It1s c-c-cold in here |

It1s c-c-cold in here

by Jane Stebbins

Some people think I1m a dedicated reporter, tracking down answers (3No comment!) asking the hard questions (How do you explain your fingerprints around your dead wife1s neck?) and attending every meeting for which I can find an agenda. Tomorrow, I plan to attend Global Wings, a program on planetary change and natural healing.This sudden dedication is not due to my employer having given me authorization to rack up as many overtime hours as possible spending time at feng shui workshops and upper-lip laser surgery discussions. It1s not because co-workers are out of town. It1s not even because I1m bucking for a raise I richly deserve. (Editor1s note: Hah!)That dedicated reporter image? Let them think what they1ll think. The truth of the matter is, I1m cold.We have no heat in our house. We didn1t realize this until last Saturday, when the noisiest cat we have, Binky, was meowing<screaming<for water. Our two backup cats, Bob and Ed, chimed in.3You have water! we screamed back at them.3MeOW!I picked Binky up and took her to her water bowl. See? I tapped my finger in the water. That1s when I found I was tapping my finger on the ice atop her water.Yup. It1s cold in the Stebbins abode. We thought it was just our daughter complaining, like only an 11-year-old can.11-year-old: 3It1s cold in here.Electric bill recipient: 3Get over it.Her: 3It1s really cold in here.Us: 3Put on a sweater.Her: 3Mama? (shivering) I1m co-o-old.Us: 3Put on another sweater.But the day I woke up and saw my breath, I knew something was wrong. The cats were under the covers, the plants were shivering. The thermometer, which we conveniently never hung outside, read 40 degrees. That, we learned, would be a warm day.My husband took apart the furnace, cleaned the filter, turned the electricity and gas on and off, off and on. He poked screwdrivers in places the OWNERS MANUAL suggested not to, sniffed around for the smell of gas and called it a day, crawling under a blanket with the inch-thick packet of instructions.He later proclaimed that the ignitor switch was broken.We can1t figure out how to get the switch out of the furnace without taking a hammer to it, even though I keep reminding my husband that a hammer applied to his truck1s starter made it work again.So we freeze.I hate the cold, so until we get the furnace fixed, probably sometime in October, I will spend as much time away from home, preferably in buildings equipped with heat. Most of those buildings are public areas<people don1t look kindly upon you making yourself comfortable in their living room, even if they do know you<so I1ve had to share.People at the United Church of Christian Ministries look at me sideways; they know I1m not religious. The fine folks at the Crohn1s and colitis support group wonder about my sudden interest in their problems. I1m having a tough time coming up with stories in Alcoholics Anonymous and Rational Recovery meetings. I stayed until after midnight at a Breck planning commission meeting, dozing uncomfortably in my chair but reveling in the relative warmth of that normally chilly room.I feel like a homeless person hanging out at the library.So I show up at these meetings and ask the hard questions: Where, exactly, is god?, I ask the churchgoers. Is the pain sharp or dull?, I ask the people with Crohn1s disease. You drank how many pints of Jack?! I ask those in AA. You1re going to allow what?, I ask the planning commissioners.And to my husband I ask: Whose turn is it to chop wood?Jane Stebbins can be reached at 668-3998 ext. 228 or

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