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Heater Makes Columnist's Day
An ancient prophet – St. Clint of Eastwood, I believe – once told us “A man’s got to know his limitations.”
Wise words. And as time passes and a one’s limitations increase in number and severity, words a man ignores to his peril. As I learned the other day.
The scene: My garage. I have decided to install a gas heater so the gym I built out there might be useful between November and (this being Indiana) whenever winter decides to leave town. May at the latest. Such heaters do an excellent job turning cold, dark garages into warm, dark garages.
Now, I already know one of my limitations is that I have no clue as to how to install and hook up a heating system. I have always believed each man to his own task, and that particular task should be left to furnace men. I notice the buildings in which they install such devices tend not to explode in giant balls of flame. With me, that would rest on the border between “possible” and “probable.”
Wally is a dear friend and one of those guys who exudes competence. He and I have worked together on a farm for several years and you may take it from me when I tell you he can fix anything, from a balky tractor to … well, another balky tractor. And he said he would be more than delighted to help me put in this heater, something he has actually had experience doing, along with plumbing, carpentry, furniture repair and auto mechanics.
Enter Wally’s and Mike’s limitations.
Here’s the problem: Those things have to be mounted from the ceiling. The customary way is to muscle them up there and hold them in place while you attach them to the joists. However (and this is a big however) Wally and I are middle-aged men. He has a legendary bad back. I have a soon-to-be legendary bad hip and two bum knees. Neither of us is in any condition to be lifting furnaces into the air.
Does this stop us? Nope. You see, we have misinterpreted St. Clint. We acknowledge our limitations, true, but that doesn’t mean we pay attention to them.
And so we try to lift it into place. Holding it between us we climb ladders and attempt to maneuver it up to the ceiling.
This is a dumb idea, and we know it as soon as we try. Our arms shake and shiver. Our faces contort. And our backs put up the white flags almost immediately.
We build a scaffold and try to get the thing into place using a floor jack. This one ALMOST results in a call for a replacement heater, but luckily we caught it before it hit the floor. Luckily for the heater, I mean. For our backs, not so much.
Finally we decide the only way to get the thing where it needs to be is for one of us to get on the scaffold and hold the thing on his shoulders like Atlas holding up the Heat Pump of Olympus. Yes, it’s another dumb idea but it’s the only one we have. So we draw straws and ...
Call me Atlas.
Also call me a chiropractor.
And then have Wally call me when he’s done installing the flue and the gas line.
Should be May at the latest.
© 2011 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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