Friday, 2 October 2009

Busy September in Chumplet Land

Let's see... We filled a dumpster with useless junk so the Danger Room isn't so dangerous any more.

We packed up our kids and shipped them off to college. They actually stayed put for two weeks at a stretch, so Chumpletland is quiet and reasonably tidy. They're here now because... well, because.

We had the eavestroughs and gutters replaced, with two extra downspouts at the front of the house. When the rain rain rain comes down down down, it no longer pours from the fireplace and it doesn't crawl across the basement floor. I no longer dread downpours. Let it rain, baby!

Three days ago, the furnace quit. I huddled in my bed with three layers of fuzzies and a magic bag warmed in the microwave. It almost lasted through the night. Almost. My little nose got cold. Hubby scheduled the furnace guy to visit the next day so I quickly swept up the furnace-slash-laundry-slash-ugly room so the repairman wouldn't be too grossed out.

I also gathered up the newspapers from the floor of the downstairs bathroom, just in case. Would a repair guy ask to use the bathroom? Nah, he wouldn't -- that would be inappropriate, right? Still, the downstairs bathroom is a bit of a shithole. Excuse me, I mean an ugly room lined with that paneling you see in construction site office trailers.

We've known the furnace guy for a while. He replaced our old oil furnace with a gas unit fifteen years ago and returned for a few inspections along the way. He moves a little slower these days, and I empathized as he plodded down the stairs and groaned while he crouched to look into the furnace's guts. He poked and prodded the innards of the furnace, then concluded that it had been shooting out almost twice the gas required to do the job. This caused the furnace to overheat and shut down in self-defense.

I was wondering why the gas bills had been slowly rising the last couple of years. I thought it was the rising price of natural gas.

Furnace guy headed out the front door to get a replacement part, but promptly returned asking if he could... OMG... use the bathroom. He looked a little anxious, so I instinctively said, "Okay." I mean, what heartless person could possibly say no?

My mind's eye flashed, seeing the crappy basement bathroom and the slightly less crappy main floor bathroom. I pointed him to the main floor loo and he thankfully retreated, tugging at his stained coveralls.

He was in there for what seemed like forever, but it was only about five minutes. Obviously the guy was suffering from some kind of gastric distress. I tried to ignore the sounds coming from the bathroom but living in a bungalow, you can't get far away from ANY sounds.

After profuse thanks, he went to get the part and returned with a couple of extra filters. $378 dollars later, I waved him out the front door. I ventured into the bathroom to give it a quick squirt of Airwick, and noticed the dust bunnies, toothpaste encrusted sink and the pile of towels on the floor. Boy, he must think we're total slobs. Oh, I forgot... we are.

I don't know who was more embarrassed, him or me. To lessen my pain, the least he could have done was throw in the $5 filters. I don't know what I could have done to lessen his pain.

The next day, my coveted box of books arrived: twenty shiny copies of The Toast Bitches. Hmm... maybe I should give one away? How about a contest?


writtenwyrdd said...

There's a reason I buy into our yearly furnace repair plan for about $150--I've had the furnace repaired six times in seven years. That included removal of two dead pigeons, ductwork replaced because it rusted out (dirt floor basements are damp) and various parts. I've saved at least a couple thousand.

And it pays to get your furnace cleaned yearly, which is part of the plan.

Unfortunately in the new house the furnace is not very efficient, but I'm not going to replace the stupid thing until I have to.

Ellie Heller said...

I've done the 'tidy before the repairman comes' before too. A lot actually. Often it's the impetus to do a larger cleaning. The good news is not many things have broken, the bad news is the house could use something breaking so I'd clean it up.

Barbara Martin said...

In the past I've had repairmen need to use the washroom and worried that it's not quite clean enough. Glad to hear your furnace is fixed now for the winter: I heard it's going to be frigid this year. Get out your thermals.

Anonymous said...

OK, it's the middle of winter. The furnace quit working, and we are not only freezing, but each of us are sick as dogs with some kind of stomach flu, taking turns hurling out guts out in the only bathroom in the house, and the repairman says hes really gotta use the latrine ...

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

Oh, Helen! "Hurry up, Mr. Repairman! I gotta get back in there!"

We had our furnace checked yearly until a few years ago when we were dropped to one income. Now that it's fixed, we'll use less gas and hopefully make back some of the wasted money.