Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

Giving Thanks

Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of doing something I haven’t done at least since a run of glorious Indian Summer (apologies for the phrase, I just don’t know what to call it now) days in October: I woke up in a warm house.

For most people checking out a writer’s blog, this is no big thing. For us? It’s the world. You see, our house was literally 100 years old when we bought it 20 years ago. It has high ceilings, weird spaces and many large windows. Insulation? Yeah, there was a thin layer of fiberglass in the attic that was probably installed after the second owners bought the place back in the 50s (we are the third owners in the house’s now 120 years) but not much else. And while the boiler was newish and was well-regarded by the guy who serviced it every year, we learned during an energy audit done last spring that it was seriously underpowered for the house (Our heat load, i.e., the amount of heat needed for the house, was calculated at about 115,000 BTUs. Our boiler’s maximum output is about 85,000. Which explains a lot.). For years we got by just by cranking up the thermostat and burning oil at a prodigious rate, but skyrocketing oil prices and a desire to cut our carbon footprint made that an ever more unpalatable solution. Also, as we’ve aged our ability to tolerate cold fell in direct proportion with our house’s ability to keep it out. It’s one thing to bundle up and head outside on a cold winter day. It’s an entirely different thing to be cold indoors, all the time.

So on Tuesday the guys installing our air source heat pump system came back after being away for a week and completed the work they started two weeks ago. The first floor had been connected and running, and thank goodness for that–over the weekend, it got down to 16 degrees, so at least we could come downstairs to warm up. By the end of the day we had hot air filling the bedrooms. It was glorious. It’s a relief. It’s another load off our minds following a full year of angsting and worrying and trying to work things out. The work’s not done, there’s still a kitchen to finish, more insulation going in next week, more repairs to make around the house, but the most important step is out of the way, and today we will have a wonderful family meal made in an ersatz kitchen, and heat. Wonderful, wonderful heat.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

One Response

  1. Good decision, it sounds like! As I get older, being warm is important, especially for my hubby who have fibromyalgia. And 95-year-old father-in-law who lives with us!

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