When we got home from Saskatchewan, it was…chilly…in the house. After the initial whirlwind of dragging in luggage, feeding hungry cats, settling the dogs, and such, I went to turn the thermostat up.
Except that it was set to 20 degrees, and reading 12 degrees actual temperature.
This furnace has had some…issues…over the last couple of years. The landlady did not believe me when I told her it needed replacing last Christmas. It has periodically quit working n several occasions, but usually banging it a couple of times, or turning the thermostat up and down would coddle it back to life. Keeping in mind that the furnace is older than I am, and at least as cranky, I tried all the usual tricks, but nothing. Even sweet talking and pleading were ignored. While I could not quite see my breath, I was not happy. Nor, for that matter, was the landlady when I told her to call in a workman during holiday season.
A brief aside, here – I struggle, every time, not to say “I told you so” to this lady. I told her that the grout between the bathroom tiles was crumbling, and needed some attention. She waited three years until the bathroom wall collapsed and cost her thousands of dollars, rather than a couple hundred bucks to deal with it when it was a minor nuisance, rather than a big problem. Same sort of thing with the rear deck, the kitchen drain, and now the furnace. It is going to cost her a fortune, and it did not have to. But I digress…
Now, we were lucky that this crazy old house has two furnaces, and although it was decidedly cool, nothing had frozen, and no pipes were burst. We broke out the blankets, afghans, and toques, and curled up in the living room with the pussycats in our laps. Not really that big a deal. It was -20 degrees Celsius last night. It could have gotten mighty chilly around here. As it was, the downstairs furnace could not keep up to heating the whole house, and 14 degrees was as good as it got upstairs. Our Bullmastiff does not have much fur, and sat at our feet shivering and looking pathetic until we got her her own blanket…
So the point of all this rambling, you ask?
The backup plan. There isn’t one, here – the second furnace and a pile of blankets are the backup plan. I suppose we could go to the neighbour’s, if things were desperate, or check into a hotel for a night or two, but that would be a royal pain with the critters. It might be impossible if the heat were to go in the middle of a good old prairie blizzard or ice storm once we are at the acreage. Anyone remember the ice storm in 1998? There were people in Quebec without heat or power for weeks. Even last week, there was some question of whether heating oil could be delivered to houses in rural UK, who were running out just as more snow and cold weather hit. It really reinforces to me that we can’t always rely on someone else to sort these problems out, and need to have our own backup plan.
The acreage will be getting a wood burning stove or fireplace, or, in a perfect world, cookstove, before winter hits. Period.
What’s your backup plan?