So You've Had A Bad Day…

Once upon a time there was a therapist who decided to get married, buy a house and get a dog. It seemed like the perfect American dream. But what the therapist didn’t know, was that there was a monster lurking in the basement of his new house.

This monster was none other than the Natural Gas Forced Air Heater.

See once each winter, said heater grows donkey ears and becomes horribly stubborn, and refuses to heat the house.

Dateline: January 4th, 2010 – The heater does just that. So armed with a toothbrush, pliers, dish soap, a wrench and a bucket, I go into the belly of the beast to get the old burro to move.

See, if you know anything about heaters (and I don’t) you would know that some older forced air heaters have a glass gauge that tells you how much water is in the hot water tank. The gauge was dirty, so I figure, what the hey, and cleaned it out (i watched the guy do it last year) so i can see how much water is in there. Once I know, I’ll know whether to add or subtract water to get the house warm. After that, I had to empty the water tank of all the water, then turn one valve to add more water. Nothing worked. So I turn another valve to empty the water, because apparently I had too much (actually the PSI went above 30, and the water flew out of the tank due to too much pressure). So on I go, for 3 hours. Water in, water out. Put water in the bucket, dump it in the sink.

I felt like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and wished that I had an army of magic mops to help me clean up rust colored mess I’d made.

So I call the plumbing/heating folks and they tell me that the cost to come out and diagnose the problem is $175. I tell this to the Mrs., and I might as well have told her that I went to Vegas and gambled the money away.

Here we were, no heat, no money to turn it back on, and an appointment looming like a sunset shadow. I could have lost my cool and flipped out (OK, maybe I did loose my cool and flip out), but once I flipped back, I realized that we could stay upset about the situation or make some choices that could affect the situation.

Back to the WATER Method. What could I change? What couldn’t I change? I could call the plumbing guys and ask my wife to stay home and manage that situation. So we did that. I couldn’t change how much money we had now, but I could work harder to be more aware of what we’ve been paid from insurance and what we haven’t been paid by them.

See, even if difficulty comes your way, eventually you have to make choices about how you’re going to handle them. The sooner you resolve that, and take control of what you can change the better.

By the way, turns out I either have dumb luck or hidden repairman powers (or God heard my cry of frustration), because now the heat works, and it started working before the repairman even showed up (so we called them to cancel the order – something I can change to save money). Don’t know what I did or why, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out next year when the old burro comes out again.