Each fall and winter, there are several things you need to do around the house. If you do not have your heating system inspected, it will find a way to remind you. One of the clever ways it uses is to just quit working. That is what ours did.
The technician came out. The framadama-therma-vent pump variable pressure thingy gadget that collects toxic fumes and re-routes them from your bedroom to the upper atmosphere needed to be cleaned, thumped and rattled a bit. Then he held it in front of his face and blew on it a couple of times to show he knew what he was doing.
That was minimal, but at least it covered the cost of the service charge. We got the system up and running, but something else seemed to be wrong. The tech had a “premonition” about it (probably on his way over here).
The thermostat (which was originally installed during the paleolithic period) was not calibrated properly. It was also lazy: if the house was not an iceberg or was not on fire, it didn’t think it needed to do anything. Replacing it brought the bill up to what the technician considered a living wage, so we settled up, and he went on his way.
The very next day I could not find enough clothes to make myself compatible with this new thermostat’s opinion of the weather, so I called the HVAC man back out: I told him he was due a raise. He rushed right over. I met him in the driveway, because the sun was shining and it was warmer outside. I heard him on his cell phone telling his wife to go buy a new car, then he came on in to inspect my furnace.
Well, guess what! That framadama-therma-vent pump variable pressure thingy gadget had been refreshed, but its heart was weak. It had struggled through the night, but sometime in the morning’s wee hours it had given up the ghost. We held a brief service during which I called out to the mercy of The Deity in a way that caused the technician to close his eyes prayerfully.
Then, we baptized and blessed the replacement part. The blessings, I’m sure, could’ve been heard two blocks away. I haven’t “prayed” like that in years: the last time was while changing the water pump and timing chain on an old pickup truck I had. It took at least fourteen verses of The Doxology and a pint of something to get that truck up and running again, and for my soul to feel cleansed. To cleanse a soul any better, you’d have to use drain cleaner.
Well, the cost of the new furnace piece was something shy of my life savings, but that included labor, so I had him install it. It seems fine right now, and I’m sure it will work ’til spring when the technician will return to clean out the air conditioning and the check book.
The heater went out at the beginning of a weekend, which is what they usually do. Luckily, we have a fireplace. In order to save the neighbor’s trees, some years back my wife had gas logs installed. The gas flames gush forth with a lovely red and blue hue and put out a good bit of heat. It has the pleasant ambient hissing sound to let you know the gas meter is working overtime.
Lila Bea had never heard or seen the gas logs in action before. It was new to her, and she was curious. But, she kept her distance as long as the fire was on. Most dawgs will not intentionally poke their head into a fire, and Lila didn’t, either. Neither did Zipper, but they’d both sit there and look at it as if it were a preview of something wonderful about to happen. I don’t want to give the fireplace too much credit here: those dawgs often look at me the same way.
With the heating system repaired and working, it was time to turn off the gas logs, and I did. The fire went away instantly, but the heat associated with the fake logs and surrounding parts did not dissipate so quickly. I left the room.
Some time later, Lila Bea came upstairs sporting a huge blister on her nose. I guess she had discovered whatever it was she was looking for, and as a bonus, found out something entirely unexpected. Dawgs do that sometimes, and so do other animals.
Back in the early 1970’s we had a pet pig named Hamlet. One weekend, we took him for a drive in the country to visit his mama, and spend time with some of our friends. We were staying in the home of an old roommate and his family, and were having a very nice time. The plan was to have a fish fry outside. A fire was built over a big ol’ black kettle filled with cooking oil. Evidently, and to no real surprise, the smell of fresh fried fish and hush-puppies are as attractive to pigs as they are people.
Poor Hamlet stuck his nose right into the kettle before we could stop him. Up until then, I’d always thought “bobbing for hush-puppies” and other fried foods was a joke. Hamlet saw no joke in it, and his little door-stop nose peeled for weeks.
Lila Bea’s black button nose now has a permanent pink spot on it about the size of a butter pea. She never complained about the burn, and I suspect she wears that special mark as proudly as some people wear tattoos. Since she is a lady-dawg, I reckon pink is proper enough for cosmetic adornment.
Another chore in the winter is to consider your bedspread. Brenda says ours was called a “comforter”. When a bedspread is called a comforter it is because it brings great comfort to the retail establishment that sells it to you. The comforter comes in a bag with accessories including more throw-pillows than you can shake a stick at. You cannot keep all of those pillows on the bed because there would be no room for you to sleep!
Our old one was showing wear–the kind of wear and tear that dawg toenails can add to a soft fabric, so it was decided we should replace it. We bought a new one. It is very pretty which is of no benefit when you are asleep in the dark. We gave the old one to the dawgs since before they had shown such affection for it. Do they appreciate that? No, they now prefer the new one.
We have agreed (somewhat) that the dawgs should stay off the new bedspread, and they do…as long as you stand over them with a broom handle. Both dawgs have been guilty of sneaking in there when we are not looking. But there is some satisfaction in noting that Lila understands that Zipper isn’t supposed to be up there.
Lila Bea will come to me if she needs to go outside. She also seems to know when Zipper wants outside, and lets me know. She comes to me if she wants water, and always lets me know when it is suppertime (often as much as three or four hours early).
If Zipper gets on the bed, Lila comes to me and tells on him. She will lead me to the bedroom and point. As soon as I call Zipper off and send him out of the room, Lila mounts the bed the very moment she thinks she can get away with it. Neither of them ever show any remorse except for a slight sense of wishing they had not been caught.
I’ve studied this for a few days, and feel certain I shouldn’t muster any righteous indignation about it: people are no better–their morality being largely made up of whatever they can get away with, too. The biggest difference between people and dawgs on this matter is that the dawgs don’t lie about it. People lie about it all the time–especially if they’ve been laying on somebody’s bed when they shouldn’t.