A Procrastination Tale

Late in the evening of 30 Dec, the temperature in casa de Leonard began dropping.

The thermostat continued to report a 68°F setting, our setting for cool-ish to downright cold evenings. When I first checked the in-house temperature a little after midnight, the current temperature read 64°F. By morning, the current temperature had dropped to 61°F.

Now 61°F is not cold cold, but it is uncomfortable. In our family, some are more sensitive to cold than others. Me? I’m good until the low 50s. Mrs. Leonard tolerates the usual 68 but would prefer the house to be warmer. 68 is a compromise because I start sweating when the temperature rises much above 68.


I checked the obvious:

  • A visual inspection yielded nothing apparently out of place
  • The fuel tank contained over 100 gallons
  • All controls were reporting, indicating power was present
  • We had good (soaking, and welcome) rain a few days ago and there was water standing in the crawl space under the house (which was usual)

I can hear some of you thinking…

“What Was the Problem, Andy?”

That’s an excellent question. I’m glad you asked!

The short answer: The water standing under the house.

The standing water has been an issue for a few years, and the issue has gotten worse over time. I knew this. Until yesterday, I never made time to address the issue. I waited until the house started cooling off in the middle of a winter night to decide to act.

I can hear what some of you are thinking (again), and I’m not going to type that kind of language on my blog. I will simply reply: “You’re right.”

The Other Problem(s)

We buy our fuel – and bought this furnace about 10 years ago – from a local energy company. For the first few years, the energy company employed a skinny technician who could maneuver in our crawl space and service the furnace. This same technician replaced the old furnace with the new-ish furnace ten years ago, in fact. The skinny tech made his way around the standing water for years.

A couple years ago, the skinny tech changed jobs.

When we called for annual service, the new technicians told us, “You need to fix that standing water before I go under there,” and, “Even after you fix that water problem, I don’t know if I’ll be able to fit.”

I again procrastinated.

I can still hear what some of you are thinking, and you’re still right. (Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?)

Towards a Solution

Yesterday morning, Stevie Ray (my older son) and I were able to remove most of the standing water yesterday thanks to a helpful Facebook friend who lent us a utility pump.

This morning a technician arrived to take a look at our furnace, but was unable to get to the place he needed to reach in order to troubleshoot the furnace. Granted, the water – now mostly mud – remained a problem but even if we removed all the water and let the mud dry, it was still going to be a tight fit for all but a skinny furnace technician.

Stevie kept manipulating the utility pump until most of the standing water was out from under the house. He then began digging (using my old Virginia Army National Guard Entrenching Tool, 1 Each, Handheld, Air-Cooled) a spot for us to place the permanent sump pump. And then he started getting warm. At first, he thought it was from the exercise of digging, but it soon became obvious that this heat was more than he was generating.

We realized the furnace was running again.

We Are Not Done

We have heat. That’s a good thing for a number of reasons including the temperature – which has been mild-ish for later December / early January – is returning to normal tonight. 25°F is the forecast overnight low.

We’re still working to install the sump pump, but we have some wiggle room. There’s a slight chance of rain in three days, but a good chance of precipitation in five days. We are confident we can get the permanent sump pump down and running (get it?) before water standing under the house becomes an issue (again). And we still have the loner utility pump if we need it.

A Good Lesson

This isn’t (just) a lesson about allowing water to stand beneath your house.

Procrastination doesn’t help because: entropy. Entropy means that, over time, things mostly degrade. Apart from wine and a handful of additional counter-examples, leaving things be rarely improves the situation.

So, check under your house and fix those out-of-sight, out-of-mind things!

Applied Elsewhere

I write this 01 Jan 2024.

Maybe there’s some stuff in your business or life that you’ve not thought about recently, or – like me – perhaps put off until a more convenient time. Stuff like fitness or learning or preparing for natural inconveniences (or disasters) that cause power or utility outages. If you oversee a department or run a business, continuity of said department or business may also depend on similar stuff.

Enterprise Data & Analytics

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  • and more!

We also offer SSIS and ADF training and, at the time of this writing, training is on sale!

We are here to help whenever you need us. We recommend – I recommend – you contact us before the temperature in your home or business begins falling over a holiday weekend!


Happy New Year! Ok, back to work under the house.


Andy Leonard


Christian, husband, dad, grandpa, Data Philosopher, Data Engineer, Azure Data Factory, SSIS guy, and farmer. I was cloud before cloud was cool. :{>


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