Saturday, November 19, 2005

We are wimps.

I’ve said as much before. Compared to virtually every other mammal I can think of, we are horribly fragile when it comes to temperature. We turn on the heater below 68°F, and AC above 80°F. We require all manner of external temperature-control in virtually every environment on Earth. Meanwhile, my cat comes and goes as he pleases, perfectly comfortable sitting complacently outdoors from January to July, wearing nothing but his fur. Whenever I bring this up, people are quick to enlighten me by pointing out that we have ‘adapted’ to various environments by inventing clothing, shelter, etc. but I think the opposite is true. These inventions have made us less able to cope with the natural rhythm of the world we live in.

This is particularly apparent to me right now. For weeks I resisted the urge to turn on my furnace (in defiance of my inherent human wimpiness), only to discover when I finally gave in that the ornery box of sheet-metal had other plans. In a fit of noise, dust, and electrical smoke, the blower died. This was three nights ago.

We are wimps. Call the repairman! Pay overtime if you have to! Sleep somewhere else! Buy a space-heater! Forget it. If my furnace wants to pick a fight, I say “bring it on.” It’s going to take more than a few “cold” nights to convince me otherwise. By “cold” I mean the interior of my house has been drifting between 52°F and 62°F. Seriously, is this really what passes for “cold”? The average global temperature is 59°F. Am I going to crumble in the face of nothing more oppressive than “average”? No. This is a battle that any man of mettle knows I can, and must, win.

Of course, there’s more to it than wearing stocking-caps indoors. The furnace does need to be fixed, and so a whole second arm of stubbornness/resolve comes into play. Pay someone else to deal with it? I think not. I am smarter than a furnace. The guy who fixes them for a living may know more than I do, but I’ll not learn what he knows by paying him to make my problem go away. Instead, I have chosen to get my hands dirty. And my pants, and shirt, and workbench. If the problem were gas-related, I would concede to the professionals — I’m not a complete idiot — but it’s just electrical. I may zap myself, but I’m not going to blow up the neighbor’s dog. The fan motor doesn’t turn. How complicated can it be?

Admittedly, somewhat more complicated than I hoped. I have replaced the burnt-out (I think) motor. $130 and 6 hours spent… cheaper than the repair-guy. But the blower still isn’t turning, and that’s a problem. I’ve poked and prodded, tested and tried, and have decided that (maybe) the controller circuit was fried when the motor burnt up and overloaded it. Now I am faced with the question: will I replace the board for $85, or roll the dice and pay somebody $100/hour to either a) tell me that I need a new board for $150, or b) point out the 30-cent fuse that I’ve overlooked? I think I’ll sleep on that, but it’s going to have to be under a few extra blankets. We are wimps.


Blogger Jennifer said...

Oh good lord, that's funny! I think if you are really going to not bow down to the god of cold, then you should at least fight Him sans hat.

That just makes him chuckle.

5:47 PM  
Blogger hebchop said...

Don't fix the furnace. The only way to win this battle is to build a wood fire. Even if it does burn your whole house down. Only then will you defeat the technology you depend on...seriously, I've got some matches.

12:16 AM  
Anonymous artilla77 said...

Bloody Americans, if they aren't complaining about one thing, then it's another. Put on a sweater and wool cap and go for a run, that'll warm you up mate!

7:39 PM  

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