Tuesday, December 27, 2011

It's Getting Hot in Here

We got really lucky last week.  I mean, even before the whole big-suit-clad-man-came-down-the-chimney fiasco, we were already getting really lucky.  But before last week, we were especially unlucky.  And cold.

When we moved into this house almost four years ago, it was late November and we promptly christened our house by calling a heating/cooling specialist to investigate our chilly home.  What we didn't realize was that we found ourselves at the very beginning of a cold weather/turn on furnace/freeze buns off/oh, crap! cycle that we have repeated year as cold weather approached.

So this winter, when one day we noticed that our furnace was having difficulty reaching 64 degrees (and then the next morning, 62 degrees) we called the same heating pro that is now practically family and asked him to swing by and talk some sense into our appliance.  But when he got really lippy with it, he soon discovered that the primary and secondary heat exchangers were both shot, which in layman's terms means that we would be singing several choruses of "Baby It's Cold Inside" until Christmas arrived.

As we waited on parts to arrive from Timbuktu or some other equally inconvenient location, we put our wood burning fireplace to the test and heated our home with it for almost three weeks.  And while our fireplace is pretty sophisticated as fireplaces go, we were tired of the Arctic/Sahara temperature scheme we had in place and followed up frequently to make sure our furnace repair would take place before Christmas.

I know that Cael would love to visit the North Pole, but I'd prefer not to bring it to our home.

Which is why I was incredibly relieved when two gentlemen came by on the evening of the 23rd to put us back in business.  Once the new parts were installed, our smoke alarm went off and the air was thick with revenge while heat poured back into our house.  We had a big dinner with our family, and as everyone left and my family headed off to bed, I started to feel a little "funny".

I was just launching into a baking marathon that I knew would keep me up for a few more hours, so I threw back some ibuprofen and kept on cutting cookies, baking cookies, icing cookies, eating cookies, feeling badly about eating cookies, hiding cookies from myself, pulling cookies out for "just one more", and eventually stashing them on sheets in the oven so that they were out of sight and out of mind. 

I got the kitchen cleaned up and was headed to bed when I noticed a light on in the basement.  As I headed down the stairs to switch it off, I was hit in the face with a very strong gas-like smell.  You know, not the kind emitted from children that have eaten too many peanut butter cups, but the kind that can kill you in your sleep.  You know the one.

As soon as I opened the door to the furnace room, I was sure we had a problem.  The odor was so potent that I couldn't imagine another explanation other than a gas leak, but I woke Joel anyway to get his opinion.  Only half awake, he was certain it was just a continuation of the smoky scene we'd had as the furnace was turned on after its long winter's nap.  I turned off the light and stood at the top of the stairs, thinking of Cael sleeping alone in the basement and just could not let the issue go so easily.  I dragged my sleeping husband down the stairs and to the source of the smell so that he could understand that I would not sleep one wink until someone had come to check our gas line.

And that is how, at a quarter to midnight just two nights before Christmas, a very kind man discovered our serious gas leak.  Cael snoozed safely in our bed while the man's gas detector whizzed like the noon siren in the presence of our leaky lines.  After and hour of securing, double and triple checking, he left and we snuggled Cael in our bed until 4:30am when he wanted to watch Thomas the Train. 

If I hadn't been making cookies that night, or if we hadn't had a fire earlier in the day which kept the upstairs warm and meant that our furnace hadn't kicked on yet and circulated the gas throughout the house, and if we hadn't called the gas company to investigate, our Christmas would have been very different.  Our lives would have been very different.

And for that, we are very lucky.

1 comment:

  1. Oh no, how scary!! Glad everything turned out ok! I swear, you guys have the worst luck with things like that!


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