Photo: Two little boys in the unexpected MVP of my 2019 right now–a hand-me-down sleeping bag from a dear friend. This awesome thing kept my babies warm when I had a hard time keeping them warm.
We went down to Maryland over Christmas knowing the boiler wasn’t long for this world. A bunch of hard work and a few miracles made it possible for us to get quotes from some different heat installer companies before we left, and we were able to secure a loan for it in significantly less time than I thought we would get it. The company we chose put us on the docket for the 14th. Or, today. We breathed into the task, prayed for good weather, and prayed on the old boiler, went on to Maryland. We asked our neighbor to watch over the house and the boiler specifically, set the thermostat to 50.
“I keep having to fill up the tank. I don’t think the house is getting to 50,” our neighbor told us while we were gone. “I’m doing my best, but it looks like nothing is happening.”
We called the contractor and told them the boiler was about dead. Asked they could come sooner. “We’ve got an opening for the 10th. We’ll put you in.”
Ok, that’s something. Thanks be to God. (And for you locals who know how cold it was this weekend, this was a significant miracle for sure.)
We got back here to Massachusetts just before New Years and the house was 47 degrees. It’s as cold as you think it is, and it goes right to the bone.
I sent The Husband to go buy space heaters. He came back with nice ones. Ones that were good enough to get things warm, albeit after a bit of time. Our second day back here, we were fine. The boys played, The Husband and I got the house put back together, we were fine. At around 10 o’clock, after putting the boys to bed and us both taking showers, the ancient electrical line between the house and the pole exploded in a fantastic, sparkling firework display. I guess we’d overloaded it with our genius space heater plan. My neighbors, God bless them, took us in for the night and kept us warm and calm. Believe it or not, the electrical company came and patched the line that very night. Thanks be to God. We were up and running by 11.
We quickly came to the conclusion that we could not use to boiler to heat the house in any way, but it could be kept on purely for providing hot water. Hot water meant I could keep the boys clean. It also meant clean dishes. Ok, we can do this.
God kept the weather away. 40s during the day. No snow. It was all manageable. Uncomfortable, but manageable. We two parents put on brave faces and we managed.
And so it was.
Until the 4th. On the 4th, the boiler ran a hot water cycle that filled the basement with foul-smelling exhaust. We lost hot water. Can’t get the babies clean. The Husband, in a last-ditch effort to try to save something, opened up the side of the boiler to find this:
Awful, isn’t it? The guys who replaced it literally doubled-over with laughter when they saw it.
We turned her off and never turned her on again. I thanked her for her service (longtime readers know how I feel about thanking inanimate objects around here). She kept my babies warm through 5 years… including the 100-inch+ winter we had here. She died ingloriously, but she served until her very last breath. What more can you ask of a thing?
Don’t feel bad for us, Dear Reader. Really. I’m writing this post with such gratitude.
First, because of dear friends: that Saturday afternoon, my friend, who didn’t even know I could have used a sleeping bag (hell, I didn’t know), brought over a simple, precious thing that saved the day when the space heater fought hard to get the room up to 60 in the afternoons. It was such a wonderful, helpful, happy, fun tool for keeping the boys warm and fine during this crazy period.
Second, because of dear friends: twice, a dear friend opened up her home to us and let me shower the boys. Birdbaths using boiled water are ok for two adults who can manage, but young boys stink and need real showers. She entertained the boys, she fed them, she gave me access to a clean bathroom with clean towels… the gift of it brings me to tears. We know people here, and there were offers of help, but this woman made a time and a date and made it happen. You know who you are, Dear Friend. I’m humbled and grateful beyond words.
Third, and this is the thing I reminded myself: my kids were never cold, they were never hungry, and this was a temporary discomfort. People came to our rescue. We used our resources to get what we needed. We are privileged. There are families in this country (This state. This town.) who know cold and hunger regularly. Now that this is over, now that my house is warm again, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can be of service to them. How can I extend this warmth, and these miracles, to some other mom and some other children? I plan to prioritize this in the coming weeks.
And now, we’re back to it. There is so much more I want to write, so many more stories to tell. But I wanted to start with this energy, because I think the energy of 2019 needs to have all of this stuff in it: resilience, resourcefulness, service, giving, and gratitude. All of it. Pass it around to everyone.
I’m back. Thanks for letting me take a break. I hope you’ve transitioned into 2019 in a smoother way that we have. 🙂 I have a lot planned for this year. I hope it pans out! I’m grateful to share it all with you.
And for you new Dear Readers who just found my blog thanks to WP Discover, WELCOME! I’m glad you found me and I’m delighted to have you here!
Until Wednesday, take care.