Over the last couple of years, we have been working hard to get our very large debt paid off. Squeezing every nickel and penny. Cutting back on frills. Trimming the phone extras. Clipping the DVR extras on cable. Turning off lights, putting the thermostat down in the winter, up in the summer. Parking the car when it’s not working until we save the money to fix it. Making and following a real budget. Ok, I admit it, we are Dave Ramsey-style weird, chipping away at our large debt and working toward Financial Peace. But this isn’t about Dave Ramsey, this is about false economy.
In early June, it can still be chilly in Vermont. This year, it was quite warm in May. June turned wet and cold. A couple of nights were pretty chilly, but we resisted the urge to turn on the furnace. One evening, my granddaughter got into the shower and turned the hot water on. I could hear her singing in the shower and laughing while she soaped up. Suddenly, chirp, chirp, chirp, this noise came. I couldn’t place where it was at first. I started walking around the house. Then louder and more incessant beep, beep, beep. I opened the cellar door, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP. That’s where the noise was coming from. I sent my husband and son-in-law to find out what it was. I thought perhaps the smoke detector had some problem and maybe needed a new battery. No, it was the carbon monoxide (CO) detector. My son-in-law reached over and flicked the emergency shut-off on the furnace. In a few moments, the racket from the device stopped.
Our daughter stuck her head in the bathroom and advised the granddaughter to finish up before the hot water was gone. She was just getting out. Daughter didn’t hesitate. She stripped her clothes off and took what has to be the quickest shower of her life, finishing just as the water ran out. That was a Thursday. It was Tuesday before they could come to fix it. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday with no hot water. Sponge baths from water heated on the stove are an interesting adventure with four adults, a teenage boy, and two preteen girls.
Luckily, it wasn’t the middle of the night in the winter, we had an CO detector, and the batteries were good. The placement of the CO detector worked good for catching a furnace problem, but we could easily have slept through it. This year, I made a boo-boo. I didn’t pay good attention. I tried to push it this year, and may even have skipped it last year. In short, we could have lost us all.
So now, the furnace is all tuned up, there’s a new CO detector upstairs, and a notebook with notes about when the furnace was cleaned, what was done, and when the batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors where changed. Don’t be a hard head. Learn from my mistake.