Friday, April 08, 2005

oh heat, how I love you so...

I have a love affair with the heater in my house. To tell you the truth, it is a tempestuous love affair. The heat shuts down, we fight, I call in a third party, lets call him a therapist (or repair man) and then we make up. Since we purchased our lovely home in October, my dear sweet heater and I have fought 4 times.

The beginning of our little "tiffs" started with the hubs.

You see, the hubs fancies himself a "handy man."

A few days after we moved in, he decided that the screws to the house's thermostat were loose so he decided to remove the thermostat cover, spackle the holes and rescrew in the cover. He did, but later realized that the cover stated in large letters that you needed to use a level. We don't own a level. Problem, right? Not for the hubs, he just eyed it, told me it was fine and rescrewed it back in. Throughout the rest of that night, I kept commenting to him that it seemed a bit cold. After complaining enough, he went downstairs to check the thermostat and found that the spackling job made it so the sensors weren't touching anymore and our heat had shut itself off.

No problem, the hubs is a handy man.

He fixed it by screwing it in further and pushing it a little. Then he realized that the temperature was off because since it is no longer level, it is detecting the wrong temperatures. Since we don't own a level, though, he isn't sure how off it is.

The next morning, though, he left on a business trip, sweet dear husband that he is. So I was left with this new thermostat that is clearly telling me the wrong temperature, but we're not sure by how much. The hubs tells me to continue pushing the knob up until I find the right temperature. This was a BRILLIANT idea. The following night I turned the temperature up and was awake half the night because it was 150 bloody degrees in the house. The next day, I turned it down and had to sleep in a sweatshirt and flannel pajamas because it was too cold.

I picked up the hubs from the airport and drove him straight to Home Depot to resolve this situation. We spent two hours picking out a new thermostat, with the hubs insisting that he didn't need the manual to the furnace. We came home at 10:15 pm, he spent 30 minutes installing it and finally proclaimed it fixed. Mysteriously, though, the heat wouldn't come on. At 1 am, my handy man finally decided he should READ THE MANUAL. On the first page, the manual said "Not compatible with steam radiator heat." Guess what we have? By 1:30 am he had uninstalled the other thermostat and reinstalled the old one and we were back at square one.

My hubs, the handy man.

A couple of days later, we headed back to Home Depot with our non-functioning thermostat and searched for over an hour for a new thermostat compatible with steam heat. The whole time, we have a Home Depot employee assisting us and encouraging the hubs to replace all of the windows in our home "because that will lower your heating bill." Need I remind all of you that I live in Boston? Where the temperature is sub-zero most of the time? And it snows? And I have no heat? And my current handy man isn't working out?

Anyway, we install the new thermostat. Since that week, that same thermostat has been hanging off the wall with wires exposed because he hasn't screwed it in all the way. The day after Thanksgiving, the heat shut off. My handy man couldn't figure out the problem, so I called in a therapist (aka repair person) and he proclaimed the problem to be the "part that lives in the flame." Apparently, the piece that lives in the flame and tells the rest of the furnace that the pilot light is lit, broke. He replaced it and we were on our merry way.

In January, we got back late at night from a weekend in Florida to a 40 degree house. Inside. We called the therapist, and two hours later, he discovered the problem. Again, it was the piece that lives in the flame. When I advised him to check if it was the piece that lives in the flame, he asked me "what was that guy? A fucking poet?"

February? Same thing. This time the therapist insisted that our problem could not be the piece that lives in the flame, and four hours of changing every other piece, led him to the same problem. March and a repeat of that before-mentioned scene.

Now we are in April, and my love, the heater and I are in need of a break. I think he should spend the rest of the spring and summer thinking about how he has been treating me and how I love his heat and wish he would stick around all winter. I am not enjoying the therapy visits, and I wish he would stop the behavior.

And I promise, no more visits or tinkering from my favorite handy man. I have forbidden him from working with those parts of the house that may end of killing me.