Thursday, December 15, 2005

Ice, Ice Baby!

We woke up this morning to a coating of ice all over the trees, the deck, the roads and the announcement that schools were closed today. Victoria was thrilled, even though her class was supposed to have their holiday party today -- for which I had made fruit salad for 30 people last night!

It should have been a cozy day, except that our downstairs heater stopped working at some point yesterday and it was brisk, as my dad from Boston would say, downstairs. So I started the world's biggest fire in the fireplace, but all the heat went right up the chimney -- unless you were standing directly in front of the flames, pressed up against the screen. I felt like a pioneer woman -- must keep the fire going! -- AND like a 21st century techie as I had two computers going in the office, the coldest room in the house.

Late in the afternoon, I took a mini-break from work to vaccuum under the cabinets in the kitchen. I don't know why they called out to me to do that -- I was just stopping to make myself a cup of tea to clutch for warmth's sake so I could keep working from home today. (Hi Monty!) But I simply had to do that vaccuuming, right that minute.

Did I mention my downstairs heat wasn't working? So I was wearing a heavy-ish jacket-y coat as I switched on my Hoover, and a few minutes into my tiny little task, I thought, hmm, that's odd, suddenly I'm very warm. Wow, housework must really be good for you after all! Hey, wait a minute ... I'm REALLY warm. My heat had mysteriously come back on.

There's a whole saga about my heater. We moved into this new (new to us) house 18 months ago, and we've had at least 15 service calls on the heater. We have a home warranty, so that's a relief, but our heater has been out for days at a time, fixed, out the next day, runs for a month, mysteriously out again. One guy who fixed it, fixed it so well that it was 90 degrees downstairs and the heater wouldn't turn off. Turns out the former owner had paid someone to rig the heater so it would pass the home inspection. We had a few weeks last winter when no one could fix the darn thing for more than a day, then I smelled natural gas and called the gas company, and they fixed it for a while.

So last week, it mysteriously went out again. (Hmm, do heaters have horoscopes? Like, could I see a portent in the heavens or something so I could predict just when it wouldn't work so I can call ahead to the home warranty company??!! Actually there is a portent: our local weather guy says it will drop below 35. My heater stops!! Spooky!!) And we had our favorite home warranty-approved company come out and fix it. I'm on first-name terms with Ken, and Tracy who does the scheduling back at the office. Ken fixed it, and said we needed a computer part, which he installed on Monday. Wednesday -- no heat! I think my heater is cursed. Or maybe there's someone with a voodoo doll of my heater -- I can see him now, sticking pins in it during the weather forecast.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Bah. Humbug.

I must be officially middle-aged. I was just in Old Navy, and not only did I think there were very few cute things for my daughter, but I was also put off by the lack of cashiers at the checkout. It is 2 weeks until Christmas, and they had 2 cashiers working.

During lunch hour.

When people who work try to get their shopping done.

One of the cashiers was moving like she was underwater and about to run out of air. Maybe she was just silently protesting the fact she had to wear an elf hat at work, but she didn't have to take it out on all of us. I was standing in line, waiting to buy three pairs of socks. I do think that Old Navy has really cute Christmas socks, and I had picked out a pair with gingerbread men on them and two more with snowflakes.

The other cashier was moving a little more quickly, so three people ahead of me in this line went over to that register. That put that cashier behind. Then a guy wearing his official Old Navy headset kept walking back and forth very officially between the two registers with a shirt on a hanger in his hands. Hmm. No elf hat here. He was careful not to make eye contact with any customers, and took his shirt over to an empty register.

Was he opening a new register to handle the overflow? Could it be? I'll never know. He spent 5-7 minutes trying to slide his official register card and get the register going, but never made it. After 15 minutes of waiting, as the line trebled, I tossed my socks on a nearby display and headed out of there. I used up my whole lunch for three pairs of socks I didn't even get to buy.
I did enjoy holding them. And I saved myself $15 bucks by not buying them, I guess.

When I got back to the office, I was relieved to find out it was not that I was middle-aged -- all my coworkers are hip, younger folks. They said they wouldn't have stayed either!