October 23, 2003

Entropy epidemic

First cold day of the season.

And my damn furnace doesn't work.

Two helpful handymen from the neighbourhood come by and footle with the thing for an hour and a half. No go. House is 62 degrees.

I call a HVAC person -- expensive but super-reliable by all accounts. He dispatches someone due to arrive at 3.00pm. At 2.50pm I take the garbage out back, carefully closing the kitchen door to ensure the cats don't get out. And find that one of the furnace footlers has slipped the lock on the door handle, so I am now trapped in my tiny back yard -- the back gate is locked, with the key in the house. The back door is locked. The dining room window is locked....

So I stand on a garbage can and peer pathetically over my seven foot fence, piping, "Someone please help me" in a muffled way from behind my mask. Feel like one of those ghastly "I've fallen and I can't get up" ads -- a hundred years old.

Luckily a neighbour happens by, and I get her to go round to the front of the house. Front door is, of course, locked, and all neighbours with keys are out at work. Luckily, I have low-security front windows, and the rather large neighbour is able to push one open and clamber in the house, which involves lying down on the front deck and wiggling valiantly forward, pushing furniture out of the way as she goes.

At which time the HVAC guy arrives, to see one ample neighbourly rump disappearing through the front window, me waving vigorously through the dining room window to signal him not to call the police, and two cats trying to get out the open window. (The third cat, Oscar, is arched, hissing and spitting, preparing to attack my good Samaritan neighbour. Luckily I pound on the window and distract him.)

There follows a pure Marx Brothers scene, in which neighbour goes to let HVAC guy in, decides I'm the more urgent case and gallops towards the back of the house. I'm gesturing to her urgently to close the window, so the cats don't escape. HVAC guy is trying to hand neighbour her purse through the window. Neighbour opens front door for HVAC guy, sees him handing her her purse through the window, closes the front door again, stoops to retrieve her purse, thanks him and closes the window on him. Comes thundering back towards the back of the house (she is convinced I'm an incipient pneumonia case, I think), remembers the HVAC guy is still standing on the front porch. Turns round, opens front door for him. He stands there, a little baffled by the entire process so far, while two of the cats canter towards the open front door. I'm yelling, "Close the door! Close the door!", the neighbour is teetering between opening the back door and closing the front, the HVAC guy is teetering between fleeing for his life and extending a helping hand to what are clearly two lunatic women, and the cats are sufficiently alarmed by the galumphing and yelling that they pause in their escape bid.

Eventually, all resolved itself with no cat loss and an enhanced reputation for eccentricity. Pretty good outcome, all things considered.

Once safely at work, HVAC guy finds that my breaker box was in a fine state of disarray, with one breaker having arced so often, the metal is half burned away. Erp. He gets the heat going. He gets talking, as HVAC guys do. Turns out he's a Master Reiki Practitioner and is going to work on my Energy Levels tonight, using Healing at a Distance Techniques, while he's substitute teaching an evening class in Air Conditioning.

Somehow, the disarming absurdity of this cheered me up no end, and my Energy Levels came back up to their old selves. Cooked dinner with a friend -- the first time I really cooked since I got home. Sesame stir-fry of pork tenderloin, red and green peppers, ginger, and onions. Just having had the energy to cook it myself made the meal delicious. Such a treat.

G'night all!

Posted by maddy at October 23, 2003 07:05 PM

Yes, in Philly, yet. I might expect it in San Francisco, but Philadelphia?

Did it help, Maddy? Although you never know, teaching the AC class might have disturbed his focus somewhat.

Still, isn't amazing how sweet people can be unexpectedly?

Posted by: Vicki at October 24, 2003 08:03 AM

My mind boggles at the thought of a furnace repairman who is a Master Reiki Practitioner.

Posted by: Alice at October 24, 2003 12:26 AM
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