Thursday, October 6, 2016

The furnace is beeping.

Nearly 40 years ago, we lived in a split level house in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, the town where Jesse Ventura was mayor from 1991 to 1995.

When we moved into our home on Yellowstone Trail in the summer of 1978, my favorite wife was a stay at home mom. At the time, our son was less than 2 years old, and his sister joined the family a little more than a year later.

While at work one day, I got a call from my panic stricken wife, who breathlessly told me that the furnace was beeping. You and I both know that furnaces don’t beep, but I decided that the best way to resolve the problem was to leave work early and sort out the issue. When I got home, I immediately went to the basement, and patiently waited for the furnace to beep again. In a minute or so, I heard a beep, but quickly discovered that the sound was coming from the BATTERY OPERATED smoke detector mounted on the ceiling. As you know, they beep when the batteries are running low.

Although today is our 44th anniversary, I decided to go into work today, since it was an easy $45 for only half a day of work. At about 9:30, my phone rang. On the other end was my panic stricken wife, who breathlessly told me that the refrigerator in the garage (which was LOADED with a lot of frozen food that we had recently purchased) was not working.

Now for a little background. ….

When we moved into our current home in Tucson, we brought along the beer refrigerator that I had received from Sharon when I turned 60, and plugged it into the outlet in the garage. A few months later, we acquired a full size refrigerator from some friends who lived in Rincon West, a retirement community on the west side of town. Since they simply wanted to scale down a bit, they gave us the refrigerator for free. We plugged the new refrigerator into the same outlet that the beer refrigerator was plugged into, and placed them side by side in the garage.

A few months later, we came back from a trip to Mesa, and discovered that neither refrigerator was working. I quickly discovered that the ground fault circuit breaker in the outlet on the side of the garage had tripped, shutting down the power on that circuit. Naturally, all the food in the freezer was no longer frozen, and had to be tossed out.

To minimize the possibility of having the power go out without warning, I installed a night light in the outlet on that side of the garage so that we could tell at a glance if the power had gone out again. Thinking that it was possible that both refrigerators had kicked in at the same time and overloaded the circuit, I moved the beer refrigerator to the back porch. A few months after that, the beer refrigerator shut down, and I discovered that it had an electrical short. At that point, we got rid of it.

When I got home this morning, the night light on the side of the garage was on, and the refrigerator light was also working when you opened the door – and that’s when I heard “the rest of the story”.

As it turns out, Sharon discovered (upon further investigation) that the night light had burned out. When she had investigated the refrigerator before, she had opened the freezer door rather than the refrigerator. When she didn’t hear anything running, she naturally assumed that the refrigerator had stopped working, even though (as you know) the compressor does not run constantly. Had she opened the refrigerator door, she would have noticed that the light was on, but that would have made for a far less entertaining story.

Needless to say, all is well, and we didn’t need to call an electrician or buy a new refrigerator. I DID chuckle a bit, and gave her a couple of quick hugs to let her know that I appreciate her, even though we occasionally drive each other crazy.

Happy anniversary, Sharon.

I love you.

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