My beloved and I get along very well—most of the time. But there are some times when, if others were to hear us talking to each other, they’d swear we were people from two different worlds. Of course in some ways we are, as men and women are quite different in several ways, one from the other.
We married when I was one week shy of my 18th birthday, and he was a much older man of 19½. During our forty-three years together, we’ve raised three children, welcomed seven grandchildren, and buried one of each. There have been times so lean, we used to hunt beer bottles at the side of the road to cash in so we could buy milk and bread for the table. Lately, though we’re not rich, we don’t struggle, financially, at all. We’ve learned how to budget—money, time and differing opinions—and we’ve learned how to not sweat the small stuff.
We haven’t, like some married folks do, drifted apart. That’s not just luck, that’s us working at being married. We talk, we share, we fight and make up, and we understand the concept of compromise. And we make allowances for each other’s...foibles.
A couple of weeks ago, our furnace—that had just turned twelve years old—broke down, again. It broke down in the coldest part of the winter in 2013, and cost us over a thousand dollars to fix at that time. It broke down in the deep cold again last year, but that repair was covered under the protection plan. At least the timing of this current malfunction was better—the temperatures were chilly but not freezing when it stopped working at eight o’clock at night. Because it wasn’t yet the rush season for furnace breakdowns, the repairman was out two hours after my call the next morning.
When my husband came home from work, I reported that the furnace was indeed fixed—but that I had told the repair man yes, he could have a salesman call. David said, “It’s only twelve years old. Furnaces are supposed to last twenty-five years!” I commiserated with his feeling of frustration. We purchased that furnace in 2003 and paid a few thousand dollars for it. It likely would have lasted twenty-five years – if we’d bought it in 1975.
While I had been hoping to wait until this coming summer to buy a new furnace, I was no longer willing to take the chance of another breakdown. For me, it was a case of three strikes, you’re out. Yes, we pay a monthly 30 dollar protection plan fee to the gas company (from whom we bought the furnace), so just about anything that goes wrong with it is covered. But the repair man told me the heat exchanger that had been the cause of the break down and waiting for the part in 2013 might go again—as several others for this same model had done, in his experience. That was one of the few parts not covered by warrant or protection plan, and an expense even my husband was not willing to pay again.
“It won’t hurt to sit down and talk to the man,” David agreed. “But we are not renting a furnace. I’ve heard horror stories from some of the guys at work about renting furnaces. Besides, if you calculate out the cost of renting over twenty-five years, you will end up paying for that furnace two or three times more than if you’d bought it in the first place.”
Some concepts are tough to let go. Between then and the day the man came to talk to us about replacing our furnace, my beloved did a little more research and found out that truly, the twenty-five year furnace had gone the way of spats and the two-pants suit. Once he’s presented with facts he’s not afraid to change his mind. I have to respect that about him.
I’m happy to report that we now have a high efficiency furnace that so far has proven so much more efficient, I figure we’ll make back a great deal of the monthly rental fee on gas and electricity savings. We already no longer have to pay that 30 dollar protection plan fee. And the best part is that come summer, we will have something that we have never, ever had before. We’ll have central air—which came with the furnace at no extra cost.