Monday, November 03, 2008

As pitiful as possible--sometimes works

By late last Thursday the furnace was running. That was exactly when it warmed up outside too! It was a long cold week. I put a 6' cushion on the floor, had a little electric heater running right next to it, and rolled up like a mummy every night in two heavy quilts. Still, I didn't sleep well. It was like camping INside, cold, and once I got internally chilled it was hard to shake it. Typing the reports for work on the computer was a chilly task.

The furnace repair guy came numerous times. He ran diagnostics and couldn't find out why the furnace blower wouldn't come on. By Tuesday night he was saying I needed to buy a new furnace. My reply was, with what? I'd been out of work all summer, taking money from my (meager) retirement account to survive. "Oh just use your credit card." he said. Yeah right, I ran that up too. Normally I pay the balance off each month but couldn't all summer, of course. I was just desperate enough to swallow my pride (along with lots of hot tea to stay warm) and try to be as pitiful as possible. I wanted him to find out what was wrong and to FIX it, not just have me buy a new furnace.

Well, I guess it worked because the repair guy spent hours on the phone to a supplier who had him try this and that. After a long, late night he finally discovered that it was the ignition that was not working. So that was replaced for about $400 total, parts and all the repair time. That was a lot of money but it could have been far worse. A new furnace would have been thousands, plus the installation cost.

Pitiful didn't work in getting my Mom her new identification card, though. I brought her to the Dept of Motor Vehicles with a valid driver's license from the nearby state and her social security card. Nope, they wouldn't take those "because of the terrorists" The guy at the counter said that Mom has to bring her birth certificate and get, this, her MARRIAGE certificate, along with those other documents to get an ID. Yikes, like an 82-year-old woman who can barely walk could be a terrorist, yeah right.

Mom was horribly disappointed and said that she has NEVER missed voting in an election since she was old enough to vote! She was born in the state where she's living now (moved to assisted living situation this summer) And even though the neighboring cities are called "The Twin Ports" and she had a valid Driver's license, proof of her current residency, and me to vouch for her--the man at the counter just shrugged. "Nope, I can't do that. There are rules." Some awfully STUPID rules, in my mind. It made me so angry, not only for my Mom but for other people who are not being allowed to vote.

Well, Mom is very organized and found her marriage certificate, of nearly 60 years ago, faded and yellow. We can stop at the Courthouse and get (I hope) her birth certificate even though she was born in a different county. Today is the last day she can get her ID. I'm devoting today to trying to do that. Wish me luck!

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Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Why does voting always seem to be a shambles down there?

10:38 AM  
Blogger Molly said...

I think it's the stupidity of people entrusted with the job of enforcing the rules that is the real problem! Good luck! I'm hoping your mom gets to cast her vote....

12:45 PM  
Blogger Walker said...

Red tape should be used to hang people who make some of those rules.
You'd think with there would be a little common sense left but no they rather make people run around for nothing when they have what they need.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Walker said...

Oh and the furnace guy is a lazy shit for telling you to buy a new furnace.
I bet he gets a percentage on the sale

2:01 PM  
Blogger Grant said...

If the furnace dies again, just set the house on fire and collect the insurance. And good luck with the ID. If your mother has to pick it up in person, tell her not to shout "Praise Allah!" until after she gets the card.

2:29 PM  
Blogger BikerCandy said...

You know my hubby has to deal with "The Patriot Act" all the time. People get so pissed off at him, like he was the one that made that law. It affects more than just getting an ID by the way. It trickles down to even changing your address to get your bank statements. Gotta love it...all because of those damn terrorists.

As for the furnace, although $400 is a lot of money, I'm so glad they got it fixed and you didn't have to come up with thousands for a new one. I can't stand people that just automatically say "buy a new one." Not everyone has that luxury. Good for you for making him look harder.

4:18 PM  
Blogger Dick said...

Having heat is good, especially during winter. The cost isn't too bad but I don't understand why he didn't just contact the manufacturer the first time he was there.

I hope you were able to get what you needed for your Mother but I'll bet the birth cert was not available from the wrong county. If they wanted to be real helpful they probably could have contacted that other county and had them fax the cert. But, maybe it worked ok.

7:08 PM  
Blogger Michael Manning said...

My Mom cast her vote and at her age there was no stopping her. However, she was not treated badly as I feel your Mom was. Those idiots! I couldn't believe they actually wanted her birth certificate!!

I was very concerned about your furnace. After rebuilding my Mom's home after Dad died, I kept thinking "Change the thermal coupling with the ignition piece". (((HUGS))) for your kind words about dear Gunner. It meant a lot, PBS! Hot Cocoa and much luck on an interim job! My Best to you!:)

8:59 AM  
Blogger dan said...

i feel bad that you are struggling for heat when I am on the south east coast of spain getting a tan.

2:15 AM  
Blogger Gypsy said...

Thank goodness you got your furnace fixed as there is nothing worse than being cold.

It's bureauocracy gone mad isn't it when they treat a dear old lady that way? I hope she gets to cast her vote in the end and that sanity and common sense prevails.

2:57 AM  
Blogger Ordinary Girl said...

I hope your mother got her ID card.

They weren't checking ID cards at the polls where I was, only checking the name on the rolls and requiring a signature. Hmmm...

And I'm glad you're warmer now too. Friday we might get snow. Our air conditioner is still on the fritz though. I know the apartment office thinks I'm crazy, but it gets over 80 in our apartment every afternoon due to everyone running their heat.

9:23 AM  
Blogger Gypsy said...

I couldn't find an email address for you so I just wanted to stop by and tell you that my new blog address is

I still post at The Theme Park but not at Gypsy anymore.

Hope to see you soon.

8:43 PM  
Blogger PBS said...

When I voted it was just checking on the rolls, too, quick and simple. But my Mom moved to the neighboring state this summer and had to REGISTER to vote. That's where the problems come in--it's a whole different story than voting when already registered.

8:14 AM  
Blogger Dotm said...

Some furnace guys are terrible. I once called one who came telling me he had to miss the end of the TV movie he was watching and he better be back home in time to see his other movie. I would have kicked him out and looked for another furnace if i wasn`t so sick at the time. my husband was in the hospital- just came out of a coma and we were both suffering with carbon monoxide poisoning at the time. We thought we just had the Flu in the beginning. We never had that repair man again.
Glad you got your fixed. We ended up buying a new one.
Hope you Mother got things straightened out so she was able to vote. That stinks when they put an older person through all that.

2:45 PM  

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