Roast or Freeze

Winter’s still a few weeks away but we’ve already sampled a taste of cold weather and biting wind. Which means we’re back for another seasonal ride on the heating roller coaster — roasting the kids in exchange for comfort downstairs, or cowering under blankets on the couch to preserve a temperate existence upstairs. Old houses and uneven heating go hand-in-hand. Our exposure to gusty winds doesn’t help.

I grew up in a suburban split-level rancher and throughout my childhood, I never gave heating or cooling the faintest thought. Heating and central AC shared a ghostlike existence and I expected the house to be nothing but cozy in the winter and like an ice box in the summer. A blazing fire offered ambiance, not a source of warmth.

Things are not so silent around here. As I write this, the furnace blasts to life and and our old pine floor boards tremble from its growl. Everyone here is keenly aware of the heat. You can’t miss the gurgling of water in pipes that makes the radiators sound like they ate something that didn’t agree with them, and that sharp hiss of steam. Later in the winter, the pipes clank as the furnace awakens; because the heat is timed to warm the house before we get up, that ringing clank serves as an alarm clock for the alarm clock.

and the kids don’t wax poetically about the heat. But they appreciate the fire, crowding close to play. and i’ve already seen brynn hover a hand over a radiator.

Air conditioning is even louder; it’s more of an annoyance that requires them to up the volume on the tv. but i recall when cayden was about 3 and visiting a friends house with central a/c. he was mystified and excited. mom, there’s a hole in the wall and cool air comes through it!

I’d like to say that with awareness equates to appreciation but kids don’t really care.

he kids, because they are more aware, will appreciate these 100 yera old radiators that work so hard. But recognition does not equate admiration.