Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The little things about being broke

It's too hot to think.  It's too hot to write about anything other than it being too hot to write.  I have an air conditioner.  I don't dare use it lest I find myself unable to pay my power bill.  Haven't used it in years.

I'm low on socks and underwear.  Hardly the most glamorous purchases in the world.  I don't know if I can afford to buy more.

There may be something wrong with my furnace.  No way in hell I can pay someone to check that out.

The problem is that it doesn't seem to be heating water.  It'll heat the house fine (not that I want it to) but water not so much.  This is at least somewhat strange because the furnace heats the house by heating water.  (Steam powered radiators, you need the water to be hot enough to turn to gas more or less immediately, if it doesn't then the mess is a spectacular catastrophe*) but then the water that it heats is not, as I understand it, the water that is used for hot water.  Instead there's some kind of heat transfer thing that goes on.

I definitely can't afford to have someone come and take a look.  I can hope that the problem passes.  It might; where the water comes from did just change.  (Utilities work ended, all that's left now is to fix the part of the road that had to be dug up, so I'm back to getting water the way it's meant to be gotten instead of the work around, but I don't know if that means that various pipes have to be emptied by use before everything is back to normal.)

If the hot water problem doesn't fix itself then I have no idea how I'll wash dishes as hot water is kind of an important component in every dish washing style I know (though certainly not every dish washing style there is.)  That's a big deal because I have no clean dishes.

For whatever reason my bills all seem to fall at the beginning of the month.  At least I hope they do because if I'm forgetting something I may be screwed.  So today, on the first day of the month, I got all my money for the month and then saw the vast majority of it (85%) disappear just as quickly as I paid bills.  Is there a word for the feeling of, "Yay, I have money!  Wait... no, I don't have money"?

I miss having TV.  Don't get me wrong, I knew being without TV was coming and I prepared damn it.  I've got a giant collection of movies recorded to DVD, for example, but there was something about being able to lay back on the couch, turn on the TV, and browse the channels to see what was on that I miss.  And I miss it even though the vast majority of the time NOTHING was on.  ("Let's see, I've got hundreds of channels, there must be something on.  Nothing on that one.  Nothing on that one." Hundreds of channels later: "How the Hell can there be nothing on ANY of them?")

Even when nothing money related is messing with me it's always hanging over me like a less deadly but no less menacing sword of Damocles.

People keep asking me to chip in $3, I can't.  Oh what a wonderful world it would be if I could afford to chip in three dollars.

I'm tired.  Just in general.

There was more stuff.  I forgot it.


*"Righty-tighty lefty-loosey" is one of the most annoying phrases in the English language and only works if you've agreed on a number of things beforehand (I will be facing in the same direction as the thing, the direction of the upper edge is what I'll use for transforming rotation into linear direction, reverse threaded things don't count, so forth) but if you forget the principle behind it, even once, you can screw things up massively.

Case in point: Every so often the furnace needs new water put into it because it isn't a perfectly closed system and it works by turning water into steam.  To do this you open a valve, look at a water gauge, take into account the speed at which the water is rising, and then attempt to turn off the valve at the exact time it hits a preset marker.  This is because you want it as full as possible (so you don't have to refill it often) without being overfull (which makes it so it doesn't work.)

If it will turn on afterward then your job is done and you can forget about everything.

Unless of course you didn't turn off the valve, if for some strange reason you, for the first and last time in your life, turned the valve counterclockwise when you meant to turn it clockwise.

In that case the furnace will initially turn on, but overfill soon after you've left and the water will keep flowing in, having nowhere else to go it will go where the steam is supposed to go.  Once it's filled the entire heating system for the house it will look for a way out.  And it will find one.  To be clear, the steam isn't technically ever supposed to leave the system.  The steam is supposed to heat metal radiators which, as their name implies, then radiate heat.

However, it would be a very poorly designed system if the steam couldn't leave.  If the steam couldn't leave then it is conceivable that the pressure would build and build and build until something exploded.  Explosions are not something that really goes in the category of "things I want my house to do" so while the steam escaping isn't part of the heating system per se (in that it isn't a mechanism used to heat the house) it is a built in feature to the system as a whole.

And if instead of steam you have water filling the entire system and trying to get out as the pressure builds, the system will not explode then either.  The water will get out the same way the steam would have.

Every radiator in the house will turn into a sprinkler system and the water will be downright nasty.

Trust me, I know.


This is also an example of why curiosity is a good thing and should not just be laid aside.  I felt that there was something strange when it seemed like I didn't have to turn the thing that far to make the water start going into the furnace but then I had to crank it and crank it and crank it before the valve stopped afterward.

If I'd taken the time to explore why the hell that happened I likely would have figured out that it was because I had turned the valve the wrong way the second time and instead of closing it I'd made it as open as possible.

Which would have provoked a reaction of, "Shit, I better turn it the right way and stop the water from going in before something terrible happens," which would have averted the whole mess.  Alas I allowed the matter to go examined and thus catastrophe.

So remember children, if you don't give in to curiosity, your heating system will attack your entire house with ick-flavored water.


  1. :(

    Hugs and hopes for goodness to come.

  2. Oh dear! I do hope everything gets better soon. It's really difficult to try to survive when you have a bit of a money and budget problem. Maybe you can take a look at your furnace’s manual and try to figure out which part of it is a bit off lately? Take care always!
    Adam Payne @ Williams Mechanical

  3. I've heard of people cleaning dishes using dry sand. Don't know how well it works, though. I suspect it would be hard on the dishes.

    Given the hotness, can you put cans of water outside to heat in the sun and then wash the dishes with them?