Thursday, December 27, 2007

Got Heat?

Denial is such a peaceful place, much like sticking your fingers in your ears as you singsong, "I can't hear you...La! La! La!" It's nice here. Unfortunately I had to come back to reality sooner or later...

I guess I should have wondered what was happening whenever I went into the bathroom.

You see, I have a half-bath which was one of the warmest places in the house last winter. This winter it changed. The bathroom was so cold that I preferred to "hold it" rather than go in there. Nobody wants to bare their backside when it's thirty degrees out, myself included, but because I was vacationing in Denial, I refused to think about it.

"I wonder why it's so cold in here?" I'd wonder as I'd hurry up and get the heck out of there. And, come to think of it, it wasn't just the bathroom that was cold, it was the entire house. While we have been trying to keep the heat set at an economical level, when ice started forming on the doorknobs it makes you think something else might be going on. But, La! La! La! I can't hear you!

As the days grew steadily colder inside and outside, it wasn't until Christmas Day that the house seemed colder still. And it wasn't until the next morning that we realized what had happened. The furnace had clonked out. The blower had stopped working completely. We still had heat, technically, but there was no way to distribute it throughout the house. No wonder we had been freezing!

I called the Furnace Guy and, thankfully, he was able to come over in the afternoon. The problem was indeed the blower motor and he installed a new one. Also, despite the furnace's age (40 +/-) it's in great shape and should last for several more years. Furnace Guy said that the actual furnace will die before the new blower motor does. I wondered if I was supposed to feel relief or fear? Anyway...

With the heat off for two hours during the repair it was colder in the house than it had ever been, unless you went outside, and as soon as the furnace was running again I cranked the theromostat right up there. Up to seventy, in fact. (Yes, I splurged.) The heat pored out of the vents and with new power - I had forgotten how it was supposed to feel. Denial is a real place, boys and girls, but not a place you want to stay in. Here's to the Real World!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Ban the Family, Why Not?

My son's an artist and an extremely talented one.

Last night as I trekked up the stairs to bed and as I reached out to open my son's bedroom door to tuck him in for the night, I saw a sign.

My son loves drawing pictures and taping them to his bedroom door, but this one beat them all.

The sign was two pieces of thin paper, joined together with poster putty, and with the same putty, stuck to the door. At the top of the page were two identical crests: an uppercase "K" on a silver shield and, behind, two crossed swords. In the middle was the following writing: No Mom & Dad! No Dog & No Cat!!!! At the bottom was a series of drawings: A mom, a dad, a dog, and a cat - all with X's for eyeballs and long tongues hanging out. (A sure sign of what the future would hold if one of the members of the List of the Banned crossed the threshold.)

Laughing, I called to my husband to come and take a look. By the time we had recovered, we called to our daughter. You see, she wasn't included on the List. She cracked up too.

"Since you're not on the list," I said, "can you go check on your brother?"

"Okay!" She was truly agreeable about it and went inside.

For whatever reason, the "storm" had passed, and my son seemed to have forgotten what he had been angry over and came out. We asked him what it was about, but the only part he would describe were the crests.

"The 'K' is for 'Kids'" he explained. Embarrassed, he tried to take the sign down, because after all, he did want to be tucked-in and have a bedtime story read to him.

We took the sign for safekeeping and to join the host of other mementos that he has created. I snugged him into bed and read him a story. He hugged me extra tight and kissed me goodnight.

I had been forgiven for my "crime" and, hopefully, retired from this List and any more to come... At least for one night!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Last of A Generation

My aunt passed away this week, she was 86 years old, and the last surviving sibling of my father.

I guess it wasn't a surprise for any of us. She had been sick for quite a while and had lost her husband not even two months before. But what struck me was how she was the last one. In a span of seven short years, my father and all his siblings have passed away. A whole generation has been, and gone.

This saddens me, although I know the passing of generations is a part of life, because those times, those places, those people - that past - is now no more. Someday, I know, me and my siblings will be gone too, and gone will be our collected memories of the times we lived in and of each other.

My father and his siblings were Depression Era kids, and when I heard them tell their stories from their childhood I couldn't help but imagine them as if I was watching old black and white films of The Little Rascals. I could see them plainly - independent and scrappy, and always in a lot of trouble.

My aunt was perhaps the scrappiest one and always the most independent. For a woman, she was truly "liberated" in an era when it wasn't the "thing" to do. And perhaps liberated isn't the word. My aunt said and did whatever she wanted to and didn't care what anyone else thought. I won't say this was the best thing to do, because I have heard she hurt many people's feelings in the process, especially her mother's, but I'm sure she must have regretted some of it though. Then who knows?

She was gruff and tough, basically the type of woman who didn't take any crap. She was a truck driver for a time, and a taxi driver in Detroit. She smoked, drank, and swore, and didn't shave. (And here Madonna thought she was such a trend-setter!) She was married and divorced several times, no one knows for sure how many. She settled down later in life. She loved bingo and reading, she played the organ and gardened. She always had a host of yapping lap dogs and a talking Myna bird named Charlie. All in all, she was quite a character, to say the least. And now she's gone.

So, here's to the last of a generation. Here's to my aunt and her brothers and sister. Here's to all of them. May they live on in the family's memory.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Getting Long in the Tooth? Not This Girl!

This month marks the 9th anniversary of my 29th birthday. Yes, I'm still 29. Well, at least in my heart.

I don't have a problem with aging. As one grows older, one grows wizer, or so they say. But something in my head can't help but think things like, Half of your life is over; It's all down-hill from here; Pretty soon you'll be in a home wearing diapers, and other such nonsense like that. And it is nonsense considering I've always considered myself the Glass Is Half-Full type, or have always tried to.

I guess it's normal to start thinking of life in those terms. We do have to be realists and see (and accept) things for what they are. People age, people get gray hair, people forget their underwear, people die. (hee-hee)

While I could allow myself to start treking down the wrong path, I won't do that. Instead I try to focus on the positives that celebrating a birthday bring:

I have completed another year of life.
I am healthy (most of the time if you don't count for things like the Swirling Vortex of Confusion and going Half-Nuts - they fall under the mental health category, and it's in that department where I'm lacking).
I have family and friends who love and appreciate me.
I am intelligent and good looking (hey, ego-boosting never hurt anyone).

Well, this list could go on and on, but I think you get the main idea here. It's all about being thankful (and grateful) for everything that you have, and I'm going to go into yet another birthday doing just that.

So, Happy Birthday to me! I'm so thankful for having completed another year and hope that I will be here to celebrate many, many more!