By Thursday morning, our hot water heater was no longer making hot water - something to do with the tank not being full enough to submerge the upper heating element. Luckily, we still get hot water from a separate tank out in our guest house, but it means trekking out there and back in the icy chill, sporting wet hair on the return trip.
Meanwhile, we keep our house barely above 60 degrees with a round the clock wood stove vigil. For the last 4 nights, I've slept on the couch so I can feed the fire every two hours, and that's where I'll stay until January when I have enough money to hire a handyman to come in and fix everything that can be fixed.
Update: January 13, 2014
Our furnace was 27 years old, which in furnace years turns out to be, well, dead. Thirty-five hundred dollars would have us back in heat and have me back upstairs in my bed instead of sleeping on the couch so I can feed the hungry fire all night, but short of my someone helping us out, or finding way more bottles and cans in the recycling container than I imagined, that isn't likely to happen.
My three kids, barely young adults, have taken it mostly in stride, There's been the occasional seethe and the amused wondering if someone has put a hex on our house, but all in all, they've been my heroes, and it breaks my heart to have them trapped in the chaos of my failure.