Tag Archives: furnace



Fifty-two–the number of weeks in a year.

Fifty-two–the number of cards in a deck.

Fifty-two–the temperature inside our house at 7:00 this morning, when we awoke and realized that the furnace wasn’t working.

Brrrrr! Husband got on the phone with the guy who sold us the furnace just two years ago, who promised to send someone out to look at it as soon as possible.

We set up space heaters around the table, put the kids in extra layers of clothing, and ate some oatmeal for breakfast. I felt uncomfortable, a bit inwardly disgruntled about the chill air. Again my morning routine was disrupted. How will I find a moment to meditate if I have to greet the technician and show him where the furnace is?

I asked my husband for help so that I could meditate before he left for work. He agreed, and I went up to my cushion. Shortly thereafter, my husband took the kids upstairs to my son’s room; I had already brought out my son’s toys for them to play with: trucks, an airplane, a train set.

Both of the upstairs bedrooms have their own heating/air conditioning units attached to the wall. Can’t remember right now what those things are called; they’re made by Fujitsu, they have neat little remotes, and they keep the rooms warm in winter and cool in summer. Thank the heavens those things were working; the upstairs felt like a tropical paradise in comparison to the rest of the house.

My meditation was interrupted a few minutes in by Alan the technician, who called to make sure I’d be home when he arrived to check out the furnace. Yes, my kids and I will be homethank you for coming. I tried to settle back into the meditation zone.

Then I heard Cliff come upstairs to spend time with the kids before he left for work. I heard the door opening and then him saying, “Oh, did you poop? Say, I pooped!” 

My son answered him, “Ah poopoop!

All this is happening right next door to my tiny meditation room, which doesn’t have its own heating/air conditioning unit, by the way. I wrap up with blankets every time I sit in the winter, because it’s pretty dang cold in there. Trying to focus. Trying not to listen to their conversation as Cliff changes Aren’s icky diaper. Grateful that Cliff is taking care of it and not leaving it to me.

Meditation finished, I joined the trio in my son’s room, and noticed a pungent quality to the air that only those who have changed many diapers can really understand or imagine. Cliff needed to get to work; after a few minutes he kissed us and took his leave. Yep, this air is unpleasantly odiferous, I thought to myself. We can’t stay in here all day. We might as well figure out how to be warm downstairs and let this place air out already. I brought the little ones back down with me.

I made us all some tea, wrapped the kids up in blankets on the sofa and settled them in with a movie. I kept moving to stay warm, tidying up the kitchen, the dining room, getting the day’s laundry sorted and ready for the washer.

I kept feeling annoyed that it was so cold. I can’t sew in these conditions. You can’t sew if you can’t feel your hands.

Alan the heating technician arrived, and he made a bee-line to the furnace in the basement. He came back up a short time later reporting that the inducer motor was bad and he would need to drive out to fetch a replacement motor; he doesn’t carry that part in his van. “There is a 99 dollar diagnostic fee, and the labor will be 185. So, $284 total.” Right then my son fell down, was fussing on the floor, and I saw little puffs of breath appearing in front of his face with each little whimper. Yes, it was that cold. That’s fine, I told him, Thank you.

I kept myself busy until Alan the technician came back. More laundry. More tidying. I noticed I was feeling increasingly impatient for the heat to come on, wanting Alan to return with the new inducer motor, wanting him to get the work done quickly so that the house could be comfortable again.

The whole  morning a realization had been slowly sneaking up on me, and I finally stopped and took a good look at it. Yes, this is inconvenient, this is uncomfortable, but this is finite. I have a house. It might be colder than normal, but I have a house. Imagine not having a house, no shelter, no bed. I know the heat will come back on at some point. Imagine being so cold that you are suffering from the cold, with no hope of being warm any time soon. Imagine being afraid that you might die in this cold, knowing that you have no place to take shelter. So enjoy this time, this contrast. The discomfort helps me to fully appreciate comfort. To see my children on the couch wrapped up in blankets, safe–what a wonderful luxury this is!

I got lunch together, again set the space heaters up around the table, and we ate. Alan returned, got to work replacing the faulty motor, and I had the kids once again wrapped up like little burritos on the couch. They were on to their second movie by this time.

Alan worked his magic; the heat came back on. By early afternoon the kids were settled into nap time, and I was working on a new sewing project, a lined zipper pouch. The warmth of the afternoon sun felt wonderful on the back of my neck. I felt gratitude for this warm house, this life.

It’s now late, 11pm. I’m in my meditation room, wrapped in blankets, feeling a bit cold, and really tired. My evening meditation will most likely be thirty minutes of me struggling to stay awake; it was a busy day and my body is exhausted. I’m tempted to skip the meditation and just go to bed, but I’ve committed to my meditation practice in the same way I’ve committed to this writing project, so I’ll sit down in spite of the resistance.

When I settle into bed this evening, I’ll bask in the warmth of a down comforter and a soft mattress. My husband and our two cats will be dozing away. I’ll close my eyes with a roof over my head, my two children nearby, safe, slumbering in their own rooms, a furnace downstairs that is working hard to keep the house warm.

I am the richest woman in the world.