Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Our 8 Days Without Heat

As the thermometer dipped, my anger peaked.

When we first asked our landlord to turn on the heat in our apartment, he thought it was already on. OK, I thought. An oversight.

A week later we reminded him again. That began 8 days of phone calls, text messages and the nearly non-stop use of our space heater.

At first we thought the heat just wasn't working in our apartment alone. Then the building's boiler blew up.

As our landlord and the plumbers worked to patch things up, our apartment hit a low of 59 and a high of 64 in rooms without the space heater. I'm not used to that. After all, during the last three winters our apartment was so hot we regularly had to open the windows.

I'm a wimp when it comes to cold weather. All week I changed into a hoodie as soon as I got home from work, and one night I even wore a hat for most of the night. I slipped on a wool coat if the cold got unbearable. During the worst of it, my space heater and I holed up in the bedroom, door shut.

The week progressed, and I got angrier. The glimmers of hope only made me madder. On Friday morning the radiators sputtered on at about 4:30 a.m., but were off by the time I got up at 8. On Saturday the same thing happened, only in the afternoon.

On Sunday -- day number 8 of the fiasco -- we were both fed up. Even Paul -- who had been taking the absence of heat pretty well -- was exasperated. He and our landlord exchanged 22 text messages and 2 phone calls. And our heat was officially and finally flipped on at 8 p.m.

As I type this blog post on a Monday night, it is a balmy 75 degrees in the living room, and I am happy. But I did learn something from the experience -- namely, how to tell the difference between 59 degrees and 63 degrees merely by standing in the middle of the room. It's a skill I hope I won't have to use anytime soon.

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