While the cat’s away…
So the checklist that runs through your head when preparing to leave your house on the frozen tundra for an entire week is quite extensive. Of course my main worry was our kitties, but since we had decided to take them, that was one less thing to worry about. In preparing to leave, I went through all the usual motions: cleaned the house, watered the plants, packed the bags, cleaned out the fridge. Everything was ready to go.
We had decided to turn off the hot water heater and leave both hot and cold water trickling to prevent frozen lines. We left the electric heater on in the living room, and tuned on the furnace to 45, just in case the electric heater needed a little help. It was, after all, supposed to be ridiculously cold while we were away. Sounded good, looked good, felt good, so off we went.
While we were away, Rob received a message from his boss (who also happens to be our neighbor) and he let him know that our furnace was running, but blowing cold air. Rob asked him to just turn the heater off, and we prepared ourselves to return to an ice box. Thank goodness we had all of the fur-babes with us!
Apparently the power had gone out while we were gone, and what we had not thought about was that the heater we left running does not turn itself back on after a power outage. So basically we had no heater running at all, and when the house got down to 45, the furnace kicked on. With no other heating help, the furnace must have ran full-time, running itself completely out of propane. Well, when it runs out of propane, it continues to blow air, trying to get to its set temp. Once the furnace ran out of propane, it was basically blowing ice air from outside into the house. I can only imagine how cold it must have been in here. Brrrrr! Unfortunately, all of our plants (except one) froze to death. (I had hoped they might come back to life, but the once soft leaves are now crunchy, so I guess it is time to let them go…) Our neighbor had put another space heater in the house for us, so it was nice and warm in here when we got home.
It took us a bit to realize that our water was not running. Thinking we had frozen pipes, we switched propane tanks and turned the furnace on to help warm the basement. The cold started up pretty quick, but the hot refused to run. This is when Rob went outside to check the pipes and to see water spraying from a broken connection. Easy enough fix, he just needed a new connection. Once things thawed a little more, it became apparent that we had a bigger issue. Our hot water heater was frozen. Not only did it freeze, but the whole back completely split in half. Awesome.
After some research, Rob found the model we needed and ordered one online. It would take a week to arrive, so we spent the week eating junk food to avoid needing hot water for dishes, and we showered next door in the seasonal house.
Now out in the driveway sat our dear old car, who had just taken us on an almost 2,000 mile adventure. (Thank you, Peej!) She was either a little jealous of all the attention Waldo was getting, or she was really needing love after our vacation, but the very first time I started her up after we got home, she made a terrible squealing/squeaking sound. Thinking she was just cold, I did not think too much of it, until she did it again. Then again.
Rob checked her out, thinking she must need a new drive belt, only to discover that her idler pulley was bent (the bearings were shot) and the belt was half off, fraying itself on one side as it rubbed the engine. Double awesome! 50 miles round trip to town is bad enough on a good day, but when you have to drive it in a car that may or may not make it, it is just downright nerve racking! But make it we did, and I arrived home with the belt and replacement pulley. Later that afternoon, the new hot water heater arrived as well, so the weekend was shaping up to be full of fix-its!
Saturday morning, Rob was out there bright and early, tackling the projects. He started with Peej, but when she breaks something, she breaks it good, and he quickly learned that the existing bolt would not work. It was worn down to practically nothing, and must be replaced. So he borrowed the neighbors truck to run to town for a bolt. Luckily the parts store was able to match it exactly, and once he got home, he and Liam were able to finish fixing the car.
Up next, hot water! The water heater went in pretty fast, and it was so exciting to have hot water again. We can now shower at home again!
That is three repairs for us in about a month, and these things are supposed to happen in threes, right? I would like to kindly send out a request for no more repairs for at least… oh, I don’t know… forever… 🙂