A cold day in hell

Yesterday, during the blizzard, the furnace started dying again–the second time this winter. I talked to the landlord and he promised to send a repair guy as soon as the travel ban was lifted.

I really like my landlord, but the super, his nephew, is the reason we have the word nepotism: he likes getting his salary, but he never responds to phone or texts, forgets to make promised repairs for months, etc. And of course, the super is the one who comes to meet the repair guy the next day. Luckily, I’m working from home and hear them come in and head to the basement. The super then calls me up and asks me to describe what happened.

“The heat dies and the vents start blasting cold air, sometimes for hours, and because the temperature isn’t rising, it doesn’t shut off. Eventually, the heat kicks back in for a few minutes, which is enough to get the vents to shut off for a bit.”

“Sounds like the way it’s supposed to work,” he tells me, and I hear the relief in his voice. He wants this not to be a problem that needs fixing, so he’s ignoring the first sentence and focusing on the second, which, yes, is the way a furnace is supposed to work. No messy, expensive repair job needed, just a crazy, high-maintenance tenant. The fact that there’s no heat for hours at a time is beside the point.

“Look, I can hear you guys downstairs. Why don’t I come down and talk to you?” I go down and repeat myself to the repair guy.

“Oh, I know what that is,” says the repair guy, and immediately starts hauling out the guts of the furnace while the super looks on unhappily.

A few minutes later, I see the super walking outside, and ask him what it was. Apparently the furnace has two motors, one died, and the other was on the verge of burning out from trying to do the work of both. “So we need a new motor,” he says.

As mildly as possible, I say, “Good to know I’m not crazy.”