So what did you do this Valentine's/Heritage Day weekend ? Our plan was to finalize the sketch for our house so we could take it to the building supply company and begin the process of our final blueprints. But, no, that's not what we did. Not by a long shot.
Instead we were reminded of why we are doing this. Honestly, we are sure about our decision. The universe can stop driving home the point. WE GET IT !!
* Saturday after work, we installed a propane stove at my place of work because the pellet option was just getting too messy, too difficult, and tying us to work every.single.day. Seemed to work just fine. Happy dance.
* Cue the coldest night of the winter ( thanks for that) and we burned through an entire tank of propane in less than 16 hours. Luckily we got up early to come check it and caught it as it was drawing it's last puffs.
* Mad scramble ... 15 minute drive to buy gas jugs for the back up furnace. 45 minute drive in the other direction to get them filled, then another 20+ minutes back to pour them in the furnace.
* Debate begins ... after much debate ( "that is way too expensive !!" "could it really use that much" "well I guess it was super cold" ) we decided to allow for the extreme cold and give it a week trial. After all, the other stove had been disconnected and this one had been put in. We had purchased the stove and the vent kit. C and his friend had spent the entire afternoon getting it moved in, the other moved out, and then hooking it up. And I had already let myself believe that I wasn't going to be cleaning up greasy black residue off everything every 2 days. We needed to try.
* Now propane ... we need a large tank obviously. I called all over and finally found one in New Minas ... another 35 minute drive. BUT, they can't fill it. They tell me another spot that can. So I call them. Nope, they can't either. The only place that can isn't open weekends. AND the next day is a holiday so it would be Tuesday - and they aren't open in the evenings so we can't do it anyway.
* Start the truck. We are now making the 2 hour drive to Costco for propane and a tank. Luckily their propane is less than half the price. Not so luckily, we can't take the filled tank because we have a cap on the truck. Lies are told, and the tank is placed on a cart and wheeled away to the capped truck.
* We drive 2 more hours home and put the tank in the warehouse for the night so it can re-stabilize from being placed on it's side.and we head home. The oil will last for the night.
* We get home to find our house very cold. Very cold. The water is frozen. The pump is frozen. The furnace is having issues. C works on the furnace and tries to get it going better. I start the pellet stove. We have to close off the upstairs and confine the heat to a few rooms in order to keep the house at all warm.
* We sleep fully clothed with extra layers and comforters in our chairs and on a wee love seat . Very uncomfortable. Very cold. I get up at 4am because my neck cannot take it anymore. (that's it !!) I have just started physio for disc damage in my neck and the loveseat is killing me. I head upstairs for my pillows. It is 23F degrees in our bedroom, the bathroom is 33F degrees. The cats' water bowls upstairs are frozen solid, the water in the toilet is frozen solid, the taps won't even turn. Frozen. FROZEN.
* I check downstairs and the temp is only 49F. I wake poor C who heads out again. The furnace has taken a turn for the worse. He pokes, scoops, finds better wood, I'm not sure what else and gets it going better. We go back to sleep. Or whatever that painful twisted repose should be called.
* We get up early and C goes out to put more wood in the furnace. In the daylight he can now see that a window in the back of the house, in a back hallway that we don't use, has been blown out by the terrific wind. Towels and plywood are used to fill the hole.
* Then we come in to work to check that the oil is still working. It is. (thank god, that might have been the last straw, lol) We use some of the lovely flowing warm water to wash up and we go grab a warm breakfast and then come back to hook up the propane tank. The phone rings. It is my Dad and the neighbours have called him - something bad is happening to the furnace. Smoke is pouring out of it everywhere - except from the chimney. C heads back home.
* The smoke was actually steam and there is a leak somewhere in the fittings. But again, it is a holiday and there is nothing we can do until tomorrow. C patches it the best he can.
* He comes back to hook up the propane tank ... and the regulator won't fit the larger tank. No propane until the holiday is over. So we lower the oil thermostat and limp along until Tuesday.
A friend asked me a few days prior to this if I was excited. I said yes but in my mind I was thinking that actually, we're not excited. We're exhausted and discouraged and the only thing that keeps us hanging on is this plan. It has become our light at the end of the tunnel. Our life line that we cling to. And that only became even more apparent after this weekend.
So ... we didn't get our plans drawn up. But we did survive the Valentine's day massacre.
EDIT : I think I need to tell what happened after the phone call about the furnace. We do not call anyone when we have troubles. We deal with it ourselves and we are a strong team. This has been a 30 year (mis)adventure and we have kept a pretty stiff upper lip about it all. Really what choice do we have ? You just deal with it and move on. We sometimes talk about the problems afterwards to others & laugh about it. But it has been a huge struggle and it feels pretty darn lonely sometimes. It's just the two of us and we sometimes just get weary. So when my Dad called, I passed the message on to C and then called Dad back to tell him that he was headed home and to see what the caller had said. I spoke with him for a few minutes just briefly touching on the weekend's trials. I said goodbye and hung up. I was on the verge of tears. I try so hard not to do that - my family has enough to deal with and I don't like to add to it - but sometimes it just sneaks up and the wave washes over. A few minutes later my Dad arrived ... he knew . It was the first time in so many years that someone had given us a hug and some sympathy and encouragement. I can't tell you how much that hug & visit meant. ♥