Life Lessons: Broken Furnace

My Dad’s furnace broke on Friday night. Here are some things I learned, now that I suppose this furnace is “my” responsibility … (furnaces are SO high maintenance).


1. When you smell the faint, discerning odour of burning plastic, you should probably investigate and not assume things are fine because it doesn’t smell like rotten eggs.

2. You should definitely dust your furnace door. Mostly because it’s way better than the alternative: a really gross furnace door falling onto your chest and face when it becomes unstuck. It might not have gotten stuck if you kept it clean …


3.  Sometimes, furnace companies include instructions for two types of gas valves on furnaces; but, there is a conspiracy to test your intelligence, so they don’t tell you that your actual furnace only comes equipped with one of the two valves.  Therefore, you may or may not search for the Robertson valve for approximately 25 minutes … and as you turn on the furnace, you begin imagining crazy imaginings of a valve that you missed, and a picturing the ensuing would-be massive gas explosion occurring in the trailer park your Dad inhabited.


4. Camera phones are amazing.  So are people named Adam, who look at your text photos and walk you through what to do. Then the Adam’s of the world tell you to call a maintenance worker because Adam lives in Squamish and can’t come fix this for you. You must now morph into Survivor Woman.

5. Furnaces always break on weekends, when its -15.  Maintenance companies know this (and perhaps time the installations accordingly), and charge $150-$200 in overtime fees above and beyond the repair costs. You must now morph into Survivor Woman AND put your big girl pants on (literally, you must put on a large pair of pants that will fit over your current pair to stay warm).


6. You should always know the return policies at nearby stores. Because you might be broke, and need to buy a heater that you will return at a later date …

7. But then know that miracles happen. Sometimes you find a Costco heater dish in your Dad’s closet and you know for a fact that your Dad is still taking care of you, even in death.  You might cry a little when this happens …

8. It doesn’t matter how attractive you are when you are cold. By Sunday, I resembled a heavy-set man who went on a fast food bender one weekend, combined maybe with a tween who was yearning for a warm embrace by a parental figure.

9. People. Are. Kind.  My brother moved out Sunday, and he told his new landlord about poor little me in the boonies, sans-heat, living alone.  His landlord offered to come over and diagnose the problem – an hour later, he said he could get me the parts at cost and would come back Monday after work to install them.  Wow.  I hope he likes Stella and a Keg gift card, because that’s what he’s getting from this unkept, layered man/woman hybrid.


10. It’s always cold when shit hits the fan.  Monday it was -20 with wind.  But I guess it could be worse; thank goodness I still have a roof, warm water, and electricity.  I’m also thankful for the amazing people in my life who willingly help a sarcastic loner, who lives in her dead Dad’s house, 15 minutes out of town … and who still laugh with me despite the craziness of my life.


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