Cold Open

You know how it goes; you remember how the episodes began when the revival fired up. It’s the top of the hour, and what you’re watching is too good, too professionally produced to be a commercial. The visuals are stunning, and the action has you already hooked on what’s going on. But there’s been no indication that the show has actually started, because there’s been no opening credits sequence. All at once, the tension builds to a minor climax, there’s a shocking reveal… and now the credits roll, with the familiar theme music you know and love so well sweeping you along.

You’ve just experienced what’s known as a ‘cold open.’

Dearest Rachel –

And with that, I’m going to pull a bait and switch, and let you know that this letter is not about that sort of thing, no matter how much you enjoyed that sort of start on the revived series of Doctor Who and other various shows. No, I’m going to get literal here.

Mornings in fall are a challenge to deal with; what with the bedroom being part of an addition that’s not connected to the house’s HVAC system, it’s always been left up to the wall-mounted space heater to try to keep the room comfortable. The emphasis, of course, is on the word ‘try,’ as its efforts were always somewhat uneven, even at the best of times. Since you had the side of the bed closest to the heater, you might have been warmer than I was most of the time (although, quite frankly, keeping warm abed was more a matter of the number of ‘reindeer skins’ we’d piled atop ourselves, rather than however well the unit could heat the air), and perhaps you didn’t feel the difference as much as I did.

Then again, it would seem that this fall is worse than most, so the problem is more obvious at this point. For whatever reason, it appears that the thermostat is not communicating with the heater; so, while the former is aware that the room is colder than I’d like it to be, when it tells the heater to switch itself on, its instructions are either ignored or not even heard in the first place. Or, for all I know, the fan that blows the hot air into the room may be broken, or otherwise non-functional. I think this is a new situation, since I don’t remember this being a problem last year or the year before. I’m pretty sure that Chompers never had to deal with this level of cold throughout the winter after your accident. A good thing, too, since it was probably bad (and confusing) enough that you never returned from that trip to camp; to have to sleep in a cold room every night thereafter would have been that much more punishing to his psyche, I would imagine.

At least – with the help of my father’s references – I’ve gotten in touch with a local company that should be able to look into whatever might be going wrong here, and hopefully get this matter resolved before winter kicks in and the room gets really uncomfortable. As it is, I’m waking up with the sensation of coming down with something each morning, only for it to be shaken off as I get myself started on the day – basically, upon getting up and out of the room, I’m feeling a little better already.

But even that process can be something of a chilling ordeal. After all, all of my clothes – whether my socks and underwear stored in a dresser here in the bedroom itself, or my shirts and sweaters hanging in the closet in the laundry room, with its back wall forming the updated exterior of the house – are all part of the otherwise unheated addition, so putting them on doesn’t warm me up right away, but rather the opposite at first. Eventually, they begin to serve their purpose, but sliding them on requires enduring one last shock of cold before they take effect.

At least, once I make my way through the rest of the house, everything feels much warmer. Part of this may be due to the mere comparison against the room I’ve just left, of course, but there’s also the fact that the furnace may put in that much extra effort to compensate for the room it cannot reach adequately, and so, the rest of the house is rather warmer than it needs to be. The home office is that much more so, as the heat rises to the upper floors by its very nature. I suspect that Logan is warm enough in his room that he may well have a fan on in there from time to time.

But that’s what happens when you live in a house that we acknowledged almost from day one was built to get the most amount of space for the least amount of money possible; what the original owners saved in construction costs, we wind up paying for in energy bills later on, I guess. At least it’s manageable, and once the maintenance service gives the space heater the once-over, I’m sure it will be again soon enough. We’ll have the temperature back in balance throughout the place, and nothing will have to be working too hard – and I won’t have to wear too much – just to keep us warm.

Still, it would be nice to still be able to keep each other warm on our own, especially on a day like this, a Saturday when (most unusually) nothing is going on from the beginning to the end of the day. But there’s nothing I can do about that for the moment.

Regardless, keep an eye on me, honey, and wish me luck. I’m going to need it – at least, for the next couple of days.

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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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