Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Twenty Below and Falling


Yesterday was an exercise in waiting. In the freezing cold. Without a furnace for hours. In subzero temperatures. While the birds attacked the feeder and suet cake (I hung out a brand new one yesterday afternoon). Did you know birds look much bigger when their feathers are all fluffed out and they need to eat about 10x their weight in food to keep their racing metabolisms racing?

It was cold yesterday. It's colder this morning: -11 degrees when I got up and walked around. The high today will be -4 and the low was -19. So far. It's cold. Very cold. Witches broomsticks turn to ice and any exposed (or covered) fleshy parts stick to the stick. Did I mention it was cold? It IS cold.

At any rate, yesterday wasn't a total loss since, after 3 trips to Colorado Springs on icy roads littered with cars that didn't make it, Ron, the furnace guy, figured  out all the problems, fixed all the broken parts of my 3-year-old furnace (we figured that out yesterday when I called Goodman Mfg.) and at 8:30 PM the furnace began to give out with heat. Warm, glorious heat that for the first time since I moved in made the freezing tile floors warm and welcoming to bare toes and feet. I didn't need to keep the space heaters on and I didn't need a mound of blankets on the bed or to wear the 5 layers of clothes I was swathed in while waiting from 7 AM until 8:30 PM to get the furnace fixed. The really good thing is that the furnace is still under warranty and the owner of Heat Depot, Mike, currently vacationing in Arizona for the rest of this year and into the new year, waived the labor charges. Considering he must refund me nearly $900 in parts charges because of the parts warranty still in effect, he should waive the labor charges. However, since I now have an almost completely rebuilt Goodman furnace, I doubt he will be able to continue waiving labor charges when there is no more labor to charge for. He'll have to refund actual cash.

Bad news: Furnace broke yesterday.
Good news: Furnace fixed last night and I spent a warm (sometimes too warm with the thermostat at 60 degrees) night and didn't feel the constantly running furnace sucking the moisture out of my mouth, nose, and other moist mucous membranes. It was a pleasant night and I slept well.

But life goes on and this morning bright and early Steve from Nuance called to remind me I had more paperwork to fill out and that I needed to get that done today. I also needed to send in my I-9 forms TODAY with witnessed signature to prove I am who I say I am. Then there are more forms to read and sign off on, forms which I already read and signed off on last week, but which did not take, and I needed to uninstall Office 365 and install MS Word 2013 (stand-alone) because 365 will not work with their programs and Word 2013 will. Good thing Microsoft was willing to give my money back (in 5-7 days) while allowing me to install MS Word 2013, which I bought last week and installed on the old computer, but now must install on the new computer that arrived 2 weeks early yesterday. No rest for the wicked -- or for those coming off a week's vacation into a frozen hell. Oh well.

The other good news yesterday is that the computer that wasn't supposed to arrive until January 12, arrived 2 weeks early and is almost ready to go. I still need some programs from Nuance, but as soon as I scan and email the I-9 forms, I might be able to get that done today. The there's the training, for which I will be paid, but must be completed before I start working on January 6. Details, details, details. It seems I will be bogged down in details.

At least I won't have to deal with BTS much longer and, because of my new start time, I won't have to work 8 hours during my last week with them (next week). I'll tell them today that the best I can give them will be 6 hours during my last week, which should be fine with Payroll since they still have me listed as part time anyway. Besides, I'm doing them a favor by working an extra week until they can get someone trained and ready to take my place since I'm leaving. And I will give them 8 hours of makeup time because I couldn't work yesterday due to the freezing cold. My hands are not as dextrous when they are frozen and the nails have turned blue. Give a little, get a little. And I have gotten very little outside of paychecks from BTS for the past 3 years. Goodbye, good luck, and good riddance.

If you're in need of a job, I wouldn't suggest working for BTS. There are no benefits to speak of (or to use) and pay will be frozen at your entry rate for the foreseeable future (the rest of your enslavement). If you must work for them, keep looking while you're employed and jump ship at the first opportunity -- or when gainfully employed by a company that offers and makes sure you have benefits. Good benefits. No sense being a slave forever. Emancipate yourself. No one else will do it for you.

So, on this frozen morning as I finish my once hot and now cold chai, I wish you warmth, a good working furnace (which would not be a Goodman), and plenty of hot water for baths, dishes, laundry, and tea -- or hot chai.

That is all. Disperse.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Of snow, subzero temps, and furnaces


Well, my morning began before the crack of dawn. I had been unable to sleep most of the night tossing and turning and generally feeling something was missing. What was missing was the sound of the furnace going on and off. As my room began to get colder, I realize that the furnace wasn't working. The temperature outside was fast approaching -5°, and so was the inside. At 7 o'clock this morning, I called the furnace people and said my furnace wasn't working. The owner and Kyle, the only two who promised to work on my furnace with their problems, we're both in Arizona. There would be a delay in them getting here in time to fix my furnace, and get me back some warmth.

 The owner promised to send Ron, one of the two men who came to clean out my furnace last summer, and who told me that my propane tank was empty. My propane tank was empty and he didn't realize he hit the cut off switch for the propane to the furnace. So Ron would be here and about an hour and a half, and he was on time. Of course, he drove past the house once and had to come back but he did arrive on time. He came to the door, said hello, and said he was headed down underneath the house to work on the furnace.

 After some tinkering noisily, the furnace came on and there was heat. And then there wasn't heat because the furnace was off again. The furnace was off. This furnace was on. The furnace was off again. And then clouds of smoke wafted through the blowing snow outside. The furnace was on again. Slowly the heat began to creep up as the furnace stayed on -- briefly. Ron came back upstairs and told me that it was either the pressure switch or one of the many chimney flues on top of the roof had become clogged with snow and ice. We decided to replace the for the pressure switch anyway just in case. Better be safe than sorry. Ron is off down the mountain to find out if they have a pressure switch in house or so have to order it, and he'll call back or come back to let me know. In the meantime, it's good I have space heaters. At least my water won't freeze up and my pipes will stay unfrozen as well.

 That was my morning. How was yours?

 Despite what the guy who built this house told me, the furnace, a Goodman, is builder grade and cheap. I already knew it was 85% efficient, which is not sufficient. So, before we finalize the sale of this house, there will be one of two things happening. I will either get a very large cut in price equal to the cost of installation and purchase of a brand-new furnace. Anything less than a new furnace is not going to fly. The other option is to have the builder /owner by and install a brand-new furnace. I will except nothing other than these two options. Come summer, I will have a new furnace to go into the 2015 winter. Okay, the late 2015 winter.

 I love this house, but I will not live in a house where the furnace is iffy at best. I will have heat even at 10,000 feet above sea level. In the Rocky Mountains. In the midst of winter. While it's snowing. And at -5°. Or colder.

 Good thing I'm not shy about asking and getting what I want . Into every life a little, well, snow, must fall, and it's a good thing I know how to use a shovel. And if I can't do the work, I know how to hire the people who can. This is a very unusual and to a very restful week of vacation before I begin my new job in January. Best to get these kinks out of the way ahead of time. No matter how kinky.

 That is all. Disperse. I hope you're having a lovely warm winter.