Saturday morning it was cold in the house when I got up. Thermometer said 54 inside. I made a face, started the fire, started coffee and huddled under a blanket to read my morning comics. Half an hour later my brain suddenly kicked me and I realized that if the house was 54 inside then the furnace wasn’t working (we keep it set to 60). A check of the thermostat confirmed it was reading the same temp, and that the furnace was indeed not kicking on.
While we were waiting for the repair guy to show up for the Saturday emergency call I got a phone call from my mother. My grandfather had been in the hospital since before Christmas with pneumonia (which I’d known), but he’d taken a turn for the worse and his lungs had shut down. The family doesn’t believe in extra ordinary measures, so he’d been given two days to live.
A check of every airline and travel site I could think of netted me 0 tickets out of Syracuse on Saturday, and 1 on Sunday….to the tune of $3k. Maxing out the credit cards was certainly an option, but with unknown repairs needed to the furnace $3k was out of the question. Tickets flying out Monday were much more reasonable, but still not plentiful. My mom called me back to say that the earliest they could get out of Boston was Sunday. I told her that when she got there to take an evaluation of what was going on and I’d decide what to do then. If they were saying he was holding on well and might last another couple days I’d get a ticket out then. If not, well, I’d arrange to come down for the service.
The furnace repair guy arrived, turns out that the only thing wrong was us being new to home-ownership and furnace maintenance. The furnace was fine, the feed line from the tank is just short enough that it won’t pick up fuel when the level in the tank drops below about 7 inches…..fee for the repair guy $120, and another $100 or so for kerosene from the local gas station to get us through to our scheduled delivery next week.
I took a deep breath and went back to looking at flights out. Called my work to give them a heads up that I might be calling out with no notice at some point this week due to a family emergency.
About 6pm Saturday my mother called to say that my grandfather had died. Even if I’d been able to get a flight out within an hour of her first call I’d have likely still been in the air when she called the 2nd time. So now I’m waiting to find out when the service will be. He wanted to be cremated and did NOT want any huge service or ceremony, so likely it’ll be quick. Its still up in the air as to whether I’ll make it down or not. Planes are flying, but with the cold sweeping the country who knows how long that’ll last, and what it’ll do to the ticket availability……