hours in the car again this past weekend (hey, it beats our usual 10), up and back to E'burgh for the last of the'08 Christmases. It was an especially difficult one, as everyone is still so raw from A's Mamaw's death in November, but everyone kept their shit together for the most part and a good time was had by all. And as a bonus, I passed on my 24-inch Dancin' Singin' James Brown to a STOKED ten year old in the (lively) gift exchange. DSJB was originally a wedding gift from my brother, who reads this blog, and dude, before you get all hot under the collar about it: the Godfather of Soul was scaring the crap out of Birdy and he had to move on to a place where he would be loved. Okay.
Degrees in our house Thursday night, even though the thermostat was promising 72. Ice on the insides of the windows and sub-zero toilet seats. Frozen pipes to the washing machine. Wearing several pairs of socks over my tights, under my jeans. Birdy's icicle fingers.
It got very cold in Tennessee-- the coldest in 12 years or something crazy-- right around the end of last week. It wasn't any colder than what we knew as "normal" in Indiana, but we have softened up and thawed since then and DAMN, single didgets are brutal. And it seems our little old Southern heat pump agreed with us. The heating repair guy came out in his van and spent some time in the scary dirt basement region while I ran up and down the steps to flip breakers on and off (more responsibility than I was prepared for). He delivered a sorry prognosis.
Replace this whole part, he said.
$700, he said.
Wait, he said.
They don't make that part anymore, he said.
Replace the whole thing? I said.
Yep, he said. Ob$cene amount, he said.
Wait it out? Miracle recovery? I said.
Take your chances, lunatic, he said.
Sounds like a plan, I said.
And lo and behold, when the temperature started to feel more like a Tennessee January than a Siberian one, the Little Heat Pump That Could? Totally DID. And we took off our coats and hats and thanked God above in advance for Birdy sleeping in her own warm toasty bed and not digging her little toes into our ribs.
The moral of this story: Sometimes old shit still works, but just part of the time and probably not when you really need it. But old shit does not require financing, just extra socks and sweaters and a decent space heater where you sleep.
A number between 6 and 10
percent paycut. Announced last Friday, the freezingest day, just before I left work to meet the gentleman about my failing heat pump. Asking your child to take off her mittens to eat dinner makes you feel one step away from the poor house, and doing the paycut math in your head while you serve the beans and rice* makes your kitchen feel even colder.
But! I have a job! And the people at that job are optimistic, positive. The cut is promised to be temporary. Kind things were said to me about the way I do my work, and truly, I am feeling quite happy there, finally comfortable. And hey, the heat came back on. Just put on another damn hat and wait it out, right?
*that's not for dramatic effect, we just happened to be having beans and rice, but it did make things seem a little bit more desperate in my moment of hand-wringing.