Who’s on 1st; what’s the temp on 2nd?

By Mir
April 6, 2009

Our weekend was blessedly boring. Thank goodness. Sometimes a person needs a little boring.

This weekend was also when I realized that we’ll be opening our pool again in just about a month. And once the pool is open, I will need to put on a bathing suit. This realization at first caused me to drown my sorrows in nachos and cookies, but then I pulled myself together and realized that it was simply some time to give myself some TOUGH LOVE and get to work. So: I’m back on the Wii Fit and I’m back to watching what I eat. I tell you this by way of explanation for the bitchiness that I’m sure is ONLY BEGINNING today and shall continue throughout this month. Please send sympathy and, um, naked air-popped popcorn. (Yech.)

So anyway, there’s nothing like a Monday morning on a diet, to begin with. Little did I know that the joy was ONLY BEGINNING! Because today, oh lucky, lucky me, I had a technician coming to do our heating and cooling maintenance.

(I know, right? My life, it is endlessly thrilling.)

So, I guess this is a fairly common thing in Georgia—though it was new to me—where two-story houses tend to have two furnaces and two air conditioners. I guess that’s probably so that if one dies during a heat wave, your family can still huddle on the other floor of your house and avoid being baked to a crisp when it’s 110 degrees outside. Whatever. And last summer we went ahead and replaced one set of units because they were old and decrepit and also, apparently, we like to give giant sums of money to people.

Anyway, when we had that done, the saleslady told me they were throwing in our first year of maintenance for free. “Oh, but we have the OTHER furnace and AC unit, too,” I commented, trying very hard to look sad and also poor.

“Oh, we’ll do the maintenance on those, too. No problem! I’d be happy to throw that in.” Wasn’t she nice? I mean, for what we paid, she probably could’ve thrown in an entire side of beef, too, but still.

I promptly forgot about the whole thing, of course. Until the they called last week to schedule the maintenance.

So the guy showed up this morning, and when I reminded him to do both systems he looked very confused. “Oh,” he said, “I think I’m only supposed to do the one we installed.”

Of course he thought that.

After a bit of discussion it was established that he was to check everything. Yay! Fine. He set to work, and about an hour later he wandered through my office and I asked if he was done.

“No, not quite yet,” he said. “Um, actually, I’ve called another technician. There’s something wrong with the upstairs furnace.”

Let’s review: Downstairs furnace, original to the house. Upstairs furnace, the one they installed less than a year ago. (See Mir. See Mir’s head explode. Gross, Mir, gross!)

Turns out that the upstairs furnace has an air leak due to the incorrect placement of… oh, hell if I know. I stopped listening and went to my happy place in my head. (There are cookies there, and they actually have NEGATIVE CALORIES.)

I sighed and asked him if everything was done besides what the next tech was coming to check upstairs. “No, I’m having some trouble getting the downstairs furnace to turn on,” he said. “I think there’s something wrong with your thermostat.”

The thermostats, as it happens, are new. Other points of note: First, that a while back we had a tech come out and replace a chewed wire under the house because we couldn’t get the furnace to come on. Second, that the furnace kicked on just a few days ago (how I know this: Monkey likes to sit on the vent in the kitchen and announce that his butt is toasty), so I’m a bit confused about the HUGE COINCIDENCE of it suddenly not working again. Perhaps the squirrels are in cahoots with the HVAC folks?

“I don’t think it’s the thermostat,” I finally told him, after thinking through all of this. I told him about the previous wire problem, and he nodded, thoughtfully. “Can you find the problem?” I asked.

“Oh, sure,” he said. “But I’ll need to trace the wires. And that’s… um… well, listen, I better go figure out what that’s gonna cost before you say you want to do it.”

I peered at him. “But the furnace isn’t working unless you find and fix that, right?”

“Yes, ma’am, that’s right. The furnace and the air conditioning both.”

“Then fix it,” I said, exasperated. I mean, if we were just talking the furnace, I guess I could wait until October (though it is supposed to be really cold tonight), but no heat, no AC? Jesus, just shut up and figure it out.

It was then that the second technician arrived. I didn’t actually catch his name, but that’s okay, because I’m pretty sure that he’s Boomhauer from King of the Hill. He stuck out his hand and said, “Hey mm ffbe dsfjjfh yup.” I said hello and explained that their installation of the furnace upstairs seemed to be a problem, and he nodded and muttered something and disappeared. I hope he repairs better than he talks.

Now I have TWO technicians running in and out of the house. It’s been several hours, and frankly, I’m frightened. And these stupid carrot sticks are not assuaging my discomfort AT ALL. Dammit.

[Edited to add: Four hours and $42 later, the diagnosis was a mis-wiring of the thermostat. Which is really interesting, because it’s been wired that way for TWO YEARS and worked JUST FINE before this. I asked the tech if previously leprechauns had been turning the furnace on and off. He didn’t seem amused.]


  1. Aimee

    Yikes. No, carrot sticks are not sufficient for such an event. Carrot cake? Now, that might work.

  2. dad

    Damn the carrot sticks.
    “Assuaging” requires good red wine.

  3. Barbara

    Workers who do home repair or remodel – YECH!

    You have my complete sympathy, Mir. Can you phone a friend (Otto) for using the all-powerful “my husband says….”

    Really. I hate being in the circumstance you are in, and if they don’t get my darned bathroom remodel done before summer I’ll be gaining weight before we open our pool.

    What are private pools for if not to be able to relax in our size 12 swimsuits?

  4. Megan

    Is there any happiness to be found in the fact that you got to use “assuaging” in a sentence? I mean, not quite as good as chocolate, but better than nothing!

  5. BethR

    The point of watching what you eat is that you’re WATCHING what you eat. Moderation in everything.

    And right now, to moderate your concerns and desires to beat both of them about the head and shoulders, you should have a cookie.

  6. exile on mom street

    You just left me craving popcorn and when I went to the pantry, what do you suppose I found? One large, EMPTY box of 94% Fat Free buttered popcorn.

    Can you send some of those negative calorie cookies this way, please?

  7. Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com

    So the question is, then, whether it works now?

    And also, do those leprechauns have a pot of gold? Because you can send some my way and I won’t complain. Promise.

  8. Amy-Go

    I have seen you, and you are skinnier than my right leg. Have the cookies.

  9. Katie in MA

    And wine DOES have negative calories. Have you seen how animated I get?!

  10. Tracy

    I’m thinking I would just pass on next year’s maintenance call. I think I’ll have “another” glass of wine…water!

  11. Beth A.

    Damn those leprechauns anyways.

  12. O.G.

    I hear propane is really the way to go anyway.

  13. Headless Mom

    Because my head will explode if I even *go* there (lala, not listening to the air conditioning problem,)…I have a completely unrelated question. Are you going to BlogHer?

  14. Michelle

    I’m actually somewhat impressed they didn’t try to charge you more than that, what with it being so many working hours for TWO workers.. You’re lucky.

  15. Flea

    Leprechauns were March. It’s Easter bunnies playing tricks.

  16. The Mother

    They only charged you $42?? I can’t get someone to dip a toe into the house for under $95.

    I like that happy place in your head. I may be joining you.

  17. beth s

    I think HVAC guys either think we are all retarded or good at magically breaking stuff. We had a new unit put in when we moved here. It worked fine until we tried to switch it to heat. No go. They came and fixed the heater portion the 1st winter. Then, when it got hot and we went back to A/C, now it is not working. They come fix it and once again the heater dies. We went thru the “repairs” every season for 4 years before they managed to fix all of it at once. Now, our other unit is dying and I dread having to replace it because I am sick of dealing with them.

  18. Lori

    For the love of all that is chocolate, NEVER start a diet on a Monday. Monday’s are hard enough without layering on the ball-and-chain that is a diet.

    Oh, I’ve been going to parent-child swimming lessons with my son for the past six months. Wearing a swimming suit in the winter is as bad as starting a diet on a Monday. Live and learn.

  19. dma

    at least you wont burn up

  20. ccr in MA

    He may not have been amused, but I am!

    I hope this takes care of the problem, anyway.

  21. mama speak

    We don’t have AC because we have 40YO windows, and even if we had it, I wouldn’t turn it on, because you can’t “cool down” the entire valley, which is pretty much what we’d be trying to do.

    However, w/the downturn in the economy we are going to be refi our house and my husband’s company was just purchased and everyone’s options were vested and cashed out, so we’re going to have a couple $$ on our hands. We figured it’s fate & time to replace the windows! As w/most projects I’m doing the….”if we get new windows, we’ll need to paint the outside of the house, and perhaps an AC will be in order since the airflow in the house will be cut down.

    Didn’t really consider the maintenance…if you don’t have something it can’t break. It’s hard to break that extra sweater you’re wearing because I won’t turn on the heater. ;-)

  22. Leila

    Thank goodness that everything works. We don’t want to freeze or melt when we visit. Is the pool in working order??? I only want to know that because I intend to keep up with my aerobics exercises. :)


  23. Half Assed Kitchen

    $42 isn’t too terrible right? Though it could buy a lot of vegetables.

  24. Audi

    We bought a new house last year. When they hooked up the a/c and furnace they hooked them both up as a heat pump. So when one would come on so would the other. That was a mess to get them to fix it. I have a problem with our builder so HMMMFFPH

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