On Monday morning, in the very early and dark hours, I awoke with a very cold nose touching mine. When I came to, I saw both my cats laying on me, and realized that my nose, was also very cold. Going to the thermostat I saw we had the heat set to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The thermostat indicated the actual temperature was just below 60, and sinking.
My heart sank with it.
My husband had the day off and dealt with it, and the repair man came over, fixed the unit, and left us with a $115 invoice to change a fuse. The next morning at 2:45am, I awoke to the house at nearly 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Snow on the ground and a high of 10 degrees Fahrenheit for the day.
This time I stayed home for a couple hours so my husband could go to work. The repair men replaced the entire control panel, slapped me with a $490 invoice, told me how my particular unit was “known for killing people,” and then left reminding me time and time again that my heater needed to be replaced, and really they only put a bandaid on the problem.
To be realistic, any heater can kill people either with Carbon Monoxide poisoning or by fire if old and broken enough, so that didn’t bother me as much as the anxiety of how we were going to pay for a new one as well as the repairs. I canceled plans with friends in anticipation. I stayed at home all week so I wasn’t tempted to buy anything I didn’t need. Between that and a bathroom remodel that we currently had going simultaneously, we were running out of money very quickly. Of course with property tax season just around the corner.
When the repairmen left I went to work, but between my own exhaustion from being up so early, the many projects, a mouse running around my office, and some coworkers who were having rough days and taking it out on others, it was too much for such a short time period. I came home that night to a warm home, and poured myself a cocktail to drive out the thoughts that reminded me how much heating a home really cost.
The bathroom remodel at least was going slowly but smoothly. We had a new toilet, a new floor, and the walls painted. The sink, cabinets (my father is making us), and the trim were the last items on the list, and they were stained and drying in my parents garage. We were going on week 4 of the project, but as long as I had a toilet and shower, I was happy. The kitchen sink was used for brushing teeth, and washing hands could happen in the bathtub or the kitchen. So nothing felt like it couldn’t be handled.
Just the stress was getting to me, having to live with things in a state of transition or disrepair. That and the money it was costing to complete both projects.
At the end of all the stress, I have to be thankful. Thankful I have heat. Thankful that the bathroom has a light at the end of the tunnel. Thankful that I at least have the money for what I need right now even if it I don’t have it for wants or Christmas gifts. Thankful for flexible work hours and my husband being willing to take care of things. Thankful for warm blankets during the struggle of staying warm. Thankful for repair men with 24 hour service. Thankful I have a house at all.