Years ago, as the working mother of three children, I was spending my Sunday afternoon catching up on laundry. I had one load washed and tossed it into the dryer. The dryer remained motionless and silent.
I then knew I would be running to the laundromat to dry the clothes. I tossed the next batch into the washer, turned it on and went upstairs. Minutes later I smelled smoke and went down to discover flames shooting out the back of the washer. I unplugged it, put out the fire, hand wrung the clothes out and began to drain the water from the washer.
Suddenly water started coming into the basement from the drain in the floor and I realized the Roto-Rooter guy did not adequately clean the tree roots from drain pipe.
Three things in less than an hour. I could have cried, but instead I sat down on a dry spot on the floor and laughed. The next day I went to the local appliance store and bought a washer and dryer. I then went to a rental shop and rented the device to clear the tree roots from the drain. I took action!
Recently I had another “three things” experience.
Just before Christmas my slightly over a year-old cell phone developed issues, and my heat pump made loud noises and quit. Then in the evening of Friday, Jan. 19 my fairly new natural gas furnace died.
Luckily I had a natural gas stove in the studio and a gas fireplace, so both were put into action.
The next morning, I called the fellow who had installed all three gas appliances and was informed that the circuit board, a control board, needed to be replaced. He said he had just installed the last one the local supplier had on hand, but that another one was on order. He would check to see if it was in on Monday.
Monday came and no circuit board. Tuesday came and no circuit board. The furnace guy did pop over for a few minutes to see if there might be another reason for furnace failure, but no, it was the circuit board. I even checked with a furnace guy just across the border but he also was unable to access the part.
We then got to Friday and the furnace guy showed up to see if he could “trick” the furnace into working. According to him the part we needed made it to Moncton but was inadvertently sent to the home office which is on the other side of New Brunswick.
Since the dealership here and home office were doing inventory they were closed and no one was answering phones. The furnace guy said that it would likely be Tuesday before the part could be in Amherst. He then left with the promise to go over and knock on the dealership's door. I suspect no one opened the door since I didn't hear back.
At that point my house had been at 52 degrees fahrenheit for two days. My average temperature prior to that ran between 62 and 64. I had been wrapped up in a quilt on my sofa for the best part of a week.
So I took action. Friends suggested I contact their furnace guy. I got in touch with him on Saturday morning and he got back with the news that he could get the part and would send his man to my house Sunday morning. However, because they are located in Truro there would be bit extra cost for travel.
At that point, I was happy to hear I would soon have a warm house. His man showed up before 10 and had my furnace running within 30 minutes.
I now wish I had checked with the Truro guy sooner. I have to wonder if Amherst and area are being under-serviced regarding parts on necessary appliances. How is it that a back-ordered part is not here after nine days and counting - and in Truro the part was available in less than 24 hours...and on a weekend, to boot?!
Shirley Hallee’s column appears weekly in the Amherst News.