Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Burning Down the House

I can't remember if I've used this post title before, but even if I have, I don't care. It's too perfect to not use right now so forgive me if it happens to be recycled.

On Saturday night, Husband turned on the stupid whole house fan just as I was stepping into the shower.

The whole house fan is a huge point of contention between Husband and I. I hate it. He loves it and is convinced that when it's 3000 degrees outside, all he has to do is open the windows and turn on the whole house fan and suddenly the house temperature becomes bearable.


So in any event, he wisely decided to turn on the fan when I was in the shower and couldn't complain about it.

Unfortunately, this also meant that the fan went into its whole house sucking glory right as the furnace was cranking up to give me some hot water.

The result: the pilot light burned out.

Husband didn't realize that the pilot light had burned out until I walked into the living room twenty minutes later and asked what the unusual smell was. After initially claiming that it was coming from outside, Husband did some investigation and realized that without the pilot light functioning, gas was just flooding into the house.

We immediately panicked, which turned out to be appropriate when a few minutes later the carbon monoxide detector went off. At that point, Husband practically shoved me and our Boston Terrier Abbie into the car and told me to pull out of the garage and into the street. Ten minutes later, he came skittering out of the house, holding Izzy, who had snuck under our bed (I can only imagine this involved continued Festivus-style Feats of Strength because our bed is freakin' heavy!).

We sat in the car for a bit, waiting for Husband's beloved whole house fan to suck the carbon monoxide out of the house. Then Husband decided that he didn't trust our silly little detector so he called the fire department.

Which was awesome. They showed up with a full fire truck and three other vehicles. Our neighbors were freaking out, coming outside to ask what was going on.

The good news is that the carbon monoxide was gone. The bad news was that the firemen couldn't get the pilot light started again.

Our hot water heater is more than forty years old so we knew going into buying the house that we'd need to replace it eventually. I'm just glad that (1) the heating company I like had an appointment to install the new one this afternoon and (2) this didn't happen in January because even with 80+ degree temperatures, a totally cold shower is pretty ridiculously miserable. This morning Husband heated up water for us to bathe "Little House on the Prairie"-style. It was pretty awful.

The hot water heater is just one of a few things that have been breaking down recently (our cars seem to be tag-teaming being in the shop: we pick up one and the other has an issue), which partially explains my absence here. I've been spending all my free time shopping online for new cars and hot water heaters! Arg!

Such is the downside of home-ownership, I guess!

Happy Tuesday!