Welcome to the blog of science fiction author Eileen Rhoadarmer--where science fiction and Mommyhood collide!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My House is Angry With Me

It appears that our house does not want us to leave.

I can understand the sentiment; we love our house, we just don't love its location.  But unfortunately, the house is taking the "jealous lover" approach to showing its dipleasure--something along the lines of "if I can't have you, no one can," only reversed.  Things have been going wrong left and right.

Just before we really got down to business with the selling process, one of the burners on our stove went "POP," and from that moment on, it had only one setting--HIGH.  Much higher than usual--there was a bit of an ozone-ish burning metal smell in the air when it was on, and it never stopped glowing red-hot.  Some online research and a test with my dad's ohm meter told us that the Infinite Switch had gone, so we bought a new one.  Only they didn't make the exact model anymore, so we got to muddle around with the new model (and the knob is a little off.)  But at least that was a minor repair.  After all, we had three other working burners in the mean time, and the switch itself only cost about $30, plus the time we spent fiddling with it.  Not really a big deal.

Then, about two weeks ago, we woke up one morning to a 63 degree house with the furnace fan blowing cold air constantly.  Well, that was lovely.  The internet was much less helpful with this issue, and when I called a heating place (I'd used them before) to ask their opinion, they said it could be any number of things; that they'd need to send somebody out who could test the circuits and equipment to determine the problem.  Of course, the tech fixed the problem within a few minutes, and it turned out to be a $100 lesson in why you need to change your furnace filters regularly.  Now, in our defense, we usually do.  We usually keep a stock of filters on hand, and have it on our calendar to change them every three months.  But our filters are not that easy to come by (an unusual size, apparently) and we hadn't repleneshed our stock in a while.  Lesson learned:  it's important to go out of your way for that.  Since the tech told me this is the most common thing he gets calls for at this time of year, I wonder whether the person on the phone just wanted to charge me for the service call, rather than tell me how to reset the circuit-switch-thingy myself.  Although, as my husband pointed out, if you give out too much free information, you don't stay in business for very long.  I guess.  At least the furnace wasn't broken!  But this was when I first wondered whether the house was unhappy with us.

Today, however, really took the wind out of my sails, because I thought we were done with everything except maintenance.  But no.  The house decides to flex its muscle once more by thawing the freezer portion of our refrigerator.  And the refrigerator portion doesn't seem to be as cold as it should be, either.  They're both still spewing out cold air, but not enough.  Fortunately, we have a deep freeze in the garage, so it is now stuffed to the absolute limit with items.  And since the freezer now feels like a cold fridge, we moved some of the more perishable items from the fridge up to the freezer for safe-keeping.  But now we get to make the big decision:  try to get it repaired ($100 service call to tell us it's dying??), buy a cheap new fridge to keep with the house (or a used one) which we'll get to live with if we don't sell, or buy a really nice fridge and take it with us (potentially scaring off virgin buyers with the lack of the most important kitchen appliance AND run the risk of it not fitting in the new kitchen.)  There are pros and cons to each, and I'll probably spend a good deal of time and emotional energy comparing costs tomorrow.

I hugged my house today (well, a wall) and asked it to please not be angry with us, and that we're trying to find somebody else who will love it as much or more than we do.

Please don't send the Nice Men in the Clean White Coats with their straightjackets over to visit me just because I'm talking to my house.  Anthropomorphizing my house is not straightjacket-worthy.  (If it starts talking BACK, well...)

But there is one bit of circumstantial evidence that the house has done this before, which I will leave as my parting thought.  When we looked at this house as buyers, the sellers had listed the washer and dryer as exclusions.  We wanted them (they were nicer than the old ones we had in our apartment) so we asked that they be thrown into the deal, and the sellers agreed.  The sellers had even been doing laundry during the home inspection, so the inspector told us they worked fine.  However, after we moved in and tried to run our first load, we found that the washer would run for about a minute and then stop for five, making a horrible noise in the mean-time (and no, it was not the noise washers make when they're jammed.)  Something was wrong with the motor, and we were extremely grateful that our attempts to sell our old washer and dryer had been unsuccessful.  We replaced the washer, but when we moved the first finally-laundered clothing into the new dryer, we discovered that it would tumble, but not heat.  So we wound up using our old washer and dryer, even though we'd bargained a much newer set out of the sellers.

Did the house not want to say good-bye to them, either?

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