It hasn't been too cold yet here in Minne-SNOW-ta, but a couple of nights last week were furnace worthy in my opinion. In spite of the thermostat being set at 72, I woke up shivering. The temperature went as low as 59 in the house before it occurred to me that perhaps the furnace wasn't working. I alerted Steve, who usually can fix anything. His first response was to ask if the gas had been shut off. Now, I'm not in the habit of having utility companies shut off service for nonpayment, so I became quite indignant. He reminded me that the fireplace wasn't working either, and that he wasn't hinting about a delinquency problem on my part, perhaps there was a problem with the line, that's all. I told him that the gas dryer in the mudroom worked just fine, so clearly that was not the issue.
He finally took a look at the furnace yesterday, and determined that it was beyond his ability to diagnose. Given that the furnace is only three years old, I was quite peeved that a service call was necessary. But, I called the installation company and they sent a repairman out. I worked from home and waited for him to arrive.
The dogs announced his arrival, and I led him to the basement. He took the cover off of the furnace while Nori repeatedly threw a tennis ball at him. He asked me to turn on the thermostat, and I went upstairs to do so. By the time I got back downstairs, he said the combustion blower wasn't turning and it could be a bird caught in there. He claimed to have fished three of them out this season already.
"A bird? How would a bird get in there?" Let me clarify my horror at this point. I am an avid birdwatcher. When I was a wee lass, my uncle gave me a copy of a Peterson's Field Guide and I not only treasured it, but I committed it to memory. I'm a little rusty these days, but I can still ID birds with relative ease. I have five feeders set up in my backyard, one bluebird house, three birdbaths and a pair of binoculars always at the ready. In spite of my love of the ornithological, being anywhere near a bird scares the living shit out of me. I don't want to touch them, I wouldn't want one as a pet, and dead ones freak me out more than live ones-well, not the tasty chickens and turkeys that I buy in sterile packaging from the grocery, just real...dead...ones...with...feathers.
The repairman answered me, "They come in through one of the vent openings outside and follow this three inch pipe, right into the furnace."
My eyes followed the pipe. "But, that's a long distance-do they just hop, hop, hop all the way through?" My skin was literally crawling at this point.
"Yep. Oh, look-I was right-it's a bird. You got a bag?"
full body shudder "Ogodogodogod. Yes, here's two bags." wringing my hands, trying not to think of the carcass. "Can you please take it out to the curb, the garbage can is still out there? I'll pay you extra." Really shrewd negotiating skills like that constantly leave Steve wondering how I ever made a career out of selling houses for six years.
The repairman could tell I was sufficiently creeped out-perhaps because I was seriously close to tears. I told him about my phobia in spite of my birdwatching hobby, and how I found it totally perplexing. He reflected that I must have seen "that movie" and it scarred me. I actually think it might be Alfred Hitchcock's fault. I did see The Birds when I was about five or six years old. My family was staying at my aunt's house in Kentucky, and it must have been on one of those Saturday afternoon matinees. For whatever reason, I watched that movie and it made an impression. The scene I remember the most is the elderly person's body in the rocking chair with the eyes pecked out. It also doesn't help that my mother is the most superstitious person in the world where birds are concerned. She always said, "If a bird gets in the house, it means there will be a death in the family." Well, twice I remember that happening when I was young and you can imagine the damage that will inflict on a child's subconscious.
An hour later, I'm just about over my skin crawling feeling when the dogs whine to be let out. I walk toward the front door, and my eye is drawn to the floor....
FINALLY! I was beginning to think the poison didn't work on mice either. Jesusmaryandholysaintjoseph! How much can a girl take in one day?