November 1st


Industrial Furnace from 1907
Image via Wikipedia

There’s something very real about the difference between October 31st and November 1st.  It’s as if I wake up in the morning and suddenly notice it’s pitch black out and cold as well.  November seems much more like Winter to me than October and ever since I’ve been a kid the transition between the two months has always appeared rather sudden.  Winter doesn’t mess around and the day after Halloween seems like a wake up call.

It seems like every year I have a secret goal that I hide from my wife and unsuspecting daughter to wait to turn on the heat until the magical day of November 1st.  I have no idea why.  This year I almost made it.  Almost.  But as luck would have it, some semi-reptilian part of my brain woke up and understood that the house truly was cold and that wearing long underwear was not only a fashion faux pas but also somewhat ridiculous given the small amount of effort it takes to turn on the magic box.  The magic box being the thermostat, of course.

One of the nice parts of winter is to wake up, traipse downstairs and instantly know (without checking) that the heat is on and all is right in the world.  There are so many sounds associated with the heating system working:   the initial firing of the furnace, the whoosh of the fan, the clicks and clacks of various mechanisms as the furnace turns off, the intermittent deep-throated “whumpf” of the furnace misfiring on occasion.  At the first house we lived in here in Portland the furnace was of the octopus variety replete with heat delivering tentacles reaching out to all areas.  To an eight year old, the furnace was a bit frightening – a metal version of a basement hydra.  But it was a pretty cool beast and never really did a lot other than devour the remains of dinosaurs and heat the house in return.  A pretty good bargain in my opinion.

As I’m writing, I’m listening to jazz on Pandora waiting to wake up my daughter.  I’m sure she has already semi-consciously become aware that the temperature has changed.  Gravity dictates the upstairs is never as warm as the main floor during winter.  But nevertheless, you can always tell when the heat turns on in this house even when semi-asleep.  I imagine that it makes her smile as well.  I hate to wake her up but it’s time for the morning ritual.

Have a great day.

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