Saturday, August 27, 2005

A Train Wreck Week

So last week we had the dog into the vet for bladder problems. He'd recently taken to relieving himself on the frontroom carpet, next to the picture window. He's getting old, 14 years, so there is some concern that it may be time for him to 'move to the farm', but he is a key family member who has saved my wife's life on at least two occasions, so we are anxious to keep him around for as long as he has any quality of life. (Besides, as I am so much older than my wife, I am not keen to set any precedents about what one should do when incontinence starts to become an issue....) So we fork over the $450 in vets bills to check for bladder problems and hope for the best.

Monday night I'm running a bath for Kasia, and there is no hot water. I go down to the boiler room and find an inch of water on the floor and no burners on -- the boiler is kaput and leaking. I phone our contractor, and first thing Tuesday morning it takes Joe only three minutes to pronounce the boiler dead at the scene. We haven't had the nerve to ask what this is likely to cost, but neighbours gestimate the $3500 range. Monday and Tuesday are the coldest days all summer, and with no boiler, we not only have no hot water, but no central heating.

The replacement boiler and a pair of plumbers and an electrician arrive Wednesday morning along with the heaviest rain storm of the year...and we discover problem #2. The rain is coming in through leaks round the front room window (well, it's the window if we're lucky, the roof if we are not...) The contractor doing the boiler work promises to look at the leak the next day. In the meantime, we're left apologizing to the dog as it now obvious that the spots in the front room were from the leaks all along -- we just never get enough rain to correctly diagnose the problem before.

Wednesday night there's more bad news (#3)-- when the plumbers went to connect the boiler to the water heater, they've discovered the heater is broken. Indeed, it now appears that it was the ruptured water heater that resulted in a five fold increase in pressure within the boiler, blowing it out. And the contractor breaks the bad news that this kind of heater costs $1000 wholesale before he adds on his retail and labour.

Thursday I wait around for the plumbers to show up but about 5 the contractor tells us the specialized heater tank we required is being shipped in from Edmonton, and there is no hope for hot water before Monday.

Saturday, I go out to the deep freeze in the garage to get a loaf of bread, and notice it is not frozen. The door was left open, all our frozen food is gone. Bill, probably another $600 down the tubes. So much for savings through bulk buying.

We drive out to the store to pick up a few groceries. We get back to the car, and Mary asks, "What's that puddle under the car?" Well, judging by the smoke coming out from under the hood... So, towed the car to the garage, a week after paying $375 for tune up and check etc. So hopefully it will turn out to be a hose, not the radiator, but... well, weekend without the car. and waiting for the other shoe to drop -- what next?

And the hell of it is, I know what lead to this run of expensive bad luck -- about a week ago, I turned to Mary and said, "You know, another month, and we'll have cleared off our credit cards....." One should never say something like that out loud, lest the gods take it as a challenge.

But shrug, the kids and Mary are okay, so it's really not anything to get depressed about. No one likes taking that many financial hits in a row, but I'll take a busted boiler over something wrong with one of the kids any day.

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