Our house is falling down around us.
For the last few months the knocking sound our refrigerator produces at the end of its run cycle has grown increasing louder and more menacing. About a week and a half ago I tried cleaning the underside of the appliance out really good, hoping that the machine was just a little stressed, not giving the last gasps of life.
But when that didn’t work Heather called the local, family-run appliance repair shop that has helped us in the past with a busted oven and clothes dry hock-ups. They didn’t even have to come to the house. Over the phone they confirmed the diagnosis Heather and I both suspected, but dreaded: the fridge’s compressor was on its last legs. It could last two days, two weeks, or two months. Best to find yourself a new refrigerator now, they advised.
So that is what Heather and I did the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. While her visiting from Ohio parents watched Ian, Emma, and Zoe, Heather and I reviewed the selection of refrigerators at Sears. Why Sears? Every appliance we’ve bought from them in the past has worked exceptionally, and the service Sears has provided has always been reliable and professional. Plus, they were running a sale with no interest, no payments until January 2009 if we paid with our Sears card. Nice.
So figuring we had everything under control again (or at least the appearance of control), Heather and I enjoyed Thanksgiving with the knowledge that our new fridge would arrive on Monday and we wouldn’t have to pay for it until the United States has elected a new President.
Those good feelings were short lived, however. On Sunday we discovered a new problem.
To keep our energy bills low, we actively manage the thermostat in the house. Heather works the digital thermostat like a master pianist. She has the programming taking into consideration when we go to bed, when we wake up, when no one is in the house, even when the sun is shining the brightest and warming the house up. It works well. Heather is a little cold sometimes, but the rest of us are usually comfortable, and the bills are manageable.
So I was a little surprised Sunday morning when I went to put another layer on because I was feeling so cold. It was gray and cold day, but it was just around noon when the next cycle in the program would kick in to raise the temp in the house another 2 degrees. I should have felt comfortably warm.
Heather poked around the thermostat and the furnace while I untangled Christmas lights for outside until she started to wonder . . . ah, hell, she does a good job of explaining what happened on her blog. Go read it then come back here.
Net-net, it was a cold, cold night in the house. I usually only sleep in my boxer shorts, but last night even I wore some additional clothes to bed. When I woke up this morning it was a balmy 57 degrees.
The heating/cooling service dude has inspected things and the repair costs will be setting us back roughly $300. Certainly less expensive than replacing the whole furnace, but when you’ve just dropped $900 on a new refrigerator it makes the bank account whine. Hopefully the furnace is last surprise repair for a long time. We’ve got other household maintenance that needs to be addressed, and surprise items like this only push off when those needed items can be scheduled. Plus, one more home repair gotcha might mean Heather and I having to explain to the kids why Santa only brought them new underpants and bag of M&M’s for Christmas.