Welcome to Part 4 of our Small Town transition. If you missed Part 1: Dave’s not Here, Man or Part 2: Straight Outta Woo Town or Part 3: Day Trading Drug Dealers, feel free to start there. Otherwise sit back, relax and enjoy the 4th installment of our city-to-small-town transition I like to call Plumbergate.

Ok that’s not accurate, Dave actually called it that and I’m “borrowing” it from Dave. One of the funniest things about Dave is that he’s the only person I write about where I actually use his real name. He’s famous enough at our house to just have a single name like Madonna or Prince.  Anyhow… Small Town Transition – Take 4

As you know, this year has been full of smooth transitions and seamlessly financed projects. Dear god I could barely type that without laughing. Not so much. As we wind down the year, I find myself under the gun to complete the final project: Replacing an oil burning furnace from 1967.

Let’s go back to August when I have a local plumbing and heating expert come to check out the scene. Dave had referred me to his friend King-James back in June, but being the King of heating and plumbing he was busy and we couldn’t connect. Having already injected a surge in the local economy through my series of epic disasters, I figured I might as well continue on and call someone local. In steps Ebenezer.

Ebenezer appears friendly and helpful. He tells me that I should consider a gas boiler instead of an oil furnace as a replacement because there’s a gas line in the street and I could avoid furnace maintenance. I would also no longer have an oil storage tank or oil delivery and could have my water heater removed.  Hmmmmm interesting. After some research I agreed. He gave me an estimate and all we had to do was get the gas hooked up and we are good to go!

I call the gas company and they tell me to send them a check for $500. I do. 4ish weeks later after hearing nothing from anyone I email the gas company. They tell me there’s an 8-10 week wait for gas line installations but they never call.


If you’re over 40 you’ll now have this song stuck in your head for a while. You’re welcome.

At some point in early October, my security camera app on my phone sends me an alert. I open it and see a gas company truck and some guys digging (another) trench in my yard. Glad you’re here but maybe some notice? Nah.

I call Ebenezer. His wife says he’s busy but to check back on Monday. I check back on Monday and am told to check back on Monday. I check back on Monday and am told to check back on Monday. I check back on…. You see where this is going.

Finally I’m like hey guys this is like a $9,000 job are you NOT interested or…?  I get an email response from the wife saying that Ebenezer’s assistant or right hand man or some such person had quit and that someone in their family had been in a car accident. Ok, reasonable answer, although it would have been nice to hear this news weeks ago while it was still more than 20 degrees out so I could find someone else. Swapping out a furnace takes a few days, plus a meter hook up and inspection… so you go without heat and hot water in those days. In Massachusetts, in December, not so much fun.

I check in every Monday for several more weeks. I get responses primarily consisting of statements that they are going to ask another plumber for help. But that help never arrives, nor does any real explanation. So, I gave up, let my furnace die, our pipes froze and our house is now uninhabitable… All because I didn’t want to hurt Ebenezer’s feelings by calling someone else.

Kidding, obviously that’s not what I did. I did what any other person would do and called for help. Predictably,  I called Dave. Dave agrees to reach out to King-James, who is kind enough to come out the next morning.

Have you ever heard a troll trapped inside an oil furnace from 1967 banging on it with a hammer from the inside trying to get out? I’m pretty sure I have. The furnace sounded like this whenever the heat turned on, then you’d hear this massive rush of running water followed by some indescribable noises that I suppose you could call demonic. This was getting good!


This is “the beast of burden” as I so lovingly called it. The troll likely lives in the main cabin but probably sleeps in whatever that red box is. Plus what the fuck are those green round things?  Don’t ask, just don’t. 

King-James and his companion, the Prince-of-Pipe-Fitting, come to the scene. They feel this should be done on Saturday. It’s now Thursday. Yes, please let this troll out… it’s been in there since 1967 and it is NOT happy.

Of course, the forecast for Saturday called for 4” – 10” of snow and they had planned to vent out through the garage roof. Since everyone on team Dave is amazing (Am I on team Dave? Am I amazing? Only Dave can answer that…) King-James and the Prince-of-Pipe-Fitting come out on Friday night and install the roof vent so that the snow won’t prevent the install. Team DAVE!

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King-James after hours on a Friday night. I think the bucket says it all. #LetsDoThis 

Saturday and Sunday they work tirelessly to get the beast out of the closet (wow that sounds way weirder that I meant it to) and to get the super fantastic, robot, AI, time machine boiler into the closet. Ok it’s not a time machine but it’s basically that level of high tech, especially since there’s no troll in it, which I’ll have to get used to. Unfortunately, and fortunately, I wasn’t home when they took out the beast. I can only imagine how effortless that was… yikes.

Monday morning King-James gets the city paperwork all sorted out and we get an inspector to agree to come over by noon. I had already called the gas company and promised them that the inspection would be done by noon, which I completely made up because I had no heat or hot water and also knew King-James would come through. The gas company doesn’t hang the meter and let you have gas until the unit is inspected and approved by the town.

We learn that the inspector is on his way. Then we learn that the inspector is… Ebenezer. What in the ????????? Can a plumber for a town also be a plumbing inspector for that same town that they live and work in? Apparently in Small Town USA yes, yes they can. Shouldn’t be a problem, right?

So you’ve read my version of what originally happened already. Pretty basic, I beg Ebenezer to do the job, I get excuses for months and then its 17 degrees out and the troll inside my furnace has decided that my furnace will no longer be available. So I have to call in reinforcements. This is not how Ebenezer Scrooge appears to have viewed it. He tells several people “I bid on that job”, as if I had somehow been stringing him along all of those months just to take job out from under him and give it to another city-slicker. Haha! I showed you! My months of stringing you along paid off with an emergency weekend installation. I win! … said no one ever.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh How in god’s name does someone interpret the situation like that? Alas here we are. So Scrooge arrives and is in a hurry, asks a few questions, is super cranky but then tags the unit and leaves. King-James and I attempt to make small talk and be polite, but Scrooge is really sticking it to us by not talking back. He’s the winner of the imaginary stand-off! It appears there is such a thing as a stand-off between Common Sense and an Inflated Ego. Who knew? The catch is that Common Sense doesn’t care who wins because… well because it’s Common Sense. The gas meter guy shows up and hangs the meter, no issues, nice job folks excellent work here. Gas meter guy is in Common Sense’s corner.


That night, yes… night, Scrooge shows up at my house unannounced. Not-Tom-Brady lets him in and I see him coming down the stairs into the finished basement where I’m working. He asks to see the CO2 detector and says he rushed in the morning and also needed to check that stickers were properly placed on the pipes. Then he AGAIN leaves with the tag of approval on the boiler. Lucky me, I got 2 inspections and both were approved! He’s still cranky and I’m still confused that he clearly thinks I gave his job to someone… when in reality he had refused the job. How is this even a misunderstanding!? OMG I have some really funny screen shots and security footage of him coming into the house unannounced but I think it may be a step to far to blog the actual footage. Or is it?????

Then he calls a mutual friend of his and King-James (yes crazy that they have a mutual friend… that poor bastard) and says (I’m paraphrasing here) that the installation of the vents was totally unacceptable and that it was done improperly. The irony here is that King-James originally thought of venting through the chimney. I mentioned Scrooge’s original plan to vent two pipes through the garage and then through the garage attic out the roof. King-James ended up doing it the way Scrooge had planned to do it, and Scrooge was now stomping his feet to Mutual-Poor-Bastard-Friend over his own original plan. Oh Scrooge how soon you forget? Allegedly he was then going to call King-James and give him the what-for. (I’ve never known what that meant but it seems to fit here).


My beautiful, efficient, natural gas powered time machine. I mean boiler. Whatever, it’s fucking awesome and the King-James / Prince-Of-Pipe-Fitting team rule the mf world as far as I’m concerned. It’s 13 degrees as I type this and I’m toasty warm thanks to my new robot in the closet. Byeeeeee beast of burden (and living troll with hammer).

We wait, and wait. No call. No text. No email. Dave ponders this… perhaps Scrooge was visited by 3 plumbers of plumbing past, present and future? I certainly hope so because I wouldn’t want King-James Plumber of Christmas Present on my bad side… or Marie Christine for that matter. #ItaliansUnite #TeamDave

If there isn’t a conflict of interest rule for town inspections, this story is a testament to why there should be. As a side note, we are a nice, friendly family. We are kind to others. We are growing our friendships within the community. We contribute to the schools and volunteer in town. Maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned to Scrooge that I moved here from the City? Maybe I SHOULD have mentioned that most of my life was actually spent in a small town? Either way, we are nice people who do nice things. So maybe it makes sense that messing with our need to heat our home for children might be fun to someone… considering that we are such a menace to society. AKA we aren’t so back off.

Stay tuned for the next small town transition: Take 5… and let’s hope it doesn’t involve Ebenezer Scrooge. Although The Plumber of Christmas Future was probably a hoot.


Yikes the Plumber Ghost of Christmas Future Looks Scary. Good luck Ebenezer!


8 thoughts on “Plumbergate”

  1. Oh MC…. that sounds…. awful. That’s when you call on every tradesman that we grew up with, and find out what the codes are… and find out if ES is just a sore loser, or an ass. Sounds like both. :(. Glad you gots da heat though!!


  2. LOL. We just had a new boiler put in. When we scheduled the town inspection they told us we had a open inspection from the boiler we put in our garage apt like 10 years ago. The town inspector was so lazy back then he’d never show up. This guys comes and approves our new one but promptly fails the old one! Fortunately our plumber called him and set it all straight!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I used to think that if there is such a thing as coming back in another life I would want to come back next time as a college town landlord. But I have changed my mind. I want to come back as a plumber.

    It would have been difficult to avoid the temptation to say to Ebenezer something like “If only I had known you were the inspector too. Now that I know how much easier inspections are to schedule, we could have done the installation on the same day! Stupid me.”

    Him coming back later – really weird.

    Liked by 1 person

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