Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Late Post

I had planned to post this on December 7th - you see how much attention I pay to dates now don't you - and I don't remember what happened but I didn't get it done then. But I thought about it again today and decided since it wasn't exactly a patriotic post it wouldn't hurt then if I put it up now, like almost two weeks after the anniversary, would it? I certainly hope not.

This is a true story - couldn't have made this up if I'd tried ya know.

Back in October of 1979, my Mom died. My ex-husband and I were separated at the time and I decided I was going to move into my Mom's house, which had been put into my name about 13 years earlier. My Mom's house -which had also been my Grandparents' home - was right next door to the house my ex-husband and I had built so as moves go, it sure wasn't that much distance to be traveled.

But, considering all the things that went wrong, I sure am glad it was as short a piece as it was too.

Prior to moving into the old homestead, I had an electrician come in and do some rewiring work - adding outlets in the bedrooms, the living and dining room, sunporch and kitchen . I had him put in special outlets too that would handle the larger refrigerator I had, my freezer and the electric stove I planned to get to replace the old gas stove Mom and my Grandmother before her had used for probably at least forty years or more.

The kids and I started moving clothes and stuff over, drawer by drawer, bags, boxes - you name it for about a week prior to when I actually planned to move in here. My former next-door neighbor, Susie (whose older sister was married at that time to my ex-husband's brother) came over and with her and my older daughter helping me, we moved the furniture over here and put Mom's old furniture in the other house.

I set the date when we would actually physically move in here to be December 7th, 1979 and the day before that, I had a delivery of fuel oil set up to fill the tank so we'd have a full tank of heating fuel to begin our residency here. The 7th of December I had all kinds of things scheduled to be done - the cable guy was to come and install the tv cable line. I had purchased a new refrigerator from a local furniture store which was to be delivered on Dec. 7th as well as a new stove from Sears, also to arrive that day. The sales rep at Sears had assured me their delivery personnel would remove and totally disconnect the gas stove and tanks and install the new stove for me.

The first item to arrive was the refrigerator. It was slid into place beside the freezer I had managed to get moved over -thanks to my daughter and the neighbor's daughter -plugged in, no problem. Then came the guys from Sears. They quickly disconnected the old stove and the tanks, put the new stove in place and turned to me asking if I had a "pigtail."

"A what?" I asked, unsure I had heard them correctly. They explained to me that an electric range needs to have a "pigtail" which is a heavy-duty electrical cord to connect the range to the 220 volt outlet I had had installed.

I was still confused.

"You mean to tell me that the stove has to have this type of cord to operate and yet, it doesn't come with said cord attached?"

The deliverymen both grinned at me and with a tad of cockiness in their voices, said "Nope, you have to order that and purchase it separately."

Great, just great! Here it is too late in the afternoon to get over to the Sears store and purchase a pigtail but then, a flash of genius hit me. "Does it have to be a 'Sears' pigtail or will one attached to any other stove work too? I asked them. And, I was told that would not be a problem if I happened to have a pigtail lying around, they could use it to hook things up.

So, I went next door to the house I was moving out of and removed the "pigtail connected to it, brought it back to the house and the guys hooked it to the stove and plugged it in.

I turned the stove on to check it out and to my surprise, nothing - not one single thing happened. What the heck? A brand new stove, old pigtail, but no current apparently. So I called the electrician to explain the situation to him and he said he'd be right down.

Meanwhile, as all this was going on upstairs in the kitchen, the cable guy (No, his name to my knowledge was not Larry) was down in the basement running the cable wire to get that installed for the kids and me.

All of a sudden I heard him mutter "Uh oh. I think we have a problem." and I ran to the cellar door to see what was going on there and the smell of fuel oil was wafting up the steps to greet me.

Another What the heck moment as I descended the stairs to see fuel oil running out of the one branch of tubing that hooked into the furnace. Seems the Cable guy had accidentally stepped on that piece of tubing which in turn, had snapped off, right at the hook-up site into the furnace. Oil was rapidly running across the basement floor and down into the drain in the next room over of my cellar.

So, I had to rush upstairs and call the furnace repair guy who came down, looked at the situation and announced he didn't have a valve with him or at his shop to use on the tubing -he would have to order it and it wouldn't be in until at least the next day. He ended up grabbing a five gallon bucket, let it fill with almost five gallons of fuel and then rigged up a hose from the bucket to the furnace so we could have heat for the house as well as hot water till he could get the part and get it put on there the next day.

The Cable guy called his boss and explained to him what had happened. By that time, over half of the fuel oil I'd had delivered the day before was gone - down the drain. The entire house smelled to the high heavens of fuel oil too. But the owner of the cable company assured me he would pay to have a full tank of fuel delivered to me at his expense.

The electrician then finally arrived and it turned out the only problem was that when he had installed a new circuit breaker box and put in the new outlet to accommodate the range, he had neglected to turn the power on to that breaker switch - a minor problem, corrected in about five minutes.

But that's house my first night back in my homestead, the house where I'd made my entry into the world 35 years before, began!

It was, for me, kind of like Pearl Harbor on a smaller scale, all over again!

And now, with these two little grandchildren here, getting into all kinds of things all the time, there seems to be a revisiting of Pearl Harbor on some scale or other almost every day!

And ya know what - I wouldn't have it any other way!


Travis said...

That's a great story!

Meloncutter said...

Dang. 1979. December. I was just getting ready to leave home to tour on the road with a band. We hit 26 states in 6 months playing every night but Sundays.

That was a wild time for all I think. I might have to break out the pictures later and look at them.


Later Y'all.

Patois said...

I was so afraid this was going to end in an explosion!

fermicat said...

I was half expecting to read about an explosion, or at the very least a fire. Glad it all worked out in the end!

Dianne said...

Yep, I too was waiting for the explosion - I kept squinting at the monitor as if there'd be special effects. So glad it all worked out. Isn't it amazing how stuff that seems impossible to deal with always makes a great story later.

Ponderer said...

Glad it turned out as it did could have been nasty.

Cariboo Ponderer

Theresa said...

My best friend and her husband, moved from a condo they were renting to a condo they bought, 4 doors down. I think the fact there was no moving van required- they believed the move would be simple-not! They began with about 4 hours left to go, we ended up throwing stuff in garbarge bags with no order to them which made upacking a bear.

I do miss the house I grew up in- my parents sold it- and even though I know the people who bought it, I have never gone in it again.

Smalltown RN said...

I have heard that the hardest moves are often the tend to not pack the way you would if you knew you were travelling some sounded so organized...but you know what they layed plans of mice and the rest I was waiting for the explosion....sounded rather risky.....I am glad all turned out for you.....what a wonderful story...thank you for sharing....

Debo Blue said...

I kept thinking, "Uh-oh" but I'm glad there's a happy ending.

Will you explain to a Desert Baby what a fuel tank is and why you need one in your house?

dr sardonicus said...

You're lucky those jokers didn't burn your house down. sounds like the house survived to be handed down to future generations.

Meloncutter: In December 1979 I was a college radio DJ. Any chance your band was somebody I might have heard of?