The furnace died and it’s very cold in the winter. Fortunately we’d prepared for such events. We have a wood stove. The wood stove heats the house just fine so long as you keep the fire going. If I were home when the furnace died that’s what I’d do. I was not home. I was hundreds of miles away and my teleporter was broke. I suggested a simple approach to my wife: “Keep the fire going and it’s not a problem.” Now, for those of you who plan on trying this remember, simple obvious solutions can often cause people to think you’re a jerk. You have to have the confidence of a rhino to pull this off. Fortunately, I am so endowed.
Our house had multiple sources of heat. That’s no accident. As a genuine survivalist nut-case I’ve been planning for the zombie apocalypse. (Us survivalist nut-cases have secret meetings at the Waffle House…you’re not invited.) I refuse to panic when an appliance fails because it’s just like a drill for the zombie hordes trying to steal my beer. (Yes…I’m that smug.)
I’d already installed redundant sources of heat on the “two is one and one is none” principle. The furnace kindly demonstrated how “two is one” plays out. Wood heat was installed and operational so I merely shifted it from auxiliary to “mission critical”. (We’ve got weak but adequate electric heat which was now our backup of last resort…to be used just before we have to hitch the dog sleds and flee to Dawson).
How wise and intelligent we are to have planned ahead with redundant heat. We deserved a medal! Which brings me to a patented Curmudgeonly Gem of Insight:
“If you wisely plan ahead for uncertainties you will be in a better position when the dreaded events happen.”
At this juncture I experienced an irony of preparedness; even when you succeed it doesn’t look successful. Instead of a wise man who’s functioning backup spared his family hardship and expense, I was perceived as a cheap bastard who should have bought a new furnace. So much for my medal. Gem of Insight time:
“Society lacks the ability to give credit for the wisdom of planning ahead.”
Everyone presumed that the furnace died unexpectedly. Unexpectedly?!? Au contraire! I knew the furnace was old. I’d had it inspected (twice) and knew the score. I counted on it having an unknowable but dwindling lifespan. I planned on running it until it died…which I did. Which brings me to another Gem of Insight:
“To most people, every mechanical failure is always unexpected.”
Everything had gone according to plan. Sadly “according to plan” looked like flat out chaos to everyone around me. I hadn’t anticipated this misunderstanding but I should have. Most Americans are educated in craptacular public schools. Thus the math behind risk and uncertainty is treated like insolvable black magic. (This explains lottery tickets, extended warranties, and political speeches.) I definitely had failed to communicate the probability based concepts of “it will break soon but I’m not sure when”. Damn!