Last night, lying in the bath I swore that when the furnace guys came back today I would be more positive, and I am.
I am positive that this sucks. Today’s contribution to the experience is not just unexpected work or financial outlay (we’ve adjusted to that) but the fact that the old furnace needs to be removed and severed into pieces small enough to exit the house. This is done with some kind of really, really big saw that isn’t just loud enough to shake the house, but is so unspeakably loud that I am actually worried that it might shake some of the fillings out of my teeth. It is a noise so loud that even though my intellectual self is not frightened, my emotional self simply can’t be convinced that I am not having an emergency. The result of this is that I alternately sit here knitting and being just fine (other than the fears for my dental work) and then periodically have to breathe deeply to avoid the urge to run screaming from the house because the part of my brain that’s pretty darn primitive can’t be convinced that a noise that big doesn’t mean that I should run for my life before the herd of robotic evil T-rex’s bursts out of the basement, murderous bloodlust in their LED eyes. (Yes, I do think that robotic T-rex’s would be worse. Don’t you?)
An additional element of crazy is introduced if you go and look to make sure that there are no robotic T-rex’s because the big saw that they are using (by they, I mean Greg and James. Nice guys. We’re becoming very close) actually makes huge sparks that light up the basement. (They also set off all of my smoke alarms, which is another nuance of the entire effect. I was afraid that all this noise would damage my hearing, now I’m hoping it will.)
Finally, while this is the one part that I cannot hope to convey to you in any sort of realistic way… there is a smell. The smell of rotten eggs (residue in the old gas pipes, apparently) burning hair and dust (that would be from the burning hair and dust within the old furnace, ignited by the saw) musty damp soil (that’s from the digging) acid, chemical smells (primer and glues from the new ducts) and the unmistakable smell of charred camel dung with notes of rubber cement, four day old un-refrigerated salad greens, and the vaguest whiff of sulphur and cattle. (I have no idea where that comes from. I have terrible suspicions, considering the big animal bones that were revealed when the digging started – a little reminder that this used to be farmland.) I wish, more than I can tell you, that this blog had a scratch and sniff so that I could share this with you, in even a minor, unrepeatable way. (Greg and James assure me that it will all be fine. They also assure me it doesn’t smell that bad, which makes me think that what I was hoping would happen to my hearing has taken out their sense of smell.)
Still (positive, be positive) things are going forward, and the noise, smell, dirt and fear are all wonderful indicators that these people are going to be finished soon and that makes me unreasonably happy. As of this writing, my antique, much beloved, never missed a day, worked when the power was out furnace has been hacked to bits and sent forth from this place and before it left it gave back a final gift.
Sam’s once cherished "blue tiny baby", which accidentally went down a hall vent when she was three years old and prompted two full days of heartbroken sobbing. (Her, not me.) I’d forgotten it was gone until they split the furnace open way down in the basement, and there, in the bottom of the cold air return, was blue tiny baby, along with all the memories of how we were parted, and how hard we tried to get it back.
I can’t wait for Sam to get home from school.