More than a year ago, Bryan and I decided to renovate the Nelson homestead out by Bethesda. We had purchased the 120 acres a couple years prior and felt our best option was to sink money into the four bedroom, two bathroom farmhouse, rather than buy a separate acreage.
Work started in September 2015 with a new metal roof. New windows, shutters, siding, laminate flooring, carpet, countertops, sinks, toilets, walls, additional and updated electrical, central air, large deck, lighting, sinks, and curtains followed. You name it, it was new and updated. The only thing we did not get to was the flooring in the laundry room, railing for the upstairs balcony, ventilation addition in the downstairs bathroom, and a new furnace.
The money we had allotted for the above work went toward the removal of numerous hollow trees that surrounded our home on all sides and were on the verge of falling on the home. We felt that in the land of priority, a balcony railing could wait a year or two.
The furnace was purchased new in the 2000s and was in good working condition (or so we thought). We felt we would replace the furnace when needed, however, we didn’t think that day would be Tuesday, Dec. 13.
On Monday, I called Wallin Plumbing to see if they could come check the thermostat and furnace. I just didn’t feel it was working the way it should. Despite new siding, roof and windows, it was constantly chilly in the house.
Andy with Wallin’s came out Tuesday. I received a call from him on my way home from work that evening. He was still at the house. He had turned off the furnace due to a safety issue, and he wait waited for me to get there.
Andy informed my husband Bryan and I the heat exchanger had gone out in our furnace. He wasn’t sure when, but without it carbon monoxide had been pumping into our home without our knowledge.
The week before, I had written an article on the dangers of carbon monoxide. I recall telling myself several times since then we needed new carbon monoxide detectors, which I kept forgetting while at the store.
My family and I seriously could have died or become violently ill from carbon monoxide poisoning. Bryan and I had been getting headaches, but we felt it was because of the dry air or was work-related.
Once we let the news sink in, I went upstairs to grab pajamas and clothing for Bryan, Colt and I. We certainly couldn’t stay in the home with no heat and Bryan’s mother, Barbara, was happy to allow us to stay with her.
Andy from Wallin’s said they were booked tight for the rest of the week, but I couldn’t help but ask him what we were supposed to do with freezing temperatures and no furnace?
That’s when Andy did his good deed for the day, month, year…he said he’d take out the old furnace and install the new furnace that night!
After already working all day, Andy and his co-worker returned to Wallin’s, grabbed a new furnace, came back out to our home, removed the old furnace, installed the new furnace and replaced some necessary duct work.
He truly went above and beyond for us. Thank you, Andy.
Wednesday after work I returned to stately Nelson Manor with carbon monoxide detectors in one hand and laundry from the night before in the other. My home was warm but more importantly, safe.
Oh, and did I mention Tuesday was also Colt’s 6th birthday?
Of course he won’t remember the day because of the furnace fiasco, but rather unwrapping presents, going to Subway for cotton candy ice cream and being serenaded with the Happy Birthday song by his kindergarten class at Essex.
At this time of year when we are most reflective and appreciative, I can’t help but wonder how our situation could have turned out much worse. Granted, a new furnace wasn’t in our budget, but it’s also like we have a choice when it’s December in Iowa.
I can’t help but thank God for his intervention – for keeping us safe – for having me call Wallin’s – for sending Andy.
May God Bless each and every one of you this holiday season and may His blessing last long into 2017.
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18, NIV.
Tess Nelson is the Managing Editor for The Valley News. She will be out of the office from Friday, Dec. 16 until Wednesday, Jan. 4.