Saturday, January 11, 2014

I'm ready for 2014 to be over......

So I'll give you a rundown on how not to start your year.

We thought we were properly prepared for the massive snowfall that we all enjoyed so much. Well under normal circumstances we were but this time it all went to shit....

Wife is not fond of snow at all, I will leave out any snarky comments about mental instability, paranoia and all that since she's the love of my life and a good squaw.

Knowing that she hates driving in snow she packed clothes and stuff to spend a couple days with our Brat in town which left me to my own devices, woohooo video games till all hours of the might/morning and all that.  (BTW, it is possible to start and finish the new Tomb Raider to 100% in just under 8 hours.)

The snow begins to fall and being the smart feller I am I go out and start my car every couple hours and use it to knock a hole in the drift forming across the driveway, this usually keeps it from getting out of control. Well after the 3rd trip out the pin switch in the door that shuts off the radio and dome lights stuck in the on position. An hour later I go out to hit that drift again and the car is dead. Not good.......

So the drift now has free run to form a Maginot Line across and down the drive, leaving my now defenseless car trapped on the wrong side of no mans land. No big deal as I have plenty of food and smokes and many games to keep me entertained as long as nothing else goes wrong.

THEN the furnace quits, or at least tries to quit. I replaced the gas valve at the end of Octogre and it seemed that there was some discrepancies in its contract about how often it was to actually do its job.
Every time the furnace kicked on I had to go down and persuade it to get busy, verbal threats proved insufficient and so out came the magic hammer. Replacement was ordered Mondee.

Apparently the gas valve I bought a few months back was the last one in existence so the new replacement wouldn't be delivered till Frietag. Awesomeness in a fukkin bag. Entire week of waking up with the house around 40 degrees and forcing the valve to work all day to get the house warm, which turned out to be just before bedtime.

We do have a lovely propane radiant heater that works well as a backup but it would be foolish to leave it burning unattended while asleep. It does a fantastic job of keeping things warm if you start it while stuff is warm, cold starts on the other hand it struggles.

Monday afternoon the Good Squaw decides she's had enough to the Brat's hospitality and lumpy couch and wants to come home, so I bundle up grab the shovel and me and my bad back go spend an hour or so digging a hole big enough to get her Fiat thru.

 Conveniently all the snow from the yard is now piled in the driveway and the yard is frozen solid so if I dig out a spot that she can drive thru and get onto the yard we are good.

I get that mission accomplished and turn around and come into the lukewarm house just in time to see the smiling snowplow driver push the hole shut. I'd be pissed but were the positions reversed I would have had a hard time not laughing so no harm no foul. I go back out and re-evacuate the opening and return to standing in front of the portable propane bun warmer.

Good Squaw returns, whom I haven't seen in 2 days gives me a hug and remarks innocently about why the rest of the drive isn't done..... Needless to say the tension level jumped a couple octaves.

Somewhere along this time frame the kitchen pipes decide is time to go on strike, followed shortly by the bathroom plumbing. Not sure what fixed the kitchen plumbing as it soon returned to work without threats or any action on my part. The bathroom however took a few minutes to get functioning again.

It was froze next to the window from the air flowing around the loose frame, I covered the window with snow to plug up the leaks and put the bathroom electric heater facing the pipes and came back upstairs. A while later I thought I heard water running but didn't put 2 and 2 together until about 15 minutes later. Run into the bathroom and the bathtub is about an inch from overflowing. At least that disaster was avoided.

I spend an hour or so busting up the drift enough to be able to get my car dug out after leaving it on the charger all night, then the neighbor comes over on his 4 wheeler with a blade and made the job a whole lot easier. Once we get my car safely on the other side of the drift he takes off making it just to end of my drive and some sort of electrical issue kills his ride. So we push the heavy pile of crap down the slick road to his house. I think it would have been easier to have shoveled the drift out myself and not had to push.

Wife successfully returns to work on Humpday and soon after she leaves the gas valve decides it has had enough of my abuse and dies. No amount of threats or hammering brings it back to life. A call to the furnace guy gives me a couple ideas first of all is call the power company and have them check the gas pressure at the meter. So I make the call and expect nobody to show up for a couple days, 45 minutes later as the wife is sleeping the dogs go apeshit and lo and behold the power guy is in the driveway.

After a brief conversation he says I don't think its low, we get calls all the time bout it but they are almost never low, out comes the meter checker and he says I'll be damned its low by a lot woohoo problems are solved I just know it!

He adjusts the pressure up and we head down to the basement to watch in wonderment when the furnace kicks off and works flawlessly. We watch and listen as the furnace goes thru is prelaunch ceremonies, tension building as the relay kicks on the glow plug, smiles appear as the relay powers up the gas valve,,,,,,,,, and then the glow plug cools off and nothing even remotely firey occurs. The second cycle begins and this time when the gas valve clicks I whop it once with the magic hammer/Channel locks and whoooooooosh fire happens! Not exactly what I wanted but I can force fire to bellow forth.

He was as disappointed as I was but had another call so he abandoned me to me devices. Meanwhile Ms Barksalot and the Moose have successfully awakened the wife from her slumber which I'm sure did wonders for her night at work.

After she leaves I run to the shop grab some implements of destruction and tear the furnace apart, remove the valve unplug everything give it good going over, clean connections shake valve and stare at it with a menacing look. I also brought home a multimeter and checked voltage across all the terminals so that I am sure this is the problem. Everything checked within spec. 24 volts here, 120 volts there, HAS TO BE THE GORRAM VALVE............

Before reassembly I put the new valve on the floor next to the one I took of a couple months back and forced it watch as beat the old one around the room with a brick.

Upon reassembly it begins to function flawlessly, (who says violence never fixes anything....) and after a few hours it quits completely again.

Knowing the replacement valve will be here in the morning I snuggle down on the couch with the propane ball of fire working and things are good enough, until I wake up with an empty propane bottle.

Shut everything off and go to bed adding extra blankets and manage to make it thru the night.

Picked up replacement valve and returned home for another session in the dungeon. Installation goes perfectly and I flip the breaker and the furnace goes thru its prestart ritual, glow plug glows valve relay kicks,,,,, NOTHING.... cycles again and this time I give it a love tap when the valve opens,,, NOTHING.... The feeling of impending violence began rising from my chest and I happen to glance up and see  that someone forgot to turn on the gas........ Oh,, hehe, um yeah turn on the gas and restart furnace.....

Click click kawhooosh we have fire and all is good! Woke up this morning to a warm house and things are perfect..... until about an hour ago when it went right back to the tap wrap bang or no fire.

Not sure what to do now, and neither do the furnace guys. Hopefully someone comes up with a solution soon as this has nearly driven me sane.

So at this point I am ready for 2014 to be over and done, maybe 2015 will be better.......

EDIT: Found a broken connection on the control board and I gimped it with a piece of wire and a toothpick, if that fixes it we'll be ordering a new one first of the week.

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