By Extension

extension cord 1010

My bio-rhythms must have been down yesterday (and perhaps still today). Life just wore me out, for no good reason at all.

It started with a completely deflating phone call from the fireplace installer. His boss had finally called Monday (and had trouble reaching me because our phones at work were out once again — it’s a testament to this company, not a good one, that when you say to someone else in town, “We have IC Connex” by way of explanation, they all nod knowingly) and she scheduled a service call for Thursday morning.

This is because the fan for our fireplace has a mind of its own and doesn’t respond to any command issued from the remote. It goes on when it wants, usually about 20 minutes after the flames have been activated, and turns off whenever it feels like, usually about an hour and a half after the flames have been “doused.” The fans were supposed to come with six speed settings, and they operate on one.

The fireplace people did not leave me with an instruction book for the remote, but I managed to find it on-line, and it showed a part that looks like a series of three outlets and one other attachment. I did not find that part down where all the pilot light stuff is, but there’s a manual on-off switch for the fireplace in a really awkward spot below in the base (very convenient for old people with bad knees), and maybe it’s behind there and not hooked up.

But then the installer called and said he was mistaken when he showed me the fan controls on the remote — they don’t apply to our fireplace. So he won’t be coming tomorrow and the fan is always going to do whatever it wants and never what we want.

I asked why it’s on the remote, and he assured me it’s Regency’s generic remote. So we have this extravagant Star Trek-looking thing, and really about all we can do with it is turn the fire off and on, same as we could do with the switch that’s three feet away, only down at ground level. I guess we can adjust the flame, so there’s a minimal purpose to the remote.

But I don’t know if I believe him. I can’t help but harbor a suspicion that the part with three outlets just didn’t get installed and they don’t want to mess with it. I tried consulting the instruction manual, and it doesn’t show this part, but looking at the instruction sheet for the switch they don’t seem mutually exclusive. But the local company isn’t going to talk to me about this. I can try Regency, maker of the fireplace (more likely, a label for something produced elsewhere), or maybe the man who recently left the fireplace place to strike out on his own. But not when my bio-rhythms are down.

It was just discouraging. Once again we were told that something we spent a large amount of money on would function in this high-end fashion, only to learn that oh, sorry, that’s not the way yours works. Like my steam shower, which last week again tripped a breaker and the pins of the steam generator itself.

I watched the electrician install a breaker with more amps, although he told me he’d be here at least an hour, possibly two, so Oz and I went for a walk and then he finished and left while we were gone, so I don’t know if the breaker got tested. I used the steam function three or four times before the new breaker blew.

Yesterday I went to my new electrical co-op armed with series of questions. I would call it only partially successful, although it turned out October is “member appreciation month,” so I got a free extension cord. (I had to read the poster and ask for mine, but I got it.) And I saw my friend Joanne, whom I first met way back at the Times when she worked in production and her son celebrated his first birthday. He’s probably a grandfather by now.

So that was all exciting, but it turned out none of my electric car questions could be addressed because “the other Ally” is out of the office all this week, according to the Ali who works at the front counter. And my questions about rebates for Energy Star appliances would be answered by Alantha, who appeared to be in her office, but no one summoned her, so I am left on my own to figure out how I make the case for being within the 120-day limit when the appliances were purchased in some month that starts with M (March or May, it’s all a blur now) but not installed until August.

They did fetch Roger for me to discuss our multitude of electrical issues, and he not only remembered talking to me a year ago, which I remembered, but what we talked about (which I had to be reminded of), so that was impressive. And then with one phone call he asked Bruce to produce some report that showed any anomalies on our line since service has started, and Bruce arrived within minutes. Technology!

Bruce’s report showed one spike, in September, but nothing conclusive. Roger suggested I hang on to Bruce’s report and carefully document any further anomalies. If they continue, they will put something on our line to monitor it. And I got a free extension cord, just like the one I needed and bought at Ace a couple weeks ago. It’s true: timing is everything.

I have just now tried my steam shower once again, and this time got not only a tripped breaker but also the smell of something burning. I’ve checked: there’s no fire, but I’m pretty sure at this point I’ve purchased a steam shower with no steam.

So, a remote control that’s not in control of much of anything, a steam shower that doesn’t steam, a bigger house that can’t house all our stuff (no matter how I rearrange the garage, it doesn’t make the stuff smaller) — and my bio-rhthyms are down. It’s a great way to start the day, let me tell you.

One thought on “By Extension

  1. Now that we are back from vacation, we are happy to come fix your garage. We can make it so it fits what you want, and both your cars. We’ll not only bring the stuff, we’ll even install it. You just have to give us to go (and some measurements).


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