Time to Whine a Little.

So, we went down to visit LawDog and Phlegmmy over the weekend. A wonderful time was had by all. You can read about it many places on the interwebtron. As a less than exhaustive list, try here or here or here for example. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, which is why I ate more of that particular meal than any other variety of eats. Nom nom! Saturday, the weather was beautiful. The local B&B met the high expectations that they set up with our previous dealings with them. Sunday, it was significantly colder, but we still had a great time. It was with much heel-dragging and hesitance that we decided that it was time to leave on Sunday evening. The drive home was uneventful, and we were relieved to get back to our own bed.

When I woke up on Monday morning, I felt like someone had spent the night working me over with a bat or a 2×4. Everything hurt. I was feverish, had body aches, and generally felt like warmed-over crap. I spent some time on Monday trying to get some work done. There was research that I needed to do on dummy guns for some of my upcoming projects. I had to return emails. I struggled through it bundled up in some of my warmest clothing. It was not pleasant, and I didn’t accomplish nearly as much as I usually do in that amount of time, but I was a trooper and struggled through it anyway. That night, I overrode the heater to leave it blowing hard, and the blizzard hit.

The snow here wouldn’t be that big a deal to other locations. But, we don’t get blizzards in Oklahoma. For the couple times we ever get any amount of snow, it wouldn’t make sense to spend tax dollars to keep equipment at the ready for this type of storm. Yesterday, most of the state was completely shut down, and there was no getting out anyway. Even if I had felt up to digging out the car, the wind was so gusty and the snow was so powdery that whatever I scooped out would have settled to exactly where I scooped it from. It was pointless, so we resigned to stay in. Then, yesterday evening, our heater went out. The temperature was less than 10-degrees out, and we had no more central heat. We had no wood burning stove, working oven, or even space heaters. So, we made do by boiling pots on the stove, turning on every incandescent and halogen bulb in the place, running the washer, dryer, and dish washer. Remarkably, our little home stayed over 50-degrees all night, even with outdoor ambient hitting the thermometer at around 2-degrees F. And, the hot water froze up. I was looking forward to that hot shower this morning, too.

Jennifer says that I was feverish in the night, but it was the first in the last few days that I didn’t feel feverish. This morning, I fortified the water heater cubby with blankets and we shined my halogen work lamps in that room. After coffee, I shoveled out the car and made arrangements with some friends from church to borrow several space heaters from them. I dropped by a couple of stores and brought wares back home. The electric heaters have made a huge difference in our situation. We thought we had seen a small trickle on the hot water to the bath, but that may have been hopeful thinking. The water tank extends up into the attic and I have much reason to suspect that the pipes on top of it are frozen. I believe if we can get those thawed, we’ll be back in business.

I don’t have much of an idea what’s wrong with our furnace. I know that when it tries to kick on its circulation fan, it makes a buzzing sound and nothing moves. I don’t know how serviceable those fan motors are or if that really is the problem. For all I know there’s a squirrel jammed in the fan. I do know that the unit is old and its days were limited in the first place. It is more than likely original to the house, which was built in 1974. If it comes down to it, it couldn’t possibly be terribly difficult to replace, but we’re in no position to put that kind of money down at the moment. I’m remarkably at peace with all of this, considering the challenges. I don’t know if that has to do with the fact that we’re so much better off now than we were this time yesterday, or because I still feel like crap and don’t really care about much besides my immediate comfort.

One way or another, I’m looking forward to things improving. Everything feels like it’s been hanging on a webwork of very thin threads for the last year. Now, we find ourselves in a position where it looks as though we will have to stretch ourselves yet again. Not cool. Not fun. I feel like I’ve pushed myself too hard today, but I did make some headway for the household in the process. Now, I think I will get in the attic with a blow dryer and see if I can get that hot water to flow. It doesn’t look like anyone else is going to do it, so I may as well.


The hot water did come back. Before Wee Bot went to bed, he was able to take a hot shower. This morning, Jennifer and I were able to enjoy one of our own. It had to be one of the top ten most appreciated hot showers I’ve ever had. I’m still not feeling 100%, but I’m feeling a whole lot better than I was. The other two in the household seem to be making a lot more progress than me in that regard. More than anything, I feel tired and cranky today, and sore. I can’t imagine I slept too well last night, just waiting for something else to go wrong. That would tend to lead to a crabby disposition. And, it is nice that I feel sore from shoveling snow rather than the sick body aches that came before. So, I’m thankful and feeling encouraged.

As to the heater, I’m not even going to mess with it until I feel good and it’s not single-digit temperatures outside. I’m fairly mechanically inclined, so I’ll likely poke around at it prior to calling a pro to clean up the mess that I make. I appreciate all the advice that has popped up in the comments here, and I will keep all of those in mind when I do jump in there.

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6 thoughts on “Time to Whine a Little.

  1. As long as you can get out and about, get a replacement thermo-couple.
    Take the old one with you and the make, model and whatever other numbers there are- any good hardware/building supply store should be able to fix you right up.

  2. Sorry about your woes. It does seem to come in bunches when it happens. Don’t let it get you down.
    I’ll bet that next time I come through OK I can fix your fan if You can make a holster for me? Get better soon

  3. Have you tried giving the furnace fan a turn by hand? A few years ago mine was doing the same as yours–Usually it would work, every now and then would buzz and take forever to get going, and once in a while would refuse to move without a push. I was able to limp along by nudging it when needed until spring, when I could take a couple days to replace it myself

  4. Or like Sevesteen says- you could have a bad capacitor in the starter relay.

    If the fire starts and the fan doesn’t it’s probably the fan.
    If you don’t get fire (except for the pilot light) it’s probably the thermo-couple.

    OR- you might have a gas supply problem that just can’t feed the volume you need.

  5. Sorry to hear y’all have been hit with multiple problems in addition to being sick. Any one of them sucks, all of them together… All I can say is hang in there, and get better soon. The hot water heater is probably frozen lines as you suggested, and the furnace is going to be ‘interesting’ as the options for problems are many; I’d bite the bullet and call a repair guy on that one.

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