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“Do you actually have to take notes for this?”

I tried just a little to mask my sarcasm, soften my voice just a little, tried to discover a bit of amusement in the fact that my wife was standing next to me taking notes on a notecard while I showed her how to use a back up battery to jump start the family van. 

“This is just like using jumper cables and the battery posts are color coded with those felt discs.  See?  Connect the cables, turn the dial on the box to jump start, and give the battery a minute or so to build up a charge.”

My wife was feverishly drawing a diagram on the note card.  In 21 years, I have shown her how to jump start a car many, many times.  The thought ran through my head that I had best not die.  Anything breaks or quits in the house, my wife would be lost without me.  Clueless is probably a more accurate word.

Last night I dealt with the furnace repair man, my concession after spending Sunday messing with the furnace, conceding after confirming that the ancient 30 year old contraption (the nameplate screamed 1983 at me when I looked at it) was literally breathing its last breaths.  I had hoped that the repair man could at least provide a cheap fix to help us limp through the winter.  He confirmed my worst fear.  The control circuit board was failing, a part that costs in the neighborhood of $700.  The heat exchanger was old and rusted but not rusted through.  A new furnace will cost far more than I want to consider right now, but will probably have to try.  Even with financing, if we can get financing, $4000 is too much even if spread out over a few years.  I understood what the repair man was telling me, thanked him and paid him the service fee, told him I would look into my options (probably will have to find a way to do the replacement myself).

When I broke the news to my wife, suddenly she became an expert, wanted to tell me what was wrong with the furnace.  The woman who just that morning had refused to deal with a repairman during the day instantly knew what was ailing. 

“Oh, my sister knows somebody who had the same problem and they just replaced a switch.”

“Uh huh”

Don’t get me wrong, but let me take notes while you take apart our furnace and figure out what is wrong…..