I shivered even though the room was warm. Thinking about the furnace had me anxiously rocking back and forth. My daughter Niki, sitting on the sofa next to me, put her hand comfortingly on my shoulder while her husband Mike nodded in compassion. Arnie and I had had an old fashioned marriage. I took care of cooking, cleaning and laundry. He took care of mowing the lawn, keeping the furnace running and fixing anything that broke down. Four days ago my husband of 37 years had unexpectedly died.
If I had died, a few weeks after the funeral when family and friends went back to their lives, Arnie would have merely starved to death in soiled clothing. This was a fate that I considered far less horrible than the one I was facing at the moment. With Arnie gone, I was sentenced to learning the care and maintenance of the wood-pellet-eating beast in the basement. Knowing that it was-right below where I was sitting-made me shiver again!
Most people have furnaces that are turned on and off with the twist of a thermostat dial and only need a heating specialist’s visit once a year to service the equipment. That would have been too simple and easy for my husband. He bought an unusual furnace that few others have in Central Wisconsin. He installed a furnace that required as much hands-on care as a newborn baby. The dirty thing needed to be burped, diapered and potty trained. All I knew about it at that moment was how to pour in the wood pellets. Continue reading