Another late night with the Captain, as he sat on the phone with Radiant Engineering (this time Pat, thank goodness) for hours as they tried to figure out why the system was just not making heat. I’m actually rather surprised Bruce isn’t divorced yet, he spends so many late nights away from home. He was pretty darn sure when I talked to him this morning that it was a simple matter of the thermostat not being connected correctly, and he was pretty cocky when I showed up, and the heat was on after he had re-wired the thermostat. Then he worked on this and that, tying up loose ends (doubtless with an eye to being able to send out a bill at long last), and as time passed, the temperature in the house slowly but surely dropped. After staring at the components for a suitable period of time and contemplatively placing his hand on one copper pipe after another to gauge its temperature, to see if the hot water was running this way or that and scratching his close-shorn, coppery head over why the heat gradient of the water was transposed, he gave in and had me dial up Pat. We now have yet another definitive answer. Think about that for just a sec: another definitive answer. Sort of like a very unique painting. Another definitive answer is some sort of linguistic faux pas to be sure, but just which one is unclear. Its not an oxymoron, which is a contradiction in terms, nor is it a conundrum, which is a puzzle, but it is definitely an answer I don’t trust. The Answer Boy is crying wolf.
First the culprit was the wiring, or the installation, or a malfunctioning part. Now it seems that Pat, in designing the system, re-tooled a mixing valve to accommodate an older mixing computer, which is what he had at the time, but then the computer was re-vamped and we got the new computer, so it was directing the mixing valve to do the exact opposite of what it really wanted it to do, just like a six year-old playing opposites, or one of those native Americans who make some sort of philosophical point by doing everything backwards. So they think they’ve got it figured out this time, and Pat is going to send up a small pile of new parts, and pay the Captain to re-re-re-vamp the system. Again. I’m so pleased that Pat not only figured it out, but admitted culpability, and took responsibility to make things right. Very grown-up of him. If he’s right. Oh me of little faith.
As Bruce sat poring over the instruction manuals for all the computerized parts, trying to figure it all out he said his biggest problem was that it was all in Celsius. This doesn’t surprise me as most Americans are shockingly backwards when it comes to the metric system. Personally I use it all the time, especially in measuring things, since I never ever have to ponder if 3/8ths is more or less than 5/16ths. Temperatures, however still don’t come naturally to me in Celsius, though I have a good idea of ball-park figures. I know that room temperature is generally 20-23, that -40 in both systems is -40, body temperature is 36 and that -10 in one is +10 in the other. I explained how to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit to Bruce ((C x 9) / 5) + 32)), and then I gave him the bonus question of figuring out at what temperature the two systems have equal measurements, given that one degree F is 5/9ths of a degree C. The little goof thought about it for a minute, then just walked over to the thermometer and looked. If you ask me, that was a laudable work-saving practice which demonstrates creative problem-solving.
Another of the things the Captain did very right (another example of sticky linguistics, but this time done with a modicum of irony. A mystery, wrapped in an enigma, served on a bed of lettuce. Oh, please.) while he was waiting for the heating system to fail (though he didn’t know that that was what he was doing, of course.) was to take that hot water heater apart and hot-wire the elements so the thing puts out water so hot it has to be measured in Kelvins. Steamy. Fahrenheit just won’t do. Celsius is for Canadians. We got Kelvin. He took my sob story of the tepid bath to heart and handled the situation. What a man. And what a bath I got! There is nothing on this earth that can compare to having a leisurely, long, hot, wasteful bath with a good book, a good loofah and a glass of wine in one’s very own home where there aren’t any people around to distract you from devoting yourself to Hedonism with reckless abandon. Aye, aye, Cap’n!