Posted by: mindyourknitting | January 5, 2010

Baby, it’s cold in here

Home ownership is a risk.  This is not news to me.  But when the furnace craps out in -10 degrees Celsius weather, it makes me long for the days when I could call the super and demand that he come fix what ails my home.  NOW.  Actually, the part that I miss is that it was free of charge, whereas, when the furnace craps out and you own that furnace, it most decidedly is not free.  Wait, yes it was.  Kind of.

On New Year’s Eve, we woke up t 5:00am to a furious baby and a very cold house.  When Erik investigated the reason for our chilly home, he found that our furnace wasn’t working properly.  Don’t ask me for details beyond that, all I know is that sometimes the furnace pumped heat and sometimes it didn’t and in fact pumped very cold air in its place.  That inauspicious New Year’s Eve morning, my husband called the Sears emergency number plastered to the side of the furnace and we had a Sears technician at our house by 7:00am, which was pretty impressive.  Some fiddling with the wires and $220.00 later the furnace still wasn’t fixed, which was less impressive.  It seemed okay for a few days, but last Saturday we returned from lunch to find that the temperature in the house had dipped again.  So this time we called the emergency number of a home repair insurance program thingy that came with  our mortgage.  They despatched a technician from a local heating/cooling company that evening, and he figured out that the furnace’s equivalent of the motherboard was fried – it might be called the control board, but don’t quote me on that because I’m not a heating/cooling specialist, yo.  So Mr. Fixit was able to suss out the problem, but the part wouldn’t be available until Monday.  He gave us the good advice to crank our furnace so that it would super-heat the house when it actually worked, and make good use of our fireplace (which only turns on part of the time, incidentally), and took his leave.  Or so we thought.  Two minutes after exiting Mr. Fixit knocked sheepishly at the door.  He had locked his keys in his car and needed to call a locksmith.  In the words of the Wonderpets, Super Duper.

Because I am not totally heartless I took pity on the poor (very embarrassed) guy and invited him in so we could call CAA for him.  I guess it’s a good thing I renewed our memberships this year, eh?  CAA turned up about an hour later, but until he had his keys liberated from his car around 10pm, we had plenty of opportunity to get to know Mr. Fixit better.  At least he was a fairly young, friendly guy, not the plaid-clad mouth-breather stereotype that some of my friends envisioned when I told them this story, but it was still a teensy bit awkward with a capital “A”.  We chatted about cars (which I know almost nothing about) and the weather (which I know a little more about), and filled the pauses with some uncomfortable silences.  Eventually CAA came, Mr. Fixit got his keys back, and Erik and I were able to salvage a bit of our Saturday evening.  The furnace was kept running through a combination of Erik turning it off and on repeatedly when it started blowing glacial air, jiggling wires, and prayer.

The furnace was fixed today – Mr. Fixit returned with the correct parts, and in the end we only had to pay a $50.00 consultation fee (on top of what we had already paid Sears to not fix our furnace), and what would have been a very, very costly repair cost us almost nothing.  I am patting myself on the back for being too lazy to cancel the repair insurance.  I hadn’t heard of such a thing before we got a mortgage, but after a free year it has cost only a nominal monthly fee to hang on to it, and it just paid for itself and then some.  I know talking about money is taboo, but I’m just going to go ahead and say this – it was nice to get a break on something.  My husband and I are so used to working hard and doing the right, responsible thing about just about everything, and we both have decent jobs and lead a fairly comfortable life, but we worked for it and continue to work for it.   We don’t expect anyone to hand us anything, but a costly furnace repair isn’t a small deal to anyone, I would imagine.  We will never win the lottery, but a small good thing now and then is a nice karmic reward.  Some would argue that this wasn’t really karma at work so much as our good sense to take advantage of a beneficial program when we saw one, but I was just happy to walk away not having to pay $500-1000 in house repairs less than a week after Christmas, because obviously that would suck.  After all, Disney Princess Bouncy Castles don’t come cheap, you know. 

What good, or lucky, thing has happened to you lately?



  1. You’ve just convinced me to renew our Home Warranty insurance, which expires this month. Our furnace is like a hundred years old!

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