This photograph is an artistic statement meant to symbolize the vastness of my reserves of cash, hunting days, paid time off, and sanity. It also represents our home heating situation from about December 1 to December 16th. What is it really? Well, if you must know, it's where this guy used to live in my basement.
Ladies and gents, that is asbestos. Many of us under the age of 40 (me too) have never seen asbestos, except occasionally as very thin pipe insulation in old schools and apartment buildings. But this here, this is a lot of asbestos. The state of Maryland is pretty particular about how and where you dispose of it. And doing it right costs a lot of money.
So back to reality. We returned from near-perfect weather in southwest Florida to find temperatures in the 20s in Maryland. Many of you all have been experiencing this - a very strange southern shift to the jet stream which is just punishing us with a continental polar high pressure cell. The weather has been normal - for the period between January 20 and February 10. The dry, cold, cloudless conditions have made it difficult to plan what I'd consider to be a "high percentage" hunt.
To keep this post readably short, I'll just say that a combination of impossible factors, including this relentless cold, pushed us to request bids for a new heating system .....ASAP. Bid process = losing 1.5 paid days off at work (during hunting season). Once we selected a contractor, I lost a half-day of work (and a canceled goose hunt on opening day, on a snowy, foggy morning!!!!) to the initial contractor visit (sawing off the pipes to the furnace, draining the water out of the system), and then another half-day of work (and another canceled goose hunt) for the asbestos abatement crew to show up and get the old burner out.
After creating a tent-like scene like that part of E.T. with the medical unit, one guy in full haz-mat gear carried out the asbestos. Wow - so glad that was in my basement for 6 years.
Eventually, this MMA style dude started carting out the "clean" portions of the old boiler/furnace. What they left was the empty space in the first photo. 18 hours later, the contractor showed up to install our new 83% efficient gas boiler. It's tiny! But for the first time in 2 very cold weeks, we have heat. And for the first time ever, I feel better about our choice of power source.