Monday, October 04, 2010

Explosive change of seasons at the Curmudgeon home

Summer morphs into Winter overnight in Chicago, then weakly back to Summer, then back to Winter (its grip tighter this time).

Fall, if it comes at all, may last a day or two or even a few hours while the dominant seasons decide which will rule the day.

The seasonal struggle has begun now in Chicago and, at the Curmudgeon home, after a couple of mornings of teeth-chattering, we grudgingly conceded that it was time to fire up the furnace.

We have gas forced air heat in our home, just as in every other home I've lived in over the years (student apartments with alleged steam heat don't really count). The smell of the furnace kicking in for the first time triggers something pleasant for me -- happy memories, perhaps, of the security of childhood?

On the other hand, the start of heating season means the ballooning of the gas bill. The more rational, less sentimental Curmudgeon that I've become wants to put this day off indefinitely for obvious reasons.

But -- yesterday -- we decided that the furnace must be started.

Long Suffering Spouse and I put in the new furnace filter and I scraped off some of the accumulated crud inside the machine.

Ours is an elderly furnace. It was venerable when we moved into that house, now almost 15 years ago. The furnace contractor was trying to talk up a replacement from day one. We know we are on borrowed time. But new furnaces are the kind of luxury that must await the end of the tuition cycle -- and, for us, that's 2015. Unless, of course, the world ends in 2012 like the Mayans warned.... What a waste it would be to get a new furnace if things were to work out that way.

We made sure the covers were properly placed and I went upstairs dial the thermostat down to 68 (it had been on a much higher temperature, of course, for air conditioning). I threw the switch.

(There will be a brief pause, now, for dramatic effect.)

There was a noise... BOOM!... and, then, a shout: "Turn it off! Turn it off!"

Long Suffering Spouse reported that the furnace cover flexed as the force of the explosion pushed it outward. A sheet of flame erupted beneath the hatch cover. She feared for a moment that a fire was about to start.

It didn't.

But the furnace guy is coming over tomorrow....


Steve Skinner said...

Times like this make moving to Florida a not so bad of an idea.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

oh buggers curmy, just buggers!

smiles, bee