The repairman was shaking his head.
All around him were parts of our furnace, purchased and installed just eight years ago for a mighty sum.
For some reason it had stopped doing its thing, maybe because it's been so warm this winter it doesn't feel needed.
I noticed something off on Thursday night when we came in the house and it wasn't annoying me.
The last few weeks it seemed the furnace was running all the time, ever since we had it fixed the end of December.
I was actually glad not to have it working away during the night.
But I also noticed a funny, burning smell like a candle or a match had been lit.
I checked around and didn't find anything so I didn't worry unduly.
However, the next morning I noticed the temperature was down even though we keep our thermostat at a constant number.
I went upstairs to check the upper thermostat. Low.
I came back downstairs to check the lower one. Low also.
Marc said we'd get free service checks now that we'd signed up for yearly maintenance so I called the heating and cooling folks.
"$75 to come out and do a diagnostic," said the girl on the phone cheerfully. "Your plan only discounts the labor by 15 percent."
I agreed to a time.
The man came out.
I walked him in and said, kind of bashfully, "It doesn't seem to be coming on like it should. And it smells a little funny."
He shook his head and walked into the furnace room. I was pretty sure I was making this up.
He lifted off the panel and took a peek.
"Well, the blower is not working. That's a problem," he said.
"And, you're right, it's not giving you any heat."
He pulled out a little cradle thing and showed me a burnt area like when a light bulb burns out.
"Here's your problem..."
He explained that a module has burnt out. No reason it should. Nothing to be done to prevent it.
It would cost $450 plus labor.
"I don't suppose you have proof of warranty?" he said, dialing up the office at the same time.
I went to my files. I started searching.
Just as I returned, the office verified that indeed we had a warranty.
I had sent in the funny little paper that often comes with these things, the funny little paper that often seems like a waste of a stamp.
"Ah, ha!" We save the $450.
That's the good news. The bad news is we're without a working furnace until Monday afternoon.
What do you think the odds are that Utah will come out of this warm spell today or tomorrow?
In our family, we have a couple of really courageous parents.
Brian and Erin are not ones to let complicated circumstances slow them down.
Besides having a pair of Energizer Bunny boys, they have a year-old baby girl and a 9-year-old daughter.
Yet they go skiing every week at Beaver Mountain.
One takes the morning.
Then they switch off at lunchtime and the other one takes the afternoon. (The baby rides over from home and back in the car every Saturday and holiday.)
That means these little guys are skiing with abandon at 5 years of age.
They can race down the hills and even do the terrain hill. They don't jump but they go up and down.
They have no fear and plenty of enthusiasm.
They can get on and off the lift (with a little help) and they can travel through the trees at high speed without problem.
The problem is, grandpa can't.
Marc went with them on Monday and tried to keep up.
He was pretty much with them until one decided to cut through the trees where his skis fit just fine.
Marc's long skis didn't and it was icy.
He had a hard time. He fell. He hollered. He had to offer candy to keep them from doing that again.
Then one twin dropped a pole.
The other one slipped off the seat of the lift just as it was departing and the lady in the next chair had to take him up with her.
Another time, one took off his skis and left them behind without noting exactly where. It took a while to find them.
By the time Marc got home he was spent.
But he'd had the most glorious day and couldn't say enough about how fun it was to watch these small skiers go.
I listened to his stories and marveled.
Who's going to grow up with great self-esteem?
A lot of little girls were all dressed up in pink for the opening show for young audiences at the SCERA Monday night.
Everywhere you looked there were pink tights, pink hair ribbons, pink coats and tops and pink frilly skirts.
My own granddaughter was pink from head to toe and grinning at the prospect of seeing the "Pinkalicious" play.
"I love Pinkalicious 'cause she's always pink!" declared 6-year-old Hannah as she settled into her seat. "I hope she does a good job!"
Hannah has been to a few plays before and a couple of magic shows at the SCERA so she knew kind of what to expect: music, lights and action (and a movie meal).
In "Pinkalicious" she got the story of a little girl so focused on eating "one more" pink cupcake that she eventually discovers she's turning pink.
She is thrilled until she finds that she blends in with the big, pink flowers at the park and the bees and butterflies won't leave her alone.
She is dismayed to find she has to eat green foods now to counteract the "Pinkitis" she has.
Since she's a fairly indulged child, she resists the doctor's orders with a constant stream of "Nos!"
It's funny and lively.
Hannah thought Pinkalicious was going to get in trouble and Pinkalicious (played by Julie Nevin) does.
She also finds out that she needs to compromise if she's going to avoid turning from pink to red and worse. (What's worse than red?)
Meanwhile her brother is jealous of all the attention going to Pinkalicious. He likes pink too.
The father in the story has a fondness for pink as well, something he's hidden because it was not socially acceptable when this story was written and because he was among the first to get Pinkitis.
The mother just doesn't know what to do beyond fixing all kinds of green shakes and brussel sprout burgers.
Somehow the story moves to dealing with the fact that the family never does anything or goes anywhere which seems kind of random but that's all right. The moral to the story seems pretty clear: Vary your choices?
The whole show is fairly silly but colorful, fun and just right for a pink audience who have all read the books.
Hannah loved it.
The tiny pink cupcakes shared afterward were just icing on a pink treat.
They came through on the whole Chinese chest of drawers thing and they deserve some credit.
We now have a new dresser and nightstand made by Daniel the Amish carpenter. It doesn't smell bad. In fact, it has a nice woodsy aroma instead of a chemical stink.
I told the store salesman in Orem my story and he led me around and around the store until I found what I wanted for the price I wanted to pay. It took some time as my husband can testify to my picky nature.
The new pieces almost exactly match the credit the store gave me for the stinky pieces we had bought earlier.
Then they gave me $200 off and a set of king-size 600-count sheets.
A sweet stand
They came and took away the old pieces and hauled in the new ones.
The salesman also said they would probably be shipping the whole line of furniture back to China where it came from. (Good idea!)
I'm what one would call a satisfied customer.
They listened to me.
They took my concerns seriously.
They dealt with me straight on although it had to be confusing and frustrating for them since I bought the smelly stuff in one store and exchanged it in another and left two salespeople having to divide their commission.
I'm now busily washing everything that spent any time in the stinky drawers but that's OK.
It's just nice to know some businesses still take care of the customer.