Daddy, Chill

Dearest Rachel –

Some mornings, I find myself waking up, wondering what exactly it going to come to me to write you about. There are days when I’ve been dreaming about this or that, and have to tell you about it first thing in the morning, before I forget it all. There are others when I’m waxing philosophical about it all, wondering what God had in mind for me and Daniel to put us through this or that (despite the underlying knowledge that nothing we’re going through is particularly unique to those of us in the human race, and indeed, we’re still so much better off than the vast majority of the populace).

Today was not one of those mornings. Nothing came to mind as I opened my eyes, and – while I know there’s plenty of day left for something to happen, I tend to prefer contacting you first thing in the morning (which I know is a ridiculous thing if I haven’t been dreaming about something worth commenting on) – I found myself wondering what I was going to say to you, and if I’d come up with something before the end of the day. Imagine, I’m having this mini-panic attack over whether I’d find material to send you, when I know full well you’ll never read it anyway.

Sometimes (and you’ll remember this clip from when we used to watch Business Blaze together), I just need a reminder to calm down.

It’s not exactly “Be still, and know that I am God” – and it doesn’t seem to calm the older fellow down in the slightest – but it works for me, as a general rule, it only for the sheer ridiculousness of the situation. What the H#*$ am I even getting worked up about, after all?

Ironically, however, this morning gave me material that pretty much literally enforced this imperative.

You know about the crazy layout of this house; how the master bedroom and bath, and the dining/family room, are both additions to the main house. As a result, these rooms aren’t connected to the main HVAC piping, but rather have their own built-in heaters and ceiling fans to regulate heat and cold. Basically, the original owners of this house did what they could to get the most house for the least money – and it shows. In order to do that, they had to cut corners and jerry-rig things here and there.

What this means for today’s story is that I didn’t notice anything was amiss until I left the bedroom and the bathroom. Everything was working fairly well where I was sleeping, but when I got to the sunroom, I was instantly aware of just how cold it was in the house. Naturally, I went over the thermostat to see what temperature it was, and what temperature it was set to be.

I would say you could see from the face plate what was going on, but that’s basically the opposite of the truth. You can’t see anything on that screen – and that’s the point. I went downstairs to see if it had tripped the circuit, but everything seemed to be running normally, except for the furnace.

I called Roger, to see if he could talk me through what might be the problem, and eventually he had me take the faceplate off:

After having me replace the batteries in the thermostat – and it’s still not working – he had me pull out the white and red wires, twist them together so they were touching, and then turn the switch on the furnace.

Et voila! The furnace is running fine. The only problem is, without a thermostat to regulate it, it’ll keep running and running, pumping out heat until we’d be sweltering in here. And given the rising price of gas these days, that’s the last thing we need. But with all these symptoms taken in mind, Roger concludes that the problem is with the thermostat rather than the furnace, which should be a relatively cheap and easy fix.

After switching the furnace off for the time being, I head off to work. I hate to leave Daniel in a cold house, but he usually wears so many layers, he probably won’t notice right away. And it’s not like I can take the day off; I do have some answers to work on for Scott.

But it doesn’t take me long to put when I can together for him, and a good thing, too. I get a text from Roger at half past ten: he can be over in an hour. I’m probably speeding through the data with Scott, but I get something sent off, close everything down, and head back across town to be there when he arrives.

From this point on, the story is fairly pedestrian – unless the intricacies of programming a thermostat interest you (and they don’t interest me that much – to be honest, I used to rely on you to make the adjustments as you pleased), all I’m going to say is that everything that needed replacement has been, and everything else is working its way back to what will have to serve for ‘normal’ these days.

It must be nice where you are, where the ambient atmosphere needs no adjustment. But that’s life here on earth, where everything changes by degrees, literally, and we have to continually be adjusting and adapting from one day to the next.

So the next time someone tells me to “chill,” I know what I have to do – set the thermostat down a degree or two.

Not that I’m going to want to.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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