Fire and ice

On Tuesday I got home after work and changed my clothes. This isn't unusual. I often wear things during the day that are not ideally suited for lying on a sofa for six hours; most evenings, I require a knitwear transition so that I may be unhindered in my pursuit of sloth.

Tuesday was different.

Tuesday's post-work ensemble included sweatpants, two pairs of wool socks, a tee shirt, a wool pullover, a cardigan, a voluminous cashmere scarf, and a down jacket. Thus fortified, I made a pot of tea and got under a blanket.

Tuesday was cold.

Several months ago, our very old furnace was replaced. I didn't have any trouble with it, but it wasn't working out so well for my neighbors (pfffffft. My feelings about my neighbors have not improved). I was a little excited that perhaps having a furnace from the current century might reduce my PG&E bill (it did. Though not by much), but, beyond that, I didn't give it much thought. It was still summer, followed by early fall, which, here, is also summer. I was still trying to manifest an entire wardrobe out of three viable cotton dresses worn in rotation.

Last week, all that sandal-wearing, picknicky nonsense was called to an abrupt halt and the total lack of insulation in my apartment had ramifications beyond hearing every word my [accursed] neighbors say. It was heater time.

The new fangled thermostat is considerably more complex than the old fangled one, so I got out my glasses and pored over the instructions ever so carefully. [Note: Not only do I have to read an instruction manual in order to turn on my heater, I now need glasses to do it. Apparently, sometime last month, I became a senior citizen.]  I pressed the appropriate buttons and I did hear the encouraging little "click" I was expecting. Since my apartment is directly over the garage (the better to hear my [loathesome] neighbors' sports cars and motorcycles come and go), I could also hear the furnace itself woosh into life.  A big auditory success.  If clicking and wooshing were all that were required, things would have been going very well indeed. Sadly, though, in terms of any actual heat being produced, we'd have to qualify the whole thing as a complete failure.

I tried for quite a long time, in case I'd gotten some button wrong the first time around, but finally just turned it off and put on some sweaters, all of which I later wore to bed. Brr.  The next morning when I emerged tentatively from the shower, it seemed--could it be?--less glacial than it had five minutes before?  I assumed I was still just warm from the shower, but then I smelled something pleasant.  A bit like fresh ironing. Heater smell.  There was definite heater smell.  I peered out of the bathroom and sure enough, the bed skirt was ballooning and, beyond, the plant on the coffee table was fluttering merrily.

Mind you, 1) I had last attempted to turn the heater on 14 hours earlier and 2) the thermostat was now resolutely "off."

Question: How do you turn a heater off when it is, ostensibly, already off?
Answer: You don't.

The haunted heater stayed on steadily for DAYS. The heater people were supposed to come on Friday to fix it, but they were delayed until the following Wednesday.  It's a small apartment, people. Never will it require 120 hours of steady heat to shake the chill off.

Fortunately, the management lady developed a theory that perhaps when the [detestable] neighbors turned their heater on, the heat was coming into my apartment instead of theirs. We all agreed to set our thermostats to "off" and wait it out. It took the [risible] neighbors several days to remember this plan, but eventually, the heat desisted.

Desisted, that is, until Tuesday night at 10:30pm when it unaccountably came roaring back on, causing me to shed woolen garments around the living room like a rather prosaic stripper and resign myself to another stifling night's sleep.

But yesterday was Wednesday!  Heater-Fixing-Man Wednesday, which is now my favorite Wednesday of all.   Yesterday, I got home long before the [cacophonous] neighbors, read my book (yes; I had to wear the glasses) in peace until it got uncomfortably chilly, at which point I rose and turned the heater on.  A click. A woosh. And then...heat.  Later, before I went to bed, I shifted the switch to off and...the heat stopped.  Thank you, Heater-Fxing Man! 

The [heedless] neighbors, alas, had returned by then with an assortment of deep-voiced friends who carried on stomping and bellowing over my bedroom like a small herd of young buffalo for another forty minutes, but you can't have everything.

Bring it on, winter. I'm ready for you.