Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Heat is a Necessity!

It is winter in Alaska. Fall is gone and winter has rolled in. Yesterday was a windy day here in Chugiak, actually it was windy all around Alaska. For those in Minnesota reading, it was windy but not like the constant 20mph wind we get on the flat plains of SW Minnesota. But there were some good gusts. The news showed pictures of the very fine glacial silt which caused a haze over the Mat-Su River area. Pastor said that farther north in Thompson Pass (which is near Valdez) they had gusts of 100mph. That is some distance from me but long story short it was windy. The snow in Alaska is unlike the heavy wet Minnesota stuff it's dry, fine powder that if you look at it wrong blows in your face.

Well, this morning received a text from Pastor Steve that the heater was out, as sometime in the windy night, the pilot light gone out. It was a brisk 50 degrees in the church. I arrived to work to find Pastor with his little space heater running in his office. Despite his best efforts the situation was unresolved.

I asked if I could take a gander. So I grabbed the lighter and headed into the church basement. Having grown up on the farm our old heater upstairs would occasionally have the pilot light blown out by the wind. The heater in the church basement was rather old, and although I had watched my dad light our house basement heater (similar to the one at church) but I was not confident enough to start placing flame toward gas....

Without this we would freeze-quite literally!
So I did what any daughter would do: I called dad. After all dad can fix ANYTHING! I was right.  After brief questioning about the model we were on the right track. I saw what Pastor had warned, the knob was stubborn.

At this point Ericka, the administrative assistant, came down to lend a hand. I handed the lighter to Ericka as I was speaking with my dad phone in hand. We could get the knob to turn but not to push it down to allow gas to flow in. After some delicate fiddling I got the knob down and in and Ericka lit the lighter and thus we had a pilot light! Hooray for heat! Needless to say I was feeling pretty good about how the rest of my day would go.

I guess this falls under the open-ended DCE intern job description... I'll add occasional HVAC technician to my resume. Just another day in the life of an Alaska intern

The culprit!

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