Dec 10, 2008

The Great Christmas (anti) Miracle of 2001

Jill and Eli warm themselves by the.. stove

A friend was telling me about their recent furnace replacement story (the furnace guy actually pulled up in a Cadillac) when I was reminded of our own story.

The year was 2001.  We were in the midst of a national panic about 9/11 and nobody knew what was going to happen next.  So things seemed bleak from the beginning.  But we had our traditional Christmas gathering and it seemed like everything was normal again.  My wife's family was coming from up and down the state and we were hosting a full house of guests.  Having folks stay at your house can be stressful at times, but her family is pretty awesome, so everything goes well.  Christmas Eve was the usual rush of relatives arriving and coming in and out of the house with their packages and bags.  So many people in our house feels good.  But it also feels warm.  We usually turn the heat down once it gets hopping, but in 2001 we never noticed it getting warmer, so we didn't turn it down.

By the end of the evening we were all winding down and the house seemed a bit cool, but nothing too crazy.  We turned up the thermostat a bit and went to bed.

We woke to 50 degrees of chilly.  By the time I came downstairs I found everyone in the kitchen with the between-room doors closed, warming themselves by the stove.  We called the local UberPlumber.  We knew they would want a ton of money for a fix on Christmas Day, but we were ready for that.  Except they didn't get the message from the answering service.  And the next place didn't answer.  In fact, of all of the plumbers in the book that swore up and down that they were open at extravagant prices after hours and on holidays.. weren't.  Finally got an independant guy who said he'd be over in a bit.

Merry Christmas, extended family, and welcome to my home in which I am housing your beloved and her child -- oh sorry apparently I can't fulfill the only real requirement of shelter -- heating.  Bundle up and huddle around the stove, the guy will be here to fix the "thing that mystifies me" soon.  I'll just pace, it's fine.  It'll keep me warm.

He shows up not too long after and I lead him to the criminal in the basement.  He looks at it for about five seconds and then goes "Hmm." and pulls out a screwdriver.  Flipping it handle out he whacks the furnace once.  Not even that hard.  Fwooosh it goes on.  

"Happens all the time with these auto indexing damper malcontroller adjustment knurled knobs."  (my interpretation of his diagnosis)

He offered to disconnect the doo-hickey from the whatchamacallit so it wouldn't happen again as "you really don't even one of those these days" and to make me feel better for the service call.

The relatives were all leaving for additional stops on their holiday tours, so we bundled them up chilly and sent them into the cold.  By the time they were all gone the house was warming up again, and when we got home from my family gathering the house was toasty warm.

Most expensive screwdriver handle tap I've ever seen.


Tom Lindsay said...

Excellent. And I bet he didn't pull up in a Cadillac.

Stacie said...

Most excellent...and I kind of hope he drove up in a Hummer. The original kind that makes everyone jealous and Republican hearts skip a beat.

p.s. - Nice writing.