Katja & Mike check the air conditioning units
I shouldn’t even be a home owner. It’s all a little bit beyond me. We slept in yesterday and were wakened by a phone call from Sampson Bros., our furnace/air conditioning people, saying that their technician was on the way. We’d forgotten our appointment for an annual maintenance check, so we jumped up and got dressed. The furnace guy, a portly fortyish man whose name was Mac, arrived twenty minutes later, greeted at the door by large dogs with loud barking voices. He’d been to our house before so he wasn’t fooled by the dogs’ make-believe aggression. Because Cincinnati was under a tornado watch, he said he was going to do the outdoor stuff first. I said, however, that we’d been having trouble with the new thermostat that they’d installed last year. This state of the art device supposedly enables the owner to pre-program it so that it automatically changes temperature settings at different hours of the day (e.g., lowering the temperature when the people go to work). Our thermostat, though, seemed to have a mind of its own and has simply changed itself to 62 degrees every four hours no matter what. This frequently made for an unpleasantly cold house. I asked Mac if he could change the thermostat so it would be set on manual instead. He didn’t seem to hear my question but instead asked what was the lowest temperature we would prefer. Katja said 68. He pushed the various buttons on the thermostat about a dozen times and announced that it would now go no lower than 68. I repeated my question about whether we could just have it set on manual and change the thermostat ourselves. Mac said something, but, because he has a hefty speech defect, I couldn’t make it out. I gave up on my manual idea. I told him that the other problem we’d had last winter was that the furnace would stop generating hot air altogether every week or two and I’d have to go up to the attic and bleed the hose (which he’d showed me how to do two years ago). We went up to the attic to look at it. I’m always embarrassed because stuff in our attic is piled so high that your life is at risk from being crushed by falling possessions when walking through. Mac said I hadn’t been bleeding the furnace correctly, and he showed me how to do it again. I privately thought to myself that if our furnace was working properly I shouldn’t have to be bleeding it at all, but I didn’t say it aloud. Mac then went outdoors to do whatever he needed to do. When he came back I asked if he’d noticed any odor of sewer gas in our basement. He got defensive and said the furnace doesn’t cause sewer gas. I said I knew that, but we’d been having a problem with sewer odors, and I just wanted an outsider’s opinion. He said he hadn’t noticed anything. Then, since he was clearly more knowledgeable than I about practical matters of all sorts, I asked him if he thought the lack of sound on our downstairs TV was likely to be a cable problem or a problem with the television set itself. He thought it was probably the TV set. “I wonder if I should call a TV repairman,” I asked. Mac didn’t reply, leading me to wonder if he had a hearing problem. He said that the garden hose that ran through the basement from the furnace to a drain in the floor was leaking and that we should replace it. I asked if I’d be able to do that. He said it was just an ordinary garden hose which I could attach to the furnace outlet. I asked if I could just tape up the old hose with duct tape, but he said it wouldn’t hold. He was done with his work, and I signed the papers. “Is everything looking o.k. then?,” I asked, and Mac said everything looked fine. That was a relief. Now the thermostat will reset itself to 68 every few hours, but it will be less of a problem. And I’ll be able to get the furnace running again every week or two by bleeding it properly (if I can remember how). I was happy that we were prepared for the coming winter. Katja suggested I go to Ace Hardware right away and buy a garden hose, but I said I had more important things to do (like writing this blog posting). Besides, the hose had been leaking for at least a year, so there’s no rush. I’ll take care of it next week.
-Vicki L (10-30): Hi D, This posting was very reassuring to me. Geo had a new furnace installed several years ago. I've never been able to figure out how to program it. Only one of many instances of feeling stupid and inadequate. Fact is, I think many of these 'devices' are set up to be hard to figure out - providing opportunities for the 'Mac's' of the world to have plentiful work. That'd be OK by me if 'Mac' would take time to really help me become competent. I don't know about stretching the questions to the TV. I've given up trying to watch TV and am coming close to seeing the telephone as also too complicated. The pic of K's arm is very impressive. Send her my love, V.
-Gayle CL (10-28): David,,,, you should hire Mac as ur handy man.....:)))) great photo of Katya and one of the big dogs...lots of love;)))))) X O. G
-Donna D (10-27): great pic, david!