Head First: From the White House to a black house.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

From the White House to a black house.

I took the missus to our nation's capital for a dazzling Valentine's weekend. It's only a couple hours' drive from here. I wish we made the trip more often. If you haven't already, you must make a trip to D.C. a priority. I'll write more later about the specifics of the trip, because there's much to talk about, including a really cool insider tour of the West Wing (I stole paper towels from the White House toilet), and an equally interesting church service (yes, I went to church) at the National Cathedral. We capped it all off with a beer and a very excellent bowl of oyster stew at Martin's Tavern, in Georgetown (we saw the booth where JFK proposed to Jackie ::sigh::). All in all, a spectacular weekend.

Then we came home.

This isn't really my house
(my house is almost twice as large as this).

As soon as I smelled it, I knew we were in trouble. The whole housed smelled like a fuel truck had overturned and caught fire in the living room. I noticed a patch of black above every vent on my way to the basement. As I descended the cellar steps, I couldn't even see the basement floor for the smoke. It took a minute to get to the furnace and figure out what happened. While we were away, the stove pipe had come disconnected from the chimney fluestack. Every time the heater kicked on, the exhaust from the oil burner spewed into the basement, where the heater fan picked it up and distributed all that soot through the entire house. Every surface in my house is covered by a thin layer of soot. Curtains, carpets, linens, clothing...everything (Oddly, my iMac somehow repelled the filth, standing like a shining beacon of hope on my otherwise grimy desk. Bless you, Steve Jobs.). Every surface, even inside the closets and drawers, has to be cleaned by hand.

So here I blog, from my suite at the Residence Inn, where I will remain until sometime next week. Despite the roaring inconvenience, we recognize that this could have been much worse. No one was hurt, nothing of value was destroyed, and we get to live in a decent hotel for a bit (with a good free breakfast) while someone else gives our house the spring cleaning of its life. All I'm out is a couple grand for the deductible and repairs to the furnace. I'm pretty sure I can recoup my losses from the numbnuts oil guy who last serviced the system and didn't put any screws in the flue connection. I should also take this opportunity to plug State Farm Insurance. I've never had to file a homeowner's claim before, but while they weren't the cheapest guys in town, all that talk about Good Neighbor Service is way more than just talk. So far, I'm very impressed.

I have to go check on the cleaning crew and try to reassemble my wrecked work schedule for the next couple weeks. I'll talk more about the D.C. trip soon. Peace.


Kc said...

I'm thinking it was providence that you were away. I can't imagine what would have happened if you had been home asleep when this occured.

I pray the recovery will be quick and painless and I look forward to hearing more about your trip.

(BTW PC's handle smoke twice as good as MAC's)

dorsey said...

(That's because they generate so much smoke. hehe)

Thanks, kc. I have also wondered what might have been. The Nighthawk carbon monoxide detector, installed directly over a register, was sooted up, but never went off. Be sure that I will be returning the unit to the manufacturer with a strongly worded letter and an obscene gesture.

sandytrif said...

glad that you guys are safe. Like you mentioned, nothing was damaged too badly, and you are all safe. That is the main thing. Things can be replaced but none of you could.

I know it is inconvient to be out of the house, but what fun to be in the hotel. Great family time too~as you are all probably in the same room!!! Put it to good use.

Can't wait to hear about the trip.

mark said...

That sucks, Dorsey. I'm glad it wasn't a whole lot worse.

However, I'm pretty sure this mess fell on you because of your deceitful stealing of presidential paper towels. You'd better clean up your act before Jesus spits out your lukewarm ass.


shelly said...

*snicker* at Mark's comment. ;)

Or maybe it was because you set foot in (omgwtf?) an (eek) actual church building?! ;)

I kid, of course. I'm glad you're all safe and sound. *hugs*

SocietyVs said...

Dorse, this is horrible - but it is good to hear you and your family is safe. I hope that all works out for the best in this situation and that you can have all your stuff back and more. That would totally drive my nuts bonkers to see 'soot' on everything - she'd faint on the spot. Still I am hoping that this all works out for you and it is good to see your attitude is quite upbeat - great perspective.

seƱor jefe said...

Be sure that I will be returning the unit to the manufacturer with a strongly worded letter and an obscene gesture.

You'll probably get a case of them from the manufacturer to put next to your Philips lightbulbs...

RF2R2 said...

Bummer. But you seem to be in good spirits, so that's good. Becky and I will pray for you guys. Hope it all gets sorted out quickly and painlessly.

ninjanun said...

Dorse, I am soooo glad you're all safe and that this happened while you were away. And being the Dorsiest you are, you've managed to find the bright side of the situation. Bravo!

And yes, the part about your mac standing like a shining beacon of cleanliness makes my mac-snobbish heart proud. :)

Have fun at the hotel (do they have cable and a pool or hot tub?). I hope you get all your stuff cleaned up and in good condition asap. :)

Steve said...

Wow, what a story. Scary stuff. Your illustrations make the story.

nakedpastor said...

We use State Farm too, and I've been very very impressed. We had to make a claim years ago for damage in our house, and they totally covered all our needs without question. I like your writing.

Recovering said...

Wow. That royally sucks. But if you lived anywhere near the American Gothic couple (it was painted by an Iowan) you'd have used a natural gas furnace and avoided the trouble...

...I love the Midwest.