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Geri Sullivan: Girl Homeowner

AKA: They'll let anybody own a house, whether they're fit to or not

Sunday evening: water flowing from hot water tap is first sorta warmish, then distinctly lacking in anything resembling heat.

Background: my boiler heats my water; I don't have a separate water heater.

I do various things: try another tap; go downstairs and peer at the silent boiler; shine a light and notice it appears to be seeping water onto the floor an a somewhat increased rate; turn the thermostat to heat and crank the temp up to 86 in an attempt to get the boiler to start up (*click* *click* *nothing*); and eventually go to bed, thanking the stars and calendar that it's August and who needs hot water anyway.

Monday: Call Boiler Guy. "This number is temporarily disconnected." Hmmm....that, combined with the fact that they didn't return repeated calls for a cleaning throughout the last utterly horrid heating season leads me to suspect they may be out of business.

Call place that delivers my oil, remembering a letter mentioning that they do cleanings now. Beside, it's Squier Oil. Of my Squiers. So, hey. Talk with Ed, the guy who worked with me to coordinate deliveries during aforementioned horrid heating season, when it was impossible to shovel a path to the fill cap. Mention need for cleaning, water on floor, furnace that won't come on. Arrange for Wednesday visit. Learn why a bit of seeping is better left alone. State that I think I'm beyond a bit of seeping. Learn a thing to try with the water valves, 'cause minerals sometimes build up and stop the auto-fill for the water.

Still no boiler action; still no hot water.

Leave for a couple of days. Stay with friendly cat in a lovely, comfortable home. It's good to have friends, especially friends who give you house keys for decades at a time. Answer phone call to schedule time for Wednesday visit; talk about some of the details with the scheduler. Shower. Ah, warm water is nice, especially in a house with central air. Make contingency plans about possibly needing to return.

Come home. Work. Clear out storage bins near boiler so new Boiler Guy(s) will be able to work. Attempt to sweep cobwebs from rafters. Tidy upstairs, well, at least somewhat. Faff around on FB and other, usual net destinations. Write and send funding request for Scott Imes Video Archive digitizing project.

Answer phone call confirming 10:30am appointment for boiler cleaning. Scheduler asks (in a confirming sort of tone), "And it doesn't come on when you push the reset button, right?"

Geri Sullivan, Girl Homeowner responds with a query of her own: "There's a reset button?"


Get off phone, go downstairs and stare at boiler. Notice little red button and the instruction next to it: "Push to Reset."

Well, okay. Push button. Boiler fires right up.

Something like 10-15 minutes later, it turns off. I go to kitchen tap, set it to hot, and let the water run. It takes a bit longer than usual, but hot (not just warmish, *hot*) water is soon running from the tap.

They're still coming at 10:30. The boiler rather desperately needs cleaning and there's still all that seeping water on the floor. But I have hot water. And I'll probably remember that my boiler has an easy-to-find, easy-to-use reset button.

They'll let anybody own a house. There aren't any qualifying tests demonstrating competencies for living in it, using the appliances correctly, or repairing anything.

Just like they'll let anybody join Facebook, whether or not they know if long, chatty posts are appropriate there. Apologies to friends seeing this in both places.*


*Yes, I joined Facebook. Really. After all these years of adamantly staying away it and everything. But I'm damned if I'm going to put the app on my phone. Not while they demand access to my frigging call history to install it. And other things....

Okay, okay, we all know I'm damned anyway. I'm on Facebook.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 19th, 2015 02:29 pm (UTC)
Can I assume you won't mind if I don't accept the Facebook friends request? (I'm almost never there, keep thinking I should trim the damned list back, and don't want to give my friends the impression that I will read their FB posts.)
Aug. 19th, 2015 05:48 pm (UTC)
Yep. No worries. Thanks for letting me know.
Aug. 19th, 2015 03:03 pm (UTC)
You could try seeing if you can find manuals for your systems online, which could save you some hassle. It's surprising what's out there...
Aug. 19th, 2015 04:33 pm (UTC)
Oh, I feel ya!

Some cold winters ago, my old furnace would turn on, but the fan would quit running. So no heat throughout house. Call and brace for very expensive weekend visit: person on the line says, "Wait. Have you tried just turning the fan to 'constant'?"

Um. Yeah. That worked. So then I could just make an appointment for a normal visit to fix the fan switch. No emergency.

Thank god for friendly service people who sincerely want to help you out.
Aug. 19th, 2015 06:01 pm (UTC)

The thing I keep noticing over and over (and over again) is that living in a small town means that services such as plowing and lawn-mowing, painting, and repairs all cost considerably less than they do "in the City." That, and the the people providing the service aren't in a rush to sell you new stuff before you truly need it. Even when I all but say, "here, take my money!" they respond with, "oh, no, what you have is working fine; these thing last forever." This has happened with my car, my garage door openers, the boiler, and many other things over the last 11 years.

Or maybe it's New England. My car place isn't all the way in the city, but it's a lot more populated than here. I got an extra 3 or more years out of my brakes thanks to them.
Aug. 19th, 2015 08:47 pm (UTC)
Sears technicians do this. Every time we have the dryer repaired, I ask if it's time to get a new one (it dates from 1983). The technician always says cheerfully, "Oh, no, these old ones are much more reliable; you should put off getting a new one as long as you can."

There is a Shirley Jackson anecdote in her Life Among the Savages that your story reminds me of. In this case, she has been shown the reset button but is unsure which one it is and doesn't want to push the wrong one. She is not depicting herself as a Girl Homeowner, but the basics still resonated.

Aug. 19th, 2015 06:32 pm (UTC)
"apps", feh
I really do not get the frantic App Bandwagon.
Web pages do just fine, and suck less of my life history.
Aug. 19th, 2015 10:11 pm (UTC)
I wish there were a reset button for everything in the house. Whenever things seem weird, you push that. If things are still weird, then you call someone.
Aug. 20th, 2015 12:19 am (UTC)
This dates me, but I still want "Find File" for my house.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


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