.
All this for a price which, had I paid them solely in dollar bills equal weight to this twelve-pack of soda, I would not have reached. I wrote two unpleasant checks, since I did not even have such a heavy stack of cash on hand. Were it not for the pictures they still need to take for the local permit application, I would be at work this morning.
Still, we witnessed no explosions and no fires raging out of control, nor freezing pipes and no one crushed by hundreds of pounds of cast iron.
Clarification: Everything did in fact happen, that's not what the title's referring to. I have simply cast all the facts as negative statements, in the spirit of Raymond Queneau's book Exercises in Style (the chapter called "Negativities"), perhaps in order to be contrary, perhaps not.

1 comment:

Rice Candy said...

Yikes! the first one looked scary. Glad you got it replaced with a better and much modern one.