I Am No Laura Ingalls Wilder…

So, let me tell you about my week…

The fun started last weekend, when I started feeling the symptoms of the stomach flu that has been going around in this area.  Feeling puny, I decided to forgo the fun of the upcoming Sanford Quilt Show and stay home.  No sense in sharing all this “fun” with my quilting buddies. After all, of all the things I do in my life, I really do try to be a good friend and good friends do not share germs and viruses.  This was Thursday.  Remember that day.  It’s important in this timeline.

And the house was feeling cold.  Really, really cold.  For a while I chalked it up to the fact that I was probably running a fever and things would even out in a few hours.  Nope.  There was cold air blowing through the heat vents, despite the fact that I had the heat pumped up to 90.  Hoping and praying for the best, I flipped the thermostat off, left it that way for an hour, crossed my fingers, and turned it back on.

Still no heat.

Since we had been through this same scenario fairly recently, I called the HVAC service company and talked to the office manager.  “You know that burner unit the tech said we would need sooner rather than later?  Well, it’s sooner now.”

Bing, bang boom – simple fix, right?  Should be up and running on Friday, right?  Nope.  Part won’t be here until Tuesday.

Now it’s Thursday night and it’s cold and it’s raining.  We’re running space heaters and the kerosene heater.  It’s kind of toasty, in a chilly kind of way, and I’m ready to haul my sick self onto my Memory Foam mattress and sleep.  So, I begin the same ritual I have performed since I was 11 – wash my face, brush my teeth, and moisturize.  I turn on the hot water and busy myself with other things waiting for it to warm up.

Let me stop right here and explain something about the Fields Family Household Dynamics.  The DH and I live in a one-level 3,000 square foot-ish house with an ancient hot water heater and equally ancient plumbing.  We liked this house from the moment it was built, even though we didn’t purchase it at that time.  The purchase came in 1995, when the kids were younger.  Part of the charm was that it was on acreage, so they could have all kinds of animals and there was plenty of room for them to run and have go-karts and golf carts.

The other part of that “charm” was that the house has its quirks.  And one of those quirks was that it takes for FOREVER to get hot water from one end of the house to the other.  For me to turn on the hot water, walk away, go fold a load of laundry, and return to the bathroom to wash my face was nothing out of the ordinary.

Except 10 minutes later when I returned to wash my face, I still didn’t have hot water.

The propane tank was empty.  Dry as a bone.

Since I am on the monthly budget and maintenance plan with one of the local propane companies, I called the 1-800 24-hour emergency service number and explained to the sleepy person on the other end of the line that I needed propane and I needed it now.  There was a slight rustle on the other end as I heard a mouse slide across a surface.  “You’re scheduled to be checked tomorrow,” the service person said.

“What a coincidence,” I replied.  I admit it, by this time and under these circumstances, I was downright snarky.  “I need it tonight.” This was said emphatically.

“I’m calling the on-call delivery guy now.”

I guess my snarkiness carries some weight.

Ten minutes later, the delivery guy calls me back.  “Can’t come tonight.  It’s dark and raining and I won’t be able to see the tank.  I’ll be there first thing Friday morning.”

Now it’s Friday morning.  Remember that day.  It’s important in this timeline. Gas tank is filled.  One hour later I have all the hot water my heart desires and still no heat.

Friday bleeds into Saturday.  Remember that.  I’ve been without heat since Thursday. By Saturday night, I was feeling exceptionally poorly.  So poorly I even told the DH, “I feel really sick.”  Putting this in the perspective of the Fields Family Household Dynamic, you must understand one thing – when I complain about not feeing well, it’s serious.  I’ve been known to power-through teaching labs while having pneumonia and bronchitis.  It takes a lot to get me to slow down, give up, and go to bed.

At 4 a.m. Sunday morning (remember now it’s Sunday), there was no doubt that the stomach flu had taken up residence in my digestive system.  It was there, full-blown and ugly.  I have no heat, I’m throwing my guts up, and I’m living on Saltines and ginger ale.

Sunday passes by in a stomach-flu induced haze and turns into Monday.  Remember that.  Now it’s Monday.  And I’ve been without heat since when?  That’s right.  Last Thursday.  Miracle of miracles and despite the fact that Monday was a federal holiday, the HVAC repair guy shows up a day early with the part!  We’re good to go now, right?


Burner unit goes on, we flip the thermostat to heat and … nothing.  Repairman goes back out, looks at the propane tank, and delivers this assessment: “Regulator’s froze up on the tank.  Get the gas company back out here and have ‘em put a new one on it.  It’s their tank.”

One more call to the gas company.  Their tech guy gets to my house after 5 p.m.  He replaces the regulator and gets my ancient gas logs going because you know what?  The regulator wasn’t the problem.  It was replaced and still no heat.  He plans to come back the next day and advises me to call the HVAC guy and have everybody meet up at 9 a.m.

Tuesday arrives (remember that – it’s important) and I’m feeling better.  Gas guy shows up about…..10:30 a.m.  I didn’t see the HVAC tech until nearly 3 p.m.  Gas guy has replaced everything he can at the tank and at the unit.  HVAC guy comes out and checks the control valve.  He lifts up the top of the unit and looks it over and delivers this assessment: “The inside looks like brand new.  I haven’t run into anything like this before and I’ve been doing this for 33 years.”


So, he’s ordered another part and promises me I will have heat by Wednesday.

It’s now Wednesday.  WEDNESDAY.  I’VE BEEN WITHOUT HEAT SINCE LAST THURSDAY.  And we woke up to this:

Needless to say, I won’t have heat today, either.

I’ve always been taught to try to find the bright spot, the positive note, the lesson learned from the hard times in life.  And I have learned one very important thing about myself during this trial:


On the bright side, I do have a space heater in my quilt studio (because God forbid that those computerized machines get too cold) and I managed to get my floaters and pinwheel borders on my Halo Medallion.  Me and my two bottles of 19 Crimes plan to retire to the Quilt Studio shortly for a fine time of sewing and quilting the rest of the time away while I contemplate life without central heat one more day.



Still trying to Quilt with Excellence despite lack of heat…


Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam


3 replies on “I Am No Laura Ingalls Wilder…”

wow, that’s not good. from my own past experiences of the same sort, i have fallen into daydreaming about cozier living quarters. here i have half a heated house, half an unheated house. ie, a frigid bed and bedroom without heat, but a toasty dining room (not good for loosing weight in winter). no one is venturing beyond the curb and the foot of snow and ice near it. #yetanotherbowlofchili ugh

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