The case of the missing heat

We’ve lived in our house for nearly a decade, and in that time our guest bedroom has never had heat. It was always mildly annoying, but hey, it was just the guest bedroom (and yet, they never took the hint and kept visiting anyway!)

Every six months or so, I would think to myself, “That’s it, I’m going to solve this once and for all!” I would then spend a couple of hours trying everything I could think of: burying my arm up to the shoulder, flashlights and mirrors, opening and shutting vents, cell phone cameras, banging on pipes in other rooms, having the kids holler down various vents, waving candles around and watching which way the smoke went…pretty much everything I could think of.

Eventually I would conclude that the problem was unsolvable, and I would give up…until six months went by and I determined to once again solve the problem.

The problem is, like his sister before him, Ollie’s getting kicked out to make room for the baby. We couldn’t really put him in the freezing cold basement full time without heat, so we had to do something.

The first HVAC person took a look, came up with a theory, and then refused to come back and take our money. I mean seriously, he said, “this is your problem” and we said, “okay, take our money” and he just stopped returning our phone calls. After a few weeks, we had to give up on him.

Next company came out and said, “No, his theory’s wrong. It’s probably just disconnected from the main trunk. You could probably just fix it yourself, you don’t need us.” Okay, well, I don’t *want* to fix it myself, just take my money and fix it. So naturally, they just stopped returning our phone calls. (I mean seriously, what is up with people not wanting my money? Is business really that good that everyone can afford to just not take paying clients??)

Out of desperation I cut my own hole in the ceiling, only to discover that this theory was wrong as well.

Still without heat, and now with a hole in my ceiling, I finally got through to someone. “Well, we don’t know what’s wrong. We’ll have to come out and look at it.” “But you already came out and looked at it! What was the other visit for??”

Finally someone came back out to the house. At this point we were like 2 months in. “Do whatever you have to do,” I told them. “Cut holes where ever you need to cut holes. Just don’t leave without having heat in the bedroom.”

Well, cut holes they did.

bedroom detailold vent

(Not pictured: an additional hole in the hallway.)

But! But! Despite half the ceiling being ripped out, I now had heat! Look, a new working vent!

close up

“This is fantastic!” I said. “Now we just have to get the ceiling fixed, and we’ll be good to go!” “Oh, we don’t do that part,” said the HVAC guys.

Thank god Ron was able to come on short notice and get the drywall all fixed up, because at this point I was really starting to lose my mind. We had a lot of other stuff going on (that was literally the weekend that my 8-months pregnant wife broke her foot), and it was really getting overwhelming (this is not counting Evelyn’s play practice 5 nights a week, the treadmill-that-refuses-to-be-fixed debacle, trying to smoke-proof our house from our neighbor’s cigar smoking club, or the microwave just dying because, hey, why not? And of course ALL of that was before the great washing-machine-basement-flood of 2015…)

Doesn’t matter. The heat worked, the ceiling was fixed, and Ollie was just about ready to move into his new bedroom. All I needed to do was paint the new parts of the ceiling. What could be easier?

Now of course you see where this is going. Things did not go well.

Turns out the “ceiling” paint, was not actually the paint that matched the ceilings, but I didn’t figure that out until a coat of primer and 2 coats of paint. “Huh,” I thought. “Who painted the rest of this ceiling off-white? Oh, that’s right, we didn’t paint these ceilings.”

At this point, we’re just going to have to live with one whiter part of the ceiling. I could theoretically paint the entire rest of the ceiling to match, but honestly, I’m over it. (And by the way, I painted the little spot in the hallway too…the hallway which extends and joins with the ceiling in the family room…yeah, I am so not repainting the entire bottom floor of the house.)

All’s well that ends well, right? We’re warm, and we have a roof over our head. If there’s anything that all of this has taught me, it’s that those two things should not be taken for granted.

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