But homeowners - house owners - are so alone they might as well be on an island. The first autumn on our little island arrived and so did our first need for fire. Rather, the first night where it was cold enough to turn on the heat. It was right around this time of year. I am not a fan of this endeavor. I prefer sweatshirts and blankets to keep warm. Besides, I'm always hot, leaving me very unsympathetic to the plight of the perpetually chilly. Still, being the dad of a baby girl, I acquiesced to My Director's request under the "best interest of the child" clause.
"If you weren't family, this service call would have cost you $150."
"For flipping a switch?"
"For being an idiot."I went to college to be called an idiot by my cousin who barely finished high school. Serves me right. Since he wouldn't take any money, I paid him the only way Italians know how: I fed him. But you could imagine my reluctance to call him again. Since he's a good guy and he'd do anything for family, he was at my door in 15 minutes. Unlike the situation with the air conditioner four months earlier, this solution was not as easy. He was stumped. Great. We weren't looking to make history here. We just wanted the heat turned on. He suggested we call a dealer who works with our specific brand of heating unit. "They'd be able to get you the parts you need anyway. I can't."
|Baby Peanut, double-bundled and asking "why."|
Yes, even at 18-months old Peanut knew it was strange to go to bed wearing socks UNDER her feetie pajamas. To this day, Peanut insists on wearing socks to bed.
In the meantime, we were dealing with two very large but very friendly Italian brothers who proceeded to inspect every inch of our systems from attic to basement. They found the problem but not before professing, "I've never seen anything like this before." Once again, not what a homeowner wants to hear. I am pretty sure they saw nothing but dollar signs when they said it.
|This is what everyone had "never seen before."|
Making this situation even more mystifying: the prior owners also had a little girl Peanut's age. And you would have thought our home inspector would have caught this, right? Wrong. He was my next phone call. And wouldn't you know it, when he took his flashlight and his eyeballs into the basement, he couldn't believe it, either. If you're keeping score, that's three professionals who were either stumped or surprised by what they found - or didn't find - in our house. The home inspector eventually refunded us our entire fee, which paid for half of the repairs needed to install a heating coil to the air conditioning unit in the attic. This was not the most energy-efficient solution, but it was the quickest and easiest. The alternative was ripping out the unit, which was brand new, and putting in a whole new one so we could have gas heat. That just seemed like a waste to me.
As a result, I am now extra vigilant when it comes to turning on the heat upstairs. Only when the temperature dips into the 50's. Sweaters, socks, and blankets come first. Who am I kidding? I live with two women. Three if you count Luna. The heat is on constantly and I wear shorts to bed in the winter.
The other secret the previous homeowners kept from us: water in the basement. And we learned that the hard way. I wrote about that here.