Saturday, December 15, 2007

Being thankful for little things

No, this is not going to be a soppy blog about counting our blessings or being grateful for what we have - I'll probably do that one as we get closer to Christmas - or maybe after.

In my new role of "caregiver for everything in the house too" I went down the basement to get our decorations for the tree. We do things in stages around here. The tree went up a few days ago - now it's time to decorate it.

Turning the corner into the furnace and storage room, I innocently walked right into a puddle of water.
Yikes! Sopping feet!
Our furnace was going full-blast, but there was water was seeping out from underneath.

I quickly threw some old newspapers on the water, hoping to absorb the worst of it. No I didn't feel like getting old towels (which would be much more absorbant), I'd only have to throw them in the washing machine afterwards. Newspaper I could shoot out, or recycle.

It was the humidifier leaking. I had to help hubby down the stairs and into the treacherous furnace room so he could advise me where the darn "turn-off valve" was and which way to turn it off.

Climbing on a stool, scrunched under a furnace pipe, over the water-heater (how on earth do big, strong, service men get into tiny spaces like this?) I turned the valve. The water continued to drip. I turned it the other way - it still continued to drip.
O.K. time to call the service people. Hubby'd had enough and went to take a nap. I called Service.
"Just turn off the valve and we will be in your area on Monday"
Monday? This was Thursday. We're suppposed to have a leaky furnace for 4 days - are you nuts???
"Lady, just put a pail under the leak and turn off the valve."
"I did and it still leaks and I don't want to have a leaky furnace for 4 days. It's dangerous!
"Well, what can we do?"
I could have told him what he could do, but I did want them to come to the house.

Back downstairs to check. Maybe magically the leak had stopped. No such luck. I was really getting angry now. How dare they expect me to live like this. What kind of service is that?
I looked at the make of humidifier - Honeywell. They must have a number to call. I found them in the phone book and called "technical support".

To make a long story short, the fellow in "technical support" told me to check and see if one of the tubes (inflow or outflow) was blocked.
I did.
One of them was.
I poured warm vinegar water down the tube to try and break up the sediment.
It didn't work.
In desperation I untwisted a wire coat hanger, straightened it out and shoved it down the still mucky tube.
It worked!!
Hubby woke up from his afternoon nap to find the humidifier running smoothly and the water cleaned up.

I waited until the next day to call the furnace company - just in case.

"You can cancel the service call scheduled for Monday - I fixed it myself!" I told the girl proudly.
"Good for you", she answered "you saved yourself a lot of money. Why don't you go and buy yourself a nice expensive Christmas present?"
I laughed and told her I 'd buy her one too.

In the big picture of Life, this is just a drop in the bucket (no more water, puleese!) a little thing, but I am thankful I was able to solve the problem on my own.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations! It is enormously satisfying to solve one of these household issues.
A couple of years ago, we were told that because the (ancient) upstairs bathtub was not draining, it would probably be necessary to break into the wall and replace some of the outflow pipe.
Very fortunately, in a fit of desperation, I was able to use a flexible long thin brush that I bought from one of these mail order catalogs, and to work it down far enough to unblock the drain.
Little things have the potential to be huge problems. The solutions are all too often neither obvious nor publicized.

Wendy said...

Doesn't it always seem to be in a "fit of desperation" that things really get done? We go from feeling annoyed, frustrated or intimidated by whatever it is and then move on to anger or desperation. Eventually, if we are resourceful enough, we find a solution. And yes - it is very satisfying in the end.
Good thing you had that brush! I just might look for one myself - for next time.
Thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

First Wendy, do burn into your brain "righty tighty lefty loosey" and you will always know which way to turn valves, faucets, screws, etc. This is one of those secret man ditties that they keep to themselves. Of course if you are like me depending on your position it is sometimes hard to figure out which way is "righty". (Don't worry about left hand threads, they hardly happen at all any more).

Isn't it amazing how many things one has to learn to do? I am not sure that running a house is a one person operation, but the alternative is not too appealing either.

I enjoyed your blog about the tools. It appears that your hubby is doing what John did -- he just stopped doing things rather than tell me that he could no longer do them and I would have to. So, the garden dried up when he couldn't water anymore. I would have squirted it, but that was one of those things only one person should do!

Keep up the good fight!


Wendy said...

Hi Judy,
Thanks for your post - and the little poem. I'll certainly remember that one from now on!

I am glad I'm not the only one out there that takes Hubby's chores for granted.
It's not because we don't know enough to bring in the garden rake, lawn furniture, (in your case water the garden), it's just that Hubby always does it!

I have a confession to make. A few days ago I was shoveling snow off the heat pump and happened to look down at the side of the house. Horrors!! The garden hose was still connected to the outside faucet. Good heavens, why didn't I think to put it away once summer was over???
Same answer as above. Hubby always does it.
Well, too bad - it's still there. It can freeze for all I care!