Friday, January 21, 2011

The Siberian Express, My Furnace, Jeff the Serviceman and God's Hand

I have an aging Tappan Furnace ( 80% level) that heats my modest raised ranch home on Rockwell Street -over by the tracks on 108th Street in Morgan Park. My son, Conor is taking two HVAC ( Heating, Ventilation & Air-conditioning) classes at the school of the Operating Engineers Local 399 in Chinatown. Chicago has welcomed the Siberian Express - a rigidly frigid Tsunami of Artic air blowing down from the top of the globe - along with the arrival of President Hu Jiangtao of Red China last night at about 5:30 P.M..

When I went to work at Leo High School yesterday morning at 5:30 A.M. my thermostat was set at an economically comfortable 68 Degrees. My raised ranch home was warm because ceiling fans are set on reverse-circulate and bounce the heat back down. I had business downtown and returned home at 8:30 P.M. - my son was at the library, I guess and my daughters were with their aunt preparing for a Cleary family event in Galena. My house seemed cold as well as empty. I checked the thermostat and it was still yet at 68, but the actual temperature was fifty-five degrees. Problem.

I am not the brightest 40 Watt bulb in the corrugated Sylvania box, but I have my moments of lucidity. I went down to the reliable old Tappan Furnace ( 80% level) and checked the pilot - ON! The furnace would not fire. My son was unavailable and I am earnest, but mechanically challenged, especially when wires and gas lines are involved. Lucidity! Call someone! You are out of your element.

I called Around the Town Heating at 116th & Pulaski* and Jeff, a 2006 graduate of Evergreen Park High School arrived in less than twenty minutes. The Siberian Express was insinuating its frosty will through the bricks, mortar, beans and plaster of the House of Hickey.

Jeff got into the Old Tappan. I offered Jeff one of the high-end brownies form Potash Brothers in the Gold Coast that had somehow evaded the grasp of my kids. " Thanks, I'm good. I had a big dinner before the call," Jeff told me without pulling his head out of the bowels of the Tappan. " Go up and dial the Stat all the way down," Jeff ordered. Up, I trundled.

In five minutes, I heard the Tappan fire up and the blower engage. Heated air was coursing through the tin arteries of my home once again. This young man, a skilled tradesman, had honestly, quickly and methodically performed HVAC CPR on the heart and hearth of my home, on the coldest night of the year! God be praised!

"I cleared the clogs from vacuum hose off the draft inducer. and vacuumed out the whole area - no leaks or chipping on the lines, but you have gotten all the years out of this Tappan, your gonna get. Your next problem will be big. Here, sign, this Mr. Hickey," offered the HVAC cardiologist. Here is how Jeff's words tranlate to Pat Hickey ("ew+2πi = ew for any w, since adding iθ to w has the effect of rotating ew counterclockwise θ radians. Even worse, the infinitely many numbers
...); yet, I nodded with conviction.

The cost was modest and the problem could have been life-style changing for a few weeks. I duked Jeff a double saw-buck ($20 in standard lingo and wrote a check to Around the Town Heating .

House Hickey 1 -Siberian Express 0 -thanks to the ringer Jeff. Jeff refused the high-end brownie again.

We take everything for granted and that is the human condition - I am all too human.

A furnace, a sump pump, a human heart can quit or go on the fritz. God holds the warranty on our hearts. God planned our lives, but we are expected to maintain our hearts and souls. How we use our hearts and maintain our souls can not be left to ourselves - we need better people than ourselves to remind us to not only check the pilot lights and replace the filters, but also, like Jeff, to give us fair warning that a big change is needed. The Siberian Express shows up and God helps us with people like Jeff. I went to confession last Saturday and the priest in the box told almost the very same thing that Jeff did.

Around The Town Heating & Cooling Inc.3511 W. 116th Place
Chicago IL, 60655

Chicago Phone: 312-243-9896 4912 135th St.
Crestwood IL, 60445

Suburbs Phone: 708-388-2247


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