I almost missed the furnace guy this morning. We had the routine maintenance visit scheduled for this morning, but I wound up taking Elwood to work and forgetting about the appointment, and if we hadn't been delayed by a couple of minutes I would have been on the road instead of backing out of the driveway when the van pulled up. These guys have been servicing our furnace ever since we moved here, so I didn't think twice about letting the tech in and running Elwood to work.
It was just a cleaning, after all.
When I came home I stopped in the basement. "How's it going?" I asked nonchalantly. "...Not so well," said the guy. "You've got a cracked heat exchanger." It turns out that a replacement heat exchanger for our 25-year-old furnace costs $2200 and is not especially easy to track down. It also turns out that if your heat exchanger is cracked, they shut down your furnace with stern warnings. Like, if you choose to turn this furnace back on, you can only do so after you sign a waiver and they leave the premises. Like, you're not going to want to run it at night, at all, because carbon monoxide is too sneaky for you to take any chances.
I said, "I am hosting Thanksgiving dinner for FIFTEEN PEOPLE tomorrow. Also my brother is bringing his children here tonight and I do not want to send them home either charred or poisoned."
He said, "I'm afraid you're going to need a new furnace."
So you guys, here is a weird little tidbit about me: for as long as we have owned a house I have been a little stressed out about the furnace. Is its exhaust working right? Is it going to catch on fire? Is it going to fail in this particular cold snap? When it needs to be replaced, will we have to refinance the house to afford it? Would it be more environmentally responsible to look into geothermal? It's not a high-level anxiety that keeps me up at night, but it has been niggling at me steadily for a long time.
This is lesson #6447813 in the Dread Is Dumb files: God is good. Good in nudging me to schedule the maintenance when I did, good in keeping us safe with a potentially dangerous defect lurking there. Good in helping us to find non-scammy furnace guys whom I trust, who sold us a 96% efficiency furnace at a far lower price than I was expecting. Good as in this morning's kerfuffle was resolved before 3:00 this afternoon-- old furnace out, new furnace in, bill paid. No angst, no decision fatigue, and weirdly, unexpectedly, no stress. It wasn't even all that loud. (Do you hate it when people are banging on your house? It stresses me right out.)
And I am feeling grateful. We had just replenished our house fund (and I mean just, as in last week) after last year's home maintenance adventures, but hey-- we have a house fund. I had been feeling a little uneasy about the mix of people we're expecting tomorrow, but we will welcome them to a warm house.
This morning I woke up at 5 and I couldn't get back to sleep. I was worried about one of my teenagers, and worried that our second car would need new tires, and I finally decided to get up and pray the Office and make pastry instead of lying in bed catastrophizing. The car tires are fine, it turns out. The teenager is much better. None of the things I was fretting about have materialized. When the situation I had been worried about for years suddenly plopped in my lap, God's grace was ample.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow. One of these years I'll get that figured out.