As in: new transmission, new appliances, new furnace. About eleven grand on those (unplanned) expenses alone.
Oh, and we had another kid this year too.
Anyway, I'm really just fishing for a topical way to get into the furnace story.
Let me take you back in time a week or two. It's Wednesday the 20th. We're planning to leave for the in-laws on the morning of the 21st. Last night we called for someone to check out the furnace -- it's been cutting out recently, but will work fine again if we shut off the electricity to the furnace and turn it back on again* (it's a gas furnace with electronic ignition). So the guy shows up at 4 pm, about 15 minutes after I get home from doing the last of the Christmas shopping. He takes stuff apart. He calls me down to take a look.
There are cracks in the wall of one of the chambers where the flames are. This is a bad thing. I never really paid attention to this before but some previous owner (16 years ago) installed an 80,000 BTU furnace in our tiny house. The furnace guy figures, based on the assumption that we're heating about 1000 square feet (it's more like 800), that we only need about 35,000 BTU of output. So anyway, the ducts weren't taking enough heat away from the furnace and things cracked from overheating.
Then he says "I have to shut you down." As in he is legally required to shut off the gas to our house and seal it with a big red tag that says we can't have the gas back on until the equipment is certified to be safe. And a big red tag for the furnace too, indicating that it's unsafe and not to be used.
They can come and do the work the next day (Thursday) if we say so right now, but otherwise it'll have to be after Christmas. He calls around suppliers to see what furnaces are available. We could have kept it under three grand (all in) but figured we might as well go for a high-efficiency model and a two-stage fan.
So there's going to be 24 hours without heat and hot water. My wife quickly packs and she and the kids leaves immediately, a day early. I'll take the train when the furnace is done.
After that, it went smoothly. The biggest part of the job turned out to be the vent. The high-efficiency furnace is vented through a 3-inch pipe going through the wall, rather than through the chimney like the old mid-efficiency one. So they start drilling a big hole through our 100-year-old stone foundation wall. After an hour or two, one of the guys comes to me and asks if I know how thick the wall is because they've drilled 12 inches and there's still no sign of breaking through.
And the rest of the day (starting at 8 am and they were done around 4) they're in our tiny basement (just a crawlspace really) with three guys. There's about enough space for one guy to crouch (not stand up) on each of the three sides of the furnace that aren't against the wall -- and that's all the space there is down there.
Remind me to tell you the story of the appliances (a.k.a "Why Home Depot sucks") some day.
*Because doing this and changing the filter are the only things I'm qualified to do with regards to the furnace.