Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Heating and Air Conditioning, Part 2

I’m currently writing this from the toilet, which I made the mistake of sitting on earlier today.  Hopefully, the sun will eventually warm the house up enough to unfreeze me from the seat.

After the heating guy shut off the furnace, he pointed out a few places where I had asbestos (short answer: pretty much everywhere), told me he would leave it alone, and left to go type up an estimate.  I waved from my cold house and watched him drive away.  Then I went and dragged out a Duraflame firelog.
"Honey, do you have a lighter?  These matches aren't working."
Firelogs are amazing things.  They are made out of renewable resources, put out significantly less pollution than wood, are all natural, come in many varieties, and completely fail to produce any heat.  I watched my magical color firelog burn the same shade of blue as my fingers and tried to decide if I could survive until I got the estimate.

Then I realized I should get a second estimate.  I crawled out of my snow fort and called another company.

I got a call back really quickly from a guy who, as it turned out, lived only a few streets away.  When I opened the door a few minutes later, he told me that our children went to school together.  I smiled and nodded and greeted him by name.

Well, no, that’s not entirely accurate.  I stared at him blankly and asked if he had seen my school parking tag in the window of my car.  He told me that we see each other every day.  I have got to learn to just smile and nod.

Anyway, he looked at my heater and told me I needed to get rid of the asbestos.  He told me that PG&E and the government were paying for people to upgrade their homes.  He told me I could get six thousand dollars if I could prove my house was leaky and cold.  He told me he was booked up until January.
Sure, I can hold off getting a heater a little while.
When you are looking at a month of winter without a heating source, here’s how you change your life:
  • Every sock is dried separately on the Permanent Press setting.
  • Every course of every meal must be baked in the oven, including the ice cream.
  • You keep a rag in the kitchen so you don’t have to touch the handles of your stainless steel appliances or brushed metal drawer knobs.
  • Toweling off after a shower is a timed, Olympic sport.
  • The space heater becomes the most beloved member of the family.
  • You begin to doubt Al Gore.
More on my continuing battle against the impending ice age later.

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