Saturday, May 16, 2015

4036 Long time no see.

Friday, May 15, 2015

It's been a while.  Slightly over a month.  Partly because I'd been busy, but mainly because my laptop had been in the shop (which was mysteriously closed for a while).  I have my little Sony notebook, which works just fine for visiting websites and reading mail, and writing short comments and so on, but is frustrating to type on.  Yes, I bought a Bluetooth keyboard for it, but the freakin' thing doesn't want to hold a charge.

Laptop is now back, so I am too.

About the only noteworthy thing that's happened in the past month is that the Nugget celebrated her fourth birthday, and I've been to the old house twice in the past three weeks, both very expensive trips.

Nugget has been hearing about measles, I guess.  She told her father one day that she wasn't feeling well, might be coming down with something, "I think I have weasels."  For her birthday I got her an art easel she can use at my house, the kind with blackboard on one side, white board on the other, and paper on a roll underneath that can be draped over the top.  She went home and told her Daddy that Gramma got her a weasel!

Sometimes it's hard to know what's going on with 4-year-olds.

I hadn't been to the old house all winter.  They had a LOT of snow last winter, and I just didn't want to deal with it.  My last trip of 2014 had been in November, to make sure the furnace was on and to shut off the water and drain the pipes so there'd be no danger of freezing.  I made my first trip for this year in late April, heading up Thursday, planning to stay until Saturday.

It was still very cold up there - daytime high in the low 40s and nights dropping into the low 30s.  When I got to the house on Thursday, it was 56 in the house.  I pushed the thermostat buttons to boost the heat, and nothing happened, except that the thermostat went blank - except for a flashing "low bat".  Hmmmm.

I drove into the village and bought some batteries.  I installed the new batteries, and the thermostat went completely wonky, like digital "8"s blinking everywhere.  But the furnace fan did come on.  It was blowing cold air.  Seems like the burner wasn't on.  Hmmmm.

I went downstairs to check the furnace, and the gauge on the oil tank said it was empty.  Hmmmm.  Maybe the furnace hadn't been running at all?  So how could it have been 56 when I arrived?  Then I remembered - that house is extremely well insulated, and practically the entire west wall is glass.  The afternoon sun can warm it up.

By then it was getting late, sun was low, and the temperature started dropping.  Obviously I wasn't going to be sleeping there.  I don't know what the heck was going on locally, but the cheapest close hotel room I could get was $199.  Plus tax.  Sigh.  Non-scary Kingston motels aren't cheap to start with, and Rhinebeck is worse.

The next morning, Friday, I went back to the house, and it was cold. Worse, it was a cloudy day.  The Hairless Hunk had been removing some fallen trees from my side yard, so loads of logs, his huge trailer, AND a flatbed truck, AND his spare car were parked at the top of the driveway.  The fuel oil truck needs to be able to turn around at the top because the driveway is long, steep, curving, and narrow and they hate to back up or down it.  I can't call for a delivery until I know the Hunk has cleared the driveway, and he has a job.  I felt so discouraged I packed up a few things and went home.  Made my calls from there.

I couldn't go back until the second Monday following, but I got an oil delivery order in the meantime, and made an appointment for thermostat service on Monday, May 4, at 2 pm.  I rushed up river that Monday to arrive by 1 pm, because I had to nail some house numbers on a tree near the end of the driveway, because some fool had run over the mailbox.  The bark on the tree was light gray.  The numbers were 7 inches high, black with reflective white edges.  From a distance of 8 feet you couldn't see the stupid numbers.

Drove up the rest of the driveway and found the invoice for the oil delivery on the front door.  They had pumped $9.32 worth of oil.  Duh?  The previous delivery had been in late February, for 250 gallons, so that means that up until February the furnace had been running, but had not been running since the February delivery.

The service guy arrived.  He said yeah, the oil tank is full, the gauge must be stuck on empty.  The furnace had to be reset, it must have run out of oil just before the February delivery and shut itself off.  Yup, the thermostat was dead, no idea why, sometimes they just fry themselves.  Especially after fifteen years.

I'm so glad there's no water in the pipes in the house.  It was a very cold February and March up there.

The furnace guy didn't want to install a new thermostat.  He was honest.  He said the thermostat isn't covered under my (very expensive) service contract, so the company would bill me $300 for a new one, but I could buy a perfectly good one for $65 at the big hardware store across the river and install it myself or have someone do it for me.  The Hunk works weird hours (UPS), so he was already sleeping and would be leaving for work at 9 pm.  It took me about 30 seconds thinking to say, "Fooey.  Do it now.  I'd rather have it working now than have to freeze here today and spend another night in a hotel."  (The bill has arrived, BTW, and I got a discount because of the service contract, so it was just a hair over $200.)  That's $400 so far on two trips up, in addition to the $100 per trip in gas and tolls, and I hadn't accomplished anything yet.

After the furnace guy left, I went to the deli to get a late lunch, and hit a pothole.  With the BMW.  Split a sidewall, about 1.5 inches.  Drove into the village to meet with Piper to discuss investment strategy, then drove to Rhinebeck to the tire place.  They didn't have my tire in stock (low profile, drive-flat).  They can get it in by tomorrow morning, but that's ok, I can drive on a blown drive-flat at low speeds for like 100 miles, no problem.

By then it was like 6 pm, and I was dog tired.  I poked around at the house a little bit, and went to bed early.  I slept very badly, hardly at all, because the alarm clock no longer works, and I needed to be up and dressed early.

At 7 am Tuesday morning, the Hunk came by to look at some tools I had told him he could have from the basement - a large standing drill press and a table saw.  He's been so dependable and helpful the past few years, keeping the grounds presentable and the house safe, as far as I'm concerned he can have everything I don't need.  He loaded the drill press into his truck, and then said, "Hey, your tire's flat."

BMWs don't come with spare tires.  Or jacks.  There's no place to put them anyway.

The damn thing was down to the rim.  No way I was going to drive it the 10 miles to Rhinebeck.  Now, the Hunk gets home from work about 6 am, works a variety of jobs until about 2 pm, goes to sleep for a few hours, and then back to UPS at 9 pm.  He had mentioned he had a contract in Rhinebeck that day.  I said I was going to call the tire place and get a tow truck.  He said no, he'd just take the tire off and take me and the tire to Rhinebeck - but he wouldn't be able to pick me up again until around 2, is that ok?

The new tire was on the rim at about 11, and I got a call from him as I was paying ($245) for it, he needed to go home to get some tools - so he picked me and the tire up, took us home, put the tire on the car, and retrieved his jack and tire iron, and went back to the job.

See why I don't mind giving him drill presses and table saws?

Continued next post.......


the queen said...

Nugget is pretty and looks like you.

~~Silk said...

Nugget will be very pleased to hear you think she's pretty. She'd be very unhappy to hear she looks like me.