Pavane Pour un Four Defunte   Leave a comment

FurnaceAnother lovely graveyard shift completed … another nickel …

40 minutes drive home, to a freezing cold house and a stinky catbox … Turn up the thermostat. Nothing. “Hunh” thought I. “Shouldn’t be out of gas this early, I only just bought 20 litres” …

Open up the furnace compartment, press the reboot button, the one the instructions pasted on the furnace said in no uncertain terms you are to press once only; the furnace started … ran for about 10 seconds … And shut down.

So I pressed it again. It’s what I always do when I put a bit of diesel in the tank. The furnace started … ran for about 10 seconds … And shut down.

Hunh … Obviously it really must be out of gas. So I dosed Cagnie Cat, who is out of sorts lately, headed out to PetroCan, got $17.98 worth of diesel (20 litres at current curiously low prices) … came home with it … poured it into the fuel tank … went back inside … pressed the reboot button … the one the instructions pasted on the furnace said in no uncertain terms you are to press once only … the furnace started … ran for about 10 seconds … And shut down.

Press the reboot button again. The one the instructions pasted on the furnace said in no uncertain terms you are to press once only. The furnace ran for about 10 seconds… and shut down.

Press the reboot button again. The one the instructions yada-yada-yada … The furnace ran for about 10 seconds … And shut down.

Press the reboot button again. Screw the damned instructions! I’ve been doing this for months now, ever since I ran out of money when my business sank into the abyss and I couldn’t afford to have the oil company come deliver oil and the clown on the phone told me Diesel and Furnace Oil are exactly the same thing except for the dye in it and the sulfur content, diesel has less …

… The furnace ran for about 10 seconds … And shut down.

Try again. The furnace ran for about 10 seconds … And shut down.

I’m doing this ‘cause I’ve been pressing that button like this for months now, every time I toss 20 litres of diesel in the tank; the furnace needs a kick in the ass to make it go. Press the button and like a charm, it roars into life … the first time I ever had this performance was 2 days ago and on the third press, yup: The furnace finally roared into life and gave me some heat.

That said, what was it some smartass said about a working definition of insanity? Maybe it’s time to phone the number pasted on the furnace with the instructions? The one that said they’d be there in an hour to fix it, day or night? …

… Yeah, that number. The one obviously whited out in case anyone reading this decides to call it. Got an answering machine. They’re closed 4 in the afternoon till 8 in the morning. “Someone will get back to you.” So I tried the other, different number on a different piece of paper pasted on the furnace, promising the same thing, and got the same answering machine …

So I left a message, and tried to crash on the couch. They called back around 9:30, I was fast asleep. I had no account with them. But they’d have their sales manager call me back and setup an account..

For crying out loud. I was up all night, I’m tired, I want some sleep. Why is my furnace being stupid?

Drifted back to sleep, yanked out of it 45 minutes later by Buddy the Sales Manager but I wasn’t really interested in setting up an account, I was barely coherent after a graveyard shift in any case, so I begged off.

But I recalled once upon a time when I had money, I had an account with Columbine Fuels for my furnace. They also quite fortuitously employ a repair guy. So I called them.

Honey at the other end of the line opined if there was less than 5 inches of fuel oil in the tank there was a risk of an airspace in the fuel line and no matter how much fuel was in the tank, it wasn’t going to run properly unless it was bled. So I decided to bite the bullet and get their minimum order. $263.00 for fuel and get the line bled but I’d just been paid and should have gone back to delivery ages ago and she told me Delivery Buddy would call a half-hour ahead so I could get him money … I no longer have Visa, they don’t have a debit machine …

Back to sleep.

11:00 roused from a near-coma by pounding on the door … Delivery Buddy hadn’t been told he was to  call first. Off I had to go and get money. He sat in his truck doing nothing till I got back. Then he put oil in the tank, then into the house to the furnace to bleed the line, while I’m trying not to topple over from fatigue. Told me the line was fine, obviously no air in the fuel line, didn’t need bleeding … Should be good to go …

He pressed the reboot button, the one the instructions pasted on the furnace said in no uncertain terms you are to press once only; the furnace started … ran for about 10 seconds … And shut down.

He pressed the reboot button again, the one instructions said in no uncertain terms you are to press once only; the furnace started… ran for about 10 seconds.. And shut down.

“Third time pays for all?” His third try pressing the button that is to be pressed only once garnered the same results.

He took the fuel-line bleeding fee off the bill and only dinged me $210.92 for the diesel oil, forgave me the 2 cents since we don’t have them anymore … And no, it wasn’t furnace oil he put in my tank: Honey made sure I got diesel since I’d been using it for months, apparently lots of people are going to the gas station these days and fueling their furnace with it …

… But no, they’re not exactly the same except for colour, and you can’t mix them up together …

The delivery guy told me I’d better have the mechanic in to look at the furnace, I could double-check if I wanted, but he’d already called…

Good thing I double-checked, ‘cause he in fact hadn’t.

Jarred awake again by pounding on the door again around 12:30. And the first thing Mr. Repair Guy said to me? “I hope you only pressed that button once!”

The big red button on the front of the motor, which I thought was a reboot button? The one that had been pressed at least 20 times this morning already? Yeah, that one.


As in, it would seem, ONCE, EVER. Once only, in the entire life of that furnace apparently, was I or anybody else, ever to be allowed, to press that button.

And while you could use diesel instead of fuel oil in the furnace, it was Not Recommended.


What kind of Brainiac would create something like that? A button you have to press to start the furnace, and it’s big, and it’s red, and it’s right on the front of the furnace, but the furnace is designed such that it can only be presssed once.

“But I have to press it to start the furnace!!”

Tough. It can only be pressed once. And once only. In the lifetime of said furnace.

That’s what some Brainiac apparently created.

Mr. Repair Guy had an extended look and announced the furnace was flooded with oil, he didn’t dare try and start it, there would be a fire or an explosion if he did, he was going to have to contact the manufacturer, he’d probably have to disassemble the furnace and wipe it out and reassemble it and it would be hours of work. At $95.00 per hour.

*   *   *

I’ve often wondered about the power of prayer. For months now, I’ve been praying: “Please, dear Jesus, help me out of the financial hole I’ve dug for myself”. (In my defense, desperation can lead to curious behaviour, and yes I know God doesn’t like it when you ask for money. Guess his situation is tight too.) Said that exact prayer 11 o’clock the night before, before driving for 40 minutes to do that lovely graveyard out in the middle of nowhere …

So why is it, when you offer up to The Most High, a prayer of supplication and need … delivered with reverence …

It’s just as if you’ve laced your hands behind your head, spread your legs as far apart as you realistically can, so that God can give the best imitation of a football kickoff to your testicles of which he is capable … ? Why is it when you pray, it seems you are simply begging for trouble?

His imitation of a football kickoff BTW, is usually brutally accurate.

What was I going to do? I’d just got paid. 900 lousy bucks most of which were going to evaporate in 20 minutes paying the bills. With the residue this week or so I was going to take Medea  out to dinner to celebrate her birthday  … Soon as a break from graveyard shifts materializes … I was going to pay my lawyer for the will she’d created for me … three months back by this point … I was going to catch up my phone bill and my internet bill and get a head start on my hydro bill. I was going to pay the Reservation some of the tax bill I owe them …

Instead I’ve suddenly got to fork out hundreds or more likely well over a thousand dollars, to get my god-damned furnace running …

Lord God Almighty … Call to Medea about the latest boondoggle, and as she has far too often done, sadly said she’ll bail me out, again, but her financial situation is about as dire as mine and I’m sick to the back teeth of asking for help like this. Just as soon as you get a little bit ahead.. Surprise, Sucker !! Been up all night working, and up all day trying to get a furnace going, with what I thought was a minor issue, and out the door late tonight for another graveyard and no heat in the house … it is to pound your head against a wall …

*   *   *

I must have been Jewish in a previous incarnation. I certainly whine well enough to have been and if you think that’s antisemitic watch a Woody Allen movie and you’ll see what I mean. (Admittedly they’ve had lots to whine about, but I digress.) After 2 hours of this misery, suddenly a cool calm quiet voice (some of you may be familiar with it) spoke from the back of my mind:

Fuck it: The furnace is broken? It can damn well stay broken. Don’t get stampeded and suckered into spending all that money. Get a couple of space heaters and keep the place warm with those. Call Columbine, ask them if they’ll pump out the oil you bought, give you a bit of a refund, call Mr. Repair Guy and tell him not to bother coming back.

And that’s what I did. Off to Crappy Tire, bought a heater which after taxes was just over $100… Medea valiantly picked up the tab for a second, I’ll pay her back next payday..

Stuck with about 200 litres of diesel tho’: Columbine called.. they won’t take it back.

*   *   *

But a day later the house is reasonably warm with the 2 space heaters, guys at work told me fixing a furnace is dead simple, it’s likely just a dirty nozzle or a dirty filter … “just have a look at some videos on Youtube” …  which I haven’t done yet, but will. Siphoning out the diesel from the tank’s no problem either, just dig a hole for the jerry can … Likely the temporary increase in my hydro bill will still be less than the $160 I was shelling out every month for diesel …

And a friend is suddenly gifting me a soprano sax.. Flip it for $400 and that’s the unexpected expenses of Thursday reversed.

None of this had anything to do with my posited malice on the part of the Almighty. Just the shit on Planet Earth that regularly comes flying out of a clear blue sky and smacks each and every one of us, right in the eye.

Onwards and upwards. Maybe it’s time I got a heat pump.

And if anyone has a need for diesel oil, I’ve got 220 litres of it looking for a good home. $100…

Dead Parrot


Posted February 28, 2016 by Capt. Roy Harkness in Uncategorized

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