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Jackmartin Member Posts: 196
edited August 2018 in THE MAIN WALL
This post will definitely contain paragraphs, I really appreciate the advise, I do tend to get carried away. This post I hope makes you smile and maybe laugh.

This was 1977 and I had been a journeyman for about a year. The shop I had worked for ( George) was really slow and I was newly married and freshly mortgaged so money meant something. I left on really good terms, George my boss handed me a brand new 1/2 imperial tube bender and told me when I used it ,don,t forget where you got it from; you had to love that guy. So I joined a large shop, one stop does it all, they even had power engineers on the payroll.

I remember this job for two reasons ,both very divergent from the other,but equally important. The day was in the first week of January and that is the time of year we get a lot of artic vortex. The overnight low was -45 and you knew it was that cold because you could hear the popping in the trees as the sap froze solid,it sounds like a twenty two going off. The furnace ran for 24 hours a day for a three day period and the gas bill I would rather not remember.

I got up to go to work and it was now a toasty -42 below , you know shorts weather. My wife ,bless her ,insisted I wear two scarves, but the one wound around my toque and my parka hood was a little overkill I thought, I was wrong. The van had been plugged in and it finally caught , it sounded like a rock breaker. The windows were of course coated in fine ice,at that temperature all the moisture comes out of the air and deposits any damn place it wants ,thank you very much. So, into the truck on my pedestal, at that temperature all the sweat you poured into the seat over the summer now freezes into a mound about the shape of a medium sauté pan, it is marvellous if you have piles. I clumped to the shop on square tires because the bottom of the tire freezes flat, guaranteed to wake you up. I got to the shop about 7:30 and of course Ed was already in attendance, Ed had been in the military ,fought in Korea and I don,t think he ever slept. Ed was the second smartest tradesman I have ever been humbled by, he was a really nice man.

We are shooting the breeze, complaining about the weather ,typical stuff. The phone rings and since the receptionist was not in yet I answered the phone. The call came in from the Old Spaghetti Factory in the exchange district of Winnipeg. It was an interesting building ,it had been a warehouse with a stable for the dray horses, so it was at least 100 years old. The manager was bleeting on about it was only fifty in the restaurant you have to come now! I told Ed and his reply stunned me “ Yep, it,s probably pigeons” I confess I just starred at him. I remember walking to the truck feeling sad that such a smart man was loosing his mind but, he is old I thought ,that’s the way you think when you are still in your twenties.

I drove down on square tires and of course, it was still dark ,the sun does not come up here in the winter till 8:30 in the winter. I arrived and parked the van in the old stable area and tossed my ladder up and to the roof. There was nothing I could really do for at least 20 minutes, the sun had not come up yet. The sun started to rise and this is one reason I remember this call after all these years. The sun rose and all the ice crystals in the air exploded into jewels and the flue gases coming out of the chimneys around me reflected unbelievable colours. I was standing in a beautiful world of jewels. Naturally, the jerk manager of the restaurant had to spoil it by coming up the ladder asking if I had the heat fixed yet? Thanks for spoiling a once in a life time moment.

The heating for this place was two huge Hastings duct heaters , natural draft, rated at 750,000 btu,s each. I could see one furnace was firing and the one in front was as cold as I was. The furnaces ,of course ,had long pilot runners and six thermocouples each. I bent down to see if a pilot had gone out and you could have slapped me in the head, I would not have felt it. Starring me in the face, was a very dead pegion laying on the pilot. I suppose the poor thing tried to get away from the cold and had succumbed to the fumes and died falling on the pilot putting it out. I grabbed the poor thing ,tossed it on the roof and turned the disconnect off for the furnace. I always carried wooden match’s at that time, So I pushed the Baso pilot control in and lite the pilot runner, it was so cold I held it down for two minutes no way I was taking my mittens off again. Threw the switch and the Honeywell mod motor starts to supply gas, now I have a working furnace and a dead bird.

I have a claring personality flaw, I am a person who will get even if it takes me years. The manager of the restaurant was firmly in my sight. I went looking for our hero and I found him in the kitchen, he gets belligerent about how long it was taking to warm up and I told him to relax or I would report him to the SPCA. He is of course dumb founded, I then place the dead ,very frozen bird in his hand and tell him his heating equipment is dangerous to wild life. He of course drops the bird and starts swearing at me but I had made my point in front of most of his staff ,mission accomplished.

I was on the roof at the MPIC on St.Marys ,when I get a page to phone the shop; this was way before cell phones. I phoned and my boss asks, did I really put a dead bird in the managers hand,yup. I get a pregnant pause and a very long sigh from my boss and he tells me please don,t do that again, I assured him I wouldn’t, but of course I was lying. Ok, he gives me a no heat call at ,shall we say ,a less than salubrious apartment block after MPIC .Where I was going to meet, much to my surprise ,a paroled murderer. Luckily for me ,he was a really nice person. I will write that tale up it is funny plus the fact, it broadened my knowledge of the penal system. All the best and enjoy the summer it is supposed to be 100 with 80 percent humidity tommorrow so I am looking forward to winter — hey, I am Canadian, Jack


  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 17,008
    I hope that's 100° F, not 100° C ........ >:)
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,839
    I tell the kids about rooftop units with standing pilots and no electronic ignition and they look at me like I am crazy
  • Jackmartin
    Jackmartin Member Posts: 196
    Yeah things have changed sometimes not for the best. Yes that was 100 f and as it turns out it hit 104 sweaty.