The day started pretty normally. The furnace went off and heated the place up nicely, then turned off. I decided to lounge for a bit before getting up, and wasn't surprised when, a few minutes later, the furnace turned on again. It does that sometimes. What it usually doesn't do is make a weird click sound and shut off immediately afterward. But it does do weird things sometimes, so I didn't think too much of it -- until I thought I smelled something funny. *sniff* *sniff* No, scratch that, I definitely smell something funny.
Opening my bedroom door I was greeted by billowing clouds of acrid white smoke. After a brief moment of "ack, what do I do?" I managed to get clothes on, call 911, and grab a few valuables before evacuating the house (thank you calm person with 911 who pointed out that leaving and waiting for the professionals was the best idea) and going out to flag down the firemen. After about twenty minutes of fuss the culprit was found to be a pair of wires in the furnace that melted. So in the end there was lots of smoke but no fire. All's well that ends with a bit of a bad smell and a dead furnace. I can cope with that.
(I feel, now that we know what the problem was, a bit silly for calling the fire department. But I'm happier that they came and checked to make sure there were no hot spots in the walls.)
The furnace was older anyway, and has been on the list of "things to replace when I have copious amounts of spare cash" since I moved in nearly five years ago anyway. I've been expecting it to conk out at some point in time, and really am pretty pleased about the timing. It doesn't get better than dying in the spring when the weather's mostly warmed up, on a sunny weekend morning when it's light, not wet, and I had the time to deal with it without worrying about needing to get to work or whatever.
My folks were planning on coming by to do yardwork later on in the day anyway, so I called them to tell them I was up and they could come over any time. They came over and finished helping me take out the BBQ grill that I've disliked since I moved in but have never gotten around to taking out, along with removing the screen door. The firemen had done something to it so it stopped hanging right. Given that it tries to beat people up whenever they come in or out, I figure removing it is the best option for the moment. Later on it will need to be either repaired or replaced. But for now, it's not annoying me, and I support this.
We then called a friend of mine over who, unlike me, has no problem with heights and bribed him into helping take out the patio cover that I've been talking about removing since I moved in while I went and worked on removing the Mystery Pole (tm) that's been mysterious and in need of removal since I moved in. The patio cover, it turns out, is being help up there largely by gravity and little else. One good earthquake will certainly make it collapse, and may very well damage the house wall as well when it comes down. Now that we've started, I can't wait to get it out.
So there's a lot of meltdown around my home at the moment. The backyard looks like a complete wreck, and the furnace still smells bad. But I am happier about it now than I've been in a good long time. And next week is neighborhood cleanup, which means all the brick rubble and patio cover debris can go out on the street on its way to its next life. And then I can get down to the serious work of planning the next step.
racerxmachina, would you be willing to yield the honor of removing the passion vine to my father? He's been eyeing it and making cutting noises.