When it got noticeably cool sometime after 9 p.m., I glanced over at the thermostat.
The red indicator needle was a couple of degrees below 20 C where it usually sits. That’s odd. The furnace should be firing up. I arose from the sofa, crossed the room and slid the thermostat control over to 25 C. No whooshing sound of the furnace igniting and obviously no subsequent blast of warm air blowing up through the vents. Damn.
I’m recovering from Covid (yes, it never rains but it pours) and I only have one space heater. Not enough to keep the house comfortable overnight.
I called my neighbour George Y. He lives two blocks away and had leant me a heater three years ago when I had a similar problem. I got George’s voicemail. Left a message. Then I tried my friend James. I got his voicemail too and I left a message for him as well. By this time, it was starting to get quite chilly and a little late.
I shot off an email to the crew boss (aka Christine Deugo) at Deugo Home Services:
Andrea around the corner was next on my list. When I got her voicemail, I didn’t bother to leave a message. She’s probably asleep. Minutes later, she sent me a text.
“Hey, I’m just in bed. Everything ok?”
“No.” I texted back.
My phone rang immediately and I got straight to the point when I answered.
“Hi. My furnace just quit and I only have one space heater. Do you have one I could borrow?”
“Uh oh.” Andrea’s voice was soft and gravelly. Clearly, she had been on the cusp of nodding off. “Yeah, we have one. I’ll put it on the front porch for you.”
I bundled up and walked over to Andrea’s place. As soon as I returned, I got both her and my heaters running in separate rooms. Andrea’s was super warm and worked a treat. For about 15 minutes.
When it died, I tested the outlet. No power. The heavy-duty heater must have blown a fuse. Down to the basement I went to check the electrical panel. Sure enough one of the breakers was flipped. As soon as I pushed it back, the furnace fired up. Yay!
But back upstairs, I discovered that, in addition to the one into which the heater had been plugged, half the outlets in the house weren’t working. That was strange because all the other breakers seemed to be fine… Never mind. The important thing is the furnace is working and you have heat.
I was on the edge of dreamland when James called.
“What’s up? You okay?” he asked.
I explained what had happened, told him I would be in touch in the morning, tapped the red disconnect button on the phone and closed my eyes once again.
A minute or two later, I heard gagging and heaving sounds. Oh man. The cat’s puking. Sigh. Better go see where. I slid out of bed, went into the living room and flicked the light switch. The room remained black. Maybe the table lamp in the corner is working. As I made my way over to the corner, I found where the cat had puked by stepping in it. Couldn’t see it in the dark.
I got an email reply from Rob Deugo at 6:30 the next morning saying he would be at my place between 9:00 and 10:00 am. He followed with a phone call at 7:30. Shortly after that, George Y. texted. We exchanged a few messages and he said he would come and check the electrical stuff around 9:30.
They both arrived as promised – masked and ready to make things right.
Rob gave the furnace a once-over to see what may have caused it to trip. When I asked for a translation of his technical explanation of the work, he replied: “basically, did a full cleaning of all the parts as we would do in a regular maintenance.”
George Y. tested the electrical outlets and knew what was wrong as soon as he saw the panel, which is old and was fitted with a work-around to bring it up to current code. He reset everything with the push of a few buttons. Should it happen again, I know what to do. In theory. Whether I remember or not remains to be seen.
One thing is certain, I’m grateful for living in a place where help is at hand thanks to excellent service providers and great neighbours.
All I have to do now is beat this bout of Covid and get Kitty Cat to stop up-chucking!
Be safe, stay healthy and be kind to your neighbours.
© 2023 Susan Macaulay. I invite you to share my poetry and posts widely, but please do not reprint, reblog or copy and paste them in their entirety without my permission. Thank you.