Everyone thinks I’m joking when I talk about living in an old house where nothing is ever working the way it should. This past month was no exception, it was just expensive. Fortunately, this house has two complete central heating systems. One is gas (forced air) and the duct work also provides air conditioning in the summer. The other system is quite old and is called hot water baseboard heat. Hot water flows through copper pipes around the edges of the rooms. It is the nicest possible heat! Unlike electric baseboard where nothing can touch it, a crawling baby can touch a water pipe and never be hurt. And when it’s really cold, nothing keeps the house as toasty as the hot water heat.
The problem is something has to heat that water! Originally it was coal. When we moved here, that old coal furnace/boiler existed except someone had converted the coal fuel system to oil. It was a beauty. About five feet high and eight feet long, it was cast iron, sat in its own brick room accessible only from the outside. That cast iron would warm that brick room which would heat my kitchen and part of the back end of my house. My darling hubby figured out how the thing worked and what had to be done to it in the way of maintenance. Let’s just say finding heating companies that could handle it were few and far between. So when I was faced with handling this big black beauty myself, I knew the time had come to say goodbye. Besides it was very expensive to run!
Enter new high efficiency system. I was working the day it was installed and I came home to… Where is it? That? That’s it? Wow. No longer did I have an ornate black beauty that warmed a whole brick room and created warm walls in the kitchen, etc. I had a small fuel efficient box. I’m thinking a tank of oil will last me a long time. So I was shocked when I went through the oil at the same rate and no longer had a toasty warm kitchen.
Lesson learned, I use my gas fueled system through most of Virginia’s winter and save the oil system for the really cold times. Except each year it has to be serviced. New nozzle and filter, plus service call equals about $100 dollars, and naturally pay for the fuel in the tank. Not cheap but wonderful warm heat that is truly comfortable.
Call for fuel delivery and for boiler service. Lucky for me the guy who installed the new system and takes care of it, is a friend who owns a heating and cooling company. By the way, will you fix the leak under the bathroom sink while you are here? (No that’s not what he does but he is a licensed plumber to do what he does and as I said, I’m a friend and he’d be here.)
Since October I’ve been crazy trying to get another book ready to go. And I’ve driven everyone around me nuts over this project. But it’s coming Feb.9, Loving Matilda. I’m so excited. The year is 1887-1888 and it’s set mostly in Morgan’s Crossing, Montana. What? That’s Debra Holland’s fictional mining town! Yep! Debra Holland has asked a handful of us to be part of her Kindle World.
Several years ago, I was part of her Sweetwater Springs Christmas anthology, and Kindle asked her and those of us who were part of that anthology to be in this new Kindle World program. It’s fan fiction. From comic characters to Debra’s mining town in Montana. I believe hers will be the first historic romance world.
So with cold weather approaching, I had put oil in the tank and called for yearly service of the boiler. I was also under a deadline with this new book. It wasn’t a simple deadline that I had imposed on myself. It is a Kindle deadline that quite a few of us are meeting. It’s not just me, it’s my editors. It’s a coordinated effort. Then it hits me. If he’s going to fix that leak, I must clean up the bathroom and clean out that cabinet under bathroom sink. Oh no! Oh yes! Add one more thing to my overly filled schedule.
I managed to schedule the service after I sent the manuscript to an editor. That gave me a chance to do a little cleaning. But what should have been a simple service call turned into much more. I had a broken pipe and that caused another problem and there was a problem with some pump that wasn’t pumping. One afternoon turned into two with expensive parts. Stuff I wasn’t prepared to fix, but at this point, I had to fix them. I had bought the fuel oil, spent the budgeted money for the winter’s heat. I was trapped.
Remember I said he was a friend? Thank Goodness! He gave me parts at cost and didn’t charge me much for his labor. I doubt he charged me enough to cover the cost of his gas. But the bill was still over $500. I crossed my fingers and paid the amount. A great big thank you to everyone who buys my books!
My book goes off for what I hoped was the final time. (No such luck I just got it back last night with needed last minute corrections. Ugh!) And I went to Starbucks for coffee with friends and a chance to celebrate. A big thank you to my family and friends who gave me Starbucks gift cards for Christmas.
That night I came home to the sound of water running – not a drip. This was water running someplace in the house. I looked around and then headed to the little brick room that is attached to my house. Oh no! Boiling hot water is spewing from a capped pipe.
Thank goodness for modern technology! I instantly texted my heating guy and took a picture with my phone and sent it to him. He texted me back and told me exactly what to do. No midnight emergency service call. I turned a valve and threw a breaker switch.
He stopped by the next day, replaced something ,and texted me that I could turn on my hot water heat at the thermostat.
So with luck, my heating system will work for what remains of this winter. My leak under my bathroom sink is no longer dripping and I have twenty-four hours to get my book back to my manager with necessary corrections. And I really hope that noise I’m hearing is coming from my neighbor’s pressure washer, because I’m not prepared for another thing to be repaired anytime soon!
But here’s my newest cover and blurb. I do hope you will love this historical. But if you enjoy Debra Holland’s books, you are going to love reading these because there are about fourteen of us, Debra Holland, Cynthia Woolf, Caroline Clemmons, Paty Norman Jager, me and ten more releasing full-length books on Feb 9 in Debra Holland’s Montana Sky Series.
Matilda “Matt” Berwyn, forced to live disguised as a boy in a mining town, longs to escape and blossom into the female she’s always wanted to be. But her desire to leave Morgan’s Crossing escalates when she realizes she’s being stalked.
Stockyard hand Zeke Hillerman knows her secret and has fallen in love with her. He helps her flee to his parents’ home in the east to learn to be a lady, while he struggles to start his own ranch. As Matilda grapples with Victorian expectations of young women, Zeke’s plans for their future unravel and he realizes that the cost of her ticket out of Morgan’s Crossing may have been his own heart.
I’ll place a link on the side of the blog when this book becomes available.
Do you read historical novels or are you strictly a contemporary romance reader? What genres do you like to read?