Monday, April 3, 2017

Man-day Monday~ The Dragon

The Dragon
Backyard Beast

The “Dragon” and I weren’t always friends. Heck we may not be friends now, but it lives in my backyard and I have to feed it twice a day.  The Dragon you ask? It’s my wood burning furnace that heats my house. I love the smell of the wood burning, it’s cleaner, less expensive to feed and efficient, but I don’t think he likes me. Let me start from the beginning.

When we bought this farmhouse, I knew it was going to need a learning curve, but after the first month I was ready to send it packing.  We moved into the house in March, but by then I had been feeding him for almost a month. The original owner made it sound easy, but honestly it’s never been. Now everyone knows Maine winters can be cold, but this year had been a relative mild one. The Dragon didn’t care, he was going to let me know, he ruled the winters around here regardless of the temperature.  So for that first month I don’t think the inside temperature got above 55 degrees. Day. Night. Didn’t matter. After a lot of singed eyebrows, and much aggravation, I told the wife “I’ll get it”, and we moved in. It didn’t take long but I figured it out and feeding him became routine.

For his second trick, the Dragon, felt that not only should we be cold in the house but he wasn’t going to make hot water for showers either. The kids got warm baths, but I was determined to put a stop to his tricks. Turns out I can run my hot water heater off the electric. I called it a win, he upped the ante. 

Next trick, busted water pipe. Where? Under the middle of the house. Why is that a problem? It’s not even a crawlspace there.  But the plumber fought through it and the furnace has water again.  Win?  Seriously, would I be writing this if it were?
Spring was starting to roll in by now and so the days were manageable, but nights still cold. One more you say? Of course. He’s going to torture me till I cut his power for the season. Relay switch. Back comes the plumber and now the Dragon is starting to cost me more than the kids. He’s paying for his own college I can tell you that.
We finished the year and established a routine, and I thought I earned his respect.  HAHA WRONG!  We started the following year with an understanding.  I’ll feed you, you heat the house. For a while he played nice. Then midwinter, on one of the coldest days, the wife comes to tell me that the lights on the furnace aren’t working. I think the people in New Hampshire heard me yell. Turns out he had one last trick. The solenoid for the damper stopped working. The solenoid of course opens and closes the damper that allows airflow into the firebox. Without fire, cold water runs through the baseboards. Of course, around here by 7pm every place to get parts like fuses and such are closed, and the only furnace parts supplier is 1hr 15min way. To say it was cold in the house that night, well yes, yes it was. But we made do with the electric space heaters my wife made me purchase, because “They make it cozy”.  Ok, so they bailed me out. Yes dear, you were right. The repairs were made with Teen Minion by my side, both of us freezing, but seeing the wife and the other two cozying up to the space heaters drinking hot chocolate was worth it.
We now have a mutual appreciation. He wins and I bow to him every day, twice, sometimes three times a day in every weather condition to make sure he gets his fill. Because quite honestly, I don’t want to know what else he has up his sleeve.

Don’t tell him, but this nice looking pellet stove has winked at me a few times.  Wait… could they be related?!?!

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Warmly, Jamie