At four a.m. I lurched forward and twisted around in bed, planting my feet on the floor. And as soon as they hit the floor I knew something was wrong. It was too cold. I went to my youngest son who was yelling at an unreasonably loud level for four in the morning. Afterward, eyes still half-closed, I went to the thermostat to see what the hell-is-actually-freezing-over was going on.
The thermostat said minus fifteen - a whole four degrees lower than it was set to. Shit, the furnace is broken. I cursed the furnace, then stood motionless in my pajamas, trying to figure out what to do. Be positive, be positive, think productive thoughts. I'm going to die in a freezing house. I jabbed the buttons to force the temperature up. Nothing. Up, up, up some more. Nothing. Shit. I went downstairs to the utility room and stood gormlessly looking at the furnace, as if I had an inch of a clue what to do with it.
The furnace wasn't speaking to me.
But there, stuck to the furnace, like a shiny ray of light, was an emergency number! Yaharoo.
I tiptoed back to the bedroom. "Don't get up..." I whispered, softly. And then, a little louder, more of a blurt: "But I think the furnace is BROKEN." And then in sort of a panicked squeak-shout "I'm going to call the emergency people!"
"Hold on." J said, hauling himself out of bed before I carried through with my threat.
"What are you doing?" I demanded, as though I had everything under control, and how could he possibly know what to do?
He went off with a look about him that told me he was going to sort it out.
The temperature was still dropping. Since J seemed to know what to do, I pulled on my big fluffy robe and crawled under the covers, shivering and wondering who was going let my mum and dad know when I died of hypothermia in the middle of the night. Maybe they would send my frozen pinkie as a token of their daughter.
I heard the back door open and close, and then footsteps outside the bedroom window, and then, this scraping, scraping... incessant scraping. Either a burglar was scraping his way through our house, or J was fixing something to do with the furnace. Then the back door again.
A few minutes later, as I was conjuring in my head all the bad things that might happen, I heard the furnace start up, and so I crossed my fingers and toes and anything that could be crossed. The fan started up, and lovely, wonderful, welcome heat began pumping into the house.
HURRAY! WE ARE NOT GOING TO DIE!
I later discovered it was minus twenty eight degrees when J had ventured out into the garden at four in the morning, to fix the frozen vent. Yeah, he's pretty awesome. And handy. And awesome.
Everything was fine, and warm, and there were no calls to the emergency furnace people.
My parents warned me about moving to Canada. I'm beginning to think maybe they had a point.