January 2, 2010
Day 2 without heat and I’m inspired to blog.
So far 2010 is proving to be ‘character-building’, shall we say? After waking yesterday to a 50 degree house and outdoors in the twenties, the husband spent New Years Day battling the furnace at the end of which he emerged filthy and carrying a tiny brass fitting that he declared the culprit for our lack of heat. Being New Years Day, and the fact all the trades in NY, including plumbing supply houses, are union, no one was open so in a last ditch effort, said part is now soaking in my nailpolish remover, in hopes to rid it of a possible clog.
Keep in mind we woke to the sound of snowplows this morning so no, it hasn’t gotten warmer here in the northern ‘burbs of NY State. So what did we do for heat? This is the part where all you people who are building or renovating a home, or just interested in various home heating methods, should take note.
Thankfully, when we installed a new tile floor in the kitchen a few years back, we put electric heat beneath the floor. Easiest thing ever. Buy the wired pads at a home supply store, lay it over the subfloor, beneath the mortar and tile, run a wire to a thermostat on the wall and viola! Floors that make your toosties happy on a cold morning. However, our house was built in 1734. What walls are insulated are not insulated well. The windows and doors we have yet to replace are drafty. The kitchen area, a later addition, is built over a slab. You get the picture. So with the floor set at 70 degrees last night, the kitchen was 58 this morning. Not bad since the living room was 50.
Which brings us to the wood burning stove insert in the living room fireplace. Yes, that was running too when we went to sleep last night, but since it is an old 1970’s Franklin, it isn’t as efficient as the newer airtight models. That went out pretty early in the night.
But the bedroom is the real success story of the great heat outage of 2010. A single electrical, oil-filled heater set on medium kept our bedroom 65 degrees. (My southern friend is grumbling that is too cold right now, but, being a Yankee through and through, I like a cold room to sleep. I usually sleep in a room that is 58-60 so 65 was like a spa.) But what about the electrical bill, you say? That is what I said myself, but after a lecture from the husband about the efficiency of the oil-filled heater and a comparison of electrical rates compared to the price of home heating oil, I don’t feel too guilty about running it all night. We are in an emergency situation, after all.
Anyone who has experienced burst pipes during a northern winter are shouting, your pipes will freeze, idiot! I was ready to forgo my warm bedroom and donate the electric heater to the basement to keep the pipes from freezing, but there was no need. Our forefathers really knew what they were doing back in the day. My house may be old and crooked and not very well insulated, but it is built well and logically. The direction the windows and porch face means that I am in shade for the hot summer, so even though we sleep on the second floor, we don’t need an air conditioner. The house is always a good ten degrees cooler than the outdoors in summer. The deciduous trees and angle of the sun in winter means the house gets full solar warmth in winter months. And the pipes, well the basement was dug into the ground and the foundation is made from giant boulders. Some of the beams are whole tree trunks, pretty cool. But anyway, the basement is warmer than the upstairs so we’re not worried about the heating pipes. And the hot water heater is separate and still running, thank God for that, so we are good and I could take a shower when I get brave enough to face the cold bathroom.
Today, Saturday, we are going to first hope the nailpolish remover did the trick, then begin searching for a replacement part if not. Meanwhile, the snow is falling unabated. Truly beautiful, even though we’ll have to drive in it. I’ve got 4-wheel drive and a truck so old a few bumps and bruises won’t hurt it any. Adds character. And I literally learned how to drive in this weather (I’m flashing back to one winter trip to driver’s education, the car full, where the girl at the wheel sent us into a spin on the ice and we all yelled, “no brakes!” from the back seat. Ah, good memories.)
So there you go, my 2010 so far. I may have to break the temporary ban on Quiches and bake one so the kitchen heats up a bit more. On another note, my career… I got an IM yesterday evening, the Linden Bay Romance website was officially no more, as expected, as promised. I swore I wouldn’t go look, I did anyway. I cried like a baby to see all my old books off sale. Then I texted one of my consultants with the news. He called within seconds and sweetheart that he is, he let me cry and told me how sorry he was, then he made me laugh, even while I was crying, and that was it. Self-pity over. Back to work.
Happy New Year to all. I’m heading back to the bedroom where it’s warm.