This morning, around 2 AM, I woke to the sound of steam. It was coming out of two tiny holes in a joint in a copper pipe, with some indications there might be a third hole, coming out of my furnace. I turned the thing off and set about contacting the heating guy.
He just left. I may not have a place to live.
So apparently the whole thing with the loose valve was just a symptom of a larger problem anyway. If I hadn't fucked up with turning the valve the wrong way maybe it would have taken longer for things to come to light, but the problem was already there since that's what let me know that there was something wrong which in turn led to me checking all of the valves and finding that one was loose.
It probably happened when I had no heat. The thing probably froze.
Just took a while for it to show it was broken, is all.
Regardless, it needs to be replaced.
What needs to be replaced? The heart of the system. Technically the thing in my basement isn't known as a furnace, it's known as a boiler. It's a confusing name because a part of the system is itself the boiler. The boiler in the boiler.
The boiler is what broke and needs to be replaced.
Initial estimate: $6,000.
Of course that's an estimate from a repair guy who wasn't expecting to find that the most important part of the system, around which everything else is based, was broken. He needs to contact his suppliers to get an exact cost.
He doesn't do financing options because his suppliers like to be paid in cashy-money
I have to suddenly pull 6,000 dollars out of thin air.
I have to find someone who installs boilers on the spur of the moment in this area who does do financing and has an open appointment before the heat already in the house goes away. (And get a down payment somehow.)
I have to resign myself to not having a place to live while draining all of the pipes in my house because the place will freeze and that tends to burst pipes.
My mother is again talking about probably needing to sell the house.
I believe the appropriate term for what I am is "fucked".
Not that I'll be on the street. In all likelihood I'll just have to take my cat and my lizard and move in with an abusive family member.
I think this is goodbye. Hopefully just for now, not for good. But I have no clue how long "For now" will be.
I have been so grateful to everyone who has read here. Thanks.