Sunday, February 14, 2010

The week from Hell and the Knitting Olympics

Well, this has been a rough week! I'm only now relaxed enough to come here and write about it. I had 3 tests last week - was supposed to be 2 on Tuesday, and 1 on Thursday (so, naturally, Wednesday was the designated study day for the Thursday test, right?). But, of course, the weather was bad on Tuesday, and my last class was cancelled by the professor, so the test was postponed until Thursday. So far not a problem, right? I should be prepared for it anyway, since I had studied for it over the weekend. Except that I wasn't really prepared for it, and was stressing out about it, so this just gave me two more days to stress about it.

Then, after a drive to my mother-in-law's to pick up my son (who spent the day with grandma because his school was closed so all the staff could attend the funeral of the 18-year-old son of one of the teachers, specifically my son's kindergarten teacher) and then home that took about 4 times as long as it normally does, I walk into my house to the smell of hot metal and a thermostat that reads about 58 degrees. I go into the basement to see what is wrong with the boiler (we have an oil-fired hot-water heating system), and find water all over the basement floor with the burner going full blast but no hot water being circulated throughout the house (because it was all over the basement floor!). I immediately turned off the system, because the burner was so hot I was surprised it hadn't already burned something down. Then I called my husband (who was out of town until Thursday night) to tell him the happy news. Then I put in an emergency call to the plumbing/heating contractor, who said they would send their "oil guy" out as soon as he was done with call he was currently on.

Dug the two electric space heaters out of the attic and went about getting my son ready for bed and tucked in, then went out to shovel the driveway (that part wasn't actually so bad - I enjoy shoveling snow in the dark. It's very soft and quiet and peaceful). Oil guy got there around 9 pm, when I was trying unsuccessfully to pump some of the water off the floor. Seems the only pump I had available to me was a submersible pump, and because 2" of water wasn't enough to submerge the motor, it kept overheating and cutting out, so I was reduced to using a mop, which was very slow and frustrating.

Anyway, it took him about 20 minutes of looking at various things and trying various things to determine that the reason I wasn't able to see where the water was coming from in the first place was because it was coming from the bottom of the boiler (which was under water, due to the constant flow of the system trying to repressurize itself), where it had cracked. We don't know why it cracked, since it was only 9 years old, and there was obviously water in it, but crack it did, and I needed a new one. Which wasn't going to happen at 9 o'clock at night in a snowstorm.

Thus began night one of no sleep, because I was afraid the electric space heaters were going to burn the house down. But at least we would be moderately warm before they did, and no pipes would freeze.

Fortunately for me, they were able to find an oil-fired boiler in stock with one of their local suppliers, and came out the next morning before 10 to install it (in fact, they began arriving just as I finished shoveling the driveway for the second time, since most of the snow we got - which was only about 10", not a horrible amount - fell overnight). And, of course, because of the snow, my son had no school, which made him extremely happy. So I spent my study day with workmen tromping through my house all day taking out and removing the old boiler and installing the new one, and trying to keep my son busy, and not getting much in the way of effective studying done whatsoever.

And then, to top off a perfect day, the burner controller on the new unit wouldn't fire, so I still didn't have a functioning boiler, and spent another night with the electric space heaters whispering that they were going to roast us in our beds as soon as we relaxed our guard.

Suffice to say that I didn't do as well as I would have liked on either test Thursday (I don't have the grades back yet, but I know - I didn't feel good about either one). My mother in law was able to come to my house to let in the workmen, when they were able to find a new burner unit locally, so as of Thursday night, I had heat again. But by then my week was pretty much a wash.

And the Knitting Olympics? Well, I had thought about joining in the knitting madness, but never signed on for official sanction, either with the Yarn Harlot's crew or on Ravelry for the Ravelympics. It would probably have been setting myself up for failure anyway (that's just my attitude right now, sorry), but I thought I might give it a go. So, I did cast on a project, nothing monumental, but enough of a challenge I think, given that I don't have a lot of time to work on anything lately. I am making myself a pair of "Skew" socks from Yes, they're just socks, but they're really cool socks, and I have some lovely Fibranatura "Yummy" sock yarn I got at a now closed LYS, and I don't really think I'd have time for anything much more ambitious if I'm not going to tank this entire semester. So I cast on Friday night, and I hope to have them done before the closing ceremonies, in the spirit of the season. I'll post pics when I have more progress (I hope).

Thanks for listening - I needed to rant!

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