After a second inspection it has been agreed that our old oil furnace is history. The insurance company has offered a reasonable cash settlement. The way is now clear for negations to begin with heating and AC professionals and our local natural gas company. We are hoping to have a "gas-pack" installed thus replacing our old AC unit as well. While we are at it we want to have gas lines stubbed out for a gas log in the fireplace, a gas range, and maybe a gas waterheater.
We might have heat by spring.
Meanwhile, thanks to my wife's sister Carolyn for lending us the two space heaters that have been able to keep the house a reasonable temperature. Warm socks, though, are a blessing, as has been the recent warm weather.
Friday I went under the house to reroute our cable TV lines. We are dropping our DSL line and are going to use our cable company, Adelphia>???, for our internet connection. More speed, less money. I emerged from under the house - which was not as unpleasant as I had feared - filthy. I can't remember being as dusty. It was great. I felt like a kid again.