"Are you doing okay?" I asked.
She said, "Sure. I just stayed inside the trailer, turned up the heat, and waited for the snow to melt that afternoon." We don't mean to minimize things — it can get pretty cold in Fernley — but there's so little moisture in Fernley that not a lot of snow falls, and so far, it's never stuck around for more than a day. We do recognize that this has been a pretty mild winter, though. Locals tell us that there have been storms that have dropped up to a foot of snow on the city in recent times. We can live with that.
In less good news, we've received the estimate for replacing the Furnace of Death. This includes replacing the duct-work, which is either missing or shot. More than $7000, and that doesn't include adding air conditioning. Ouch! We don't have enough to pay for that this year, especially with me having to continue living in the Bay Area. (If I could have started working from home full time, it would have been more plausible, as it would have freed up a lot of money I'm currently spending on rent.) Maybe if we save up some, we might be able to manage it sometime in 2013, but it looks like we'll be sticking with wood heat (and also effectively unable to use the south end of the house) through next winter.
While we had hoped to do the furnace work before starting on the plumbing (since it's no good to replace the damaged pipes if they're just going to freeze next winter), this expensive estimate probably requires a change of plans. Lisa is going to look into having all of the damaged pipes (which is to say almost everything) replaced, but with cut-off valves to make it easier to drain pipes selectively. Thus when it gets to freezing time, we can isolate the danger zones and drain the water. Pipes can't freeze if there's no water in them.