I had never been more excited to come home from work before. Sure, who doesn’t love to come home after a long day at the office? I certainly have always enjoyed that. However, a few weeks ago, I was in the biggest rush to arrive back home because I knew something special was waiting for me. It wasn’t a package or a gift, but rather a new soaking tub in my master bathroom. My husband and I had picked it out the week before and it was finally getting delivered and installed that day. The first thing I did when I got home was draw a bath for myself. However, I was quickly discouraged when I realized I did not have enough hot water to fill the tub. This was because our water heater was too small and somewhat old as well. How could I possibly enjoy my new tub if I could never make the water all that warm. Was I going to have to boil a pot of water on the stove like the olden days? There was no way that was happening. I convinced my husband to call the plumber the very next day and inquire about a new water heater. I had no idea buying this tub would force us to buy new plumbing equipment, but I had to do what I had to do. Since we had the plumbing changed, I have enjoyed many baths in my new tub. It is so luxurious and I can’t wait to get in each and every night.
I live in a region where the winters can get extremely cold and stay in the single digits for up to five months. This weather can really take a toll on a house and the appliances that are needed in order for it to function properly. I have owned a home that has two rentals units for the past 10 years. This is nice additional income for my family. I do not live in the house, so I stop by once a week to make sure everything is working and keep in frequent contact with the tenants that live in the house. Last winter, my city had a very difficult winter season. There were many snow storms and the weather was downright frigid for a solid month. I have always kept my home maintained to ensure an unexpected emergency doesn’t arise, but I didn’t have the same protocol for my rental unit. It was during this time, I got a call from one of my tenants stating that his storage unit was half under water due to a burst pipe. I quickly headed over to the unit to turn off the water to avoid any further damage. Most everything in the unit was under water, with additional water spewing out into the remaining basement area. Luckily, the tenant had renter’s insurance and was able to be reimbursed for the damage done to his belongings in the unit. After contacting my local plumber, I had to use wet vacuums and install a dehumidifier to remove the remaining water and avoid mildew and mold forming in my basement.
Where I live, our winters are very intense. It gets pretty snowy, but sometimes it is even too cold for snow. Growing up, my parents always talked about how expensive heat is, and they were always making sure we were closing doors and windows in the winter in order to not let any heat escape. I guess I did not realize how much it really is until I moved out on my own and had to start paying for it myself. It is my first winter in the home that I am now renting. At a cost, I have kept it pretty warm and comfortable these last few months. But, just the other day, I came home from work and my house was so cold, I could actually see my breath inside. Immediately, I went to check my thermostat and it said my heat was on! In panic, I called my go to guy, my dad. He is very handy and knows everything about HVAC systems, and I did not feel like dealing with my landlord at that point. My dad went and checked out my system in my basement, and immediately shook his head and pulled out a totally clogged, dusty air filter, the reason the heat had stopped working.. I was a little embarrassed, but I didn’t know anything about HVAC maintenance. The two of us headed out to the local home improvement store to purchase new air filters. I was so happy to have my dad at that moment so that I did not have to wait until the next day to have an HVAC technician come to my house for something that was such an easy fix.
One thing I love so much about the holidays is that I finally get to showcase my superb baking skills and go completely over the top. I spend days in my kitchen preparing, baking and decorating. My family actually has to eat frozen and microwaveable meals for about a week in December because I claim all dibs on the oven. Last year, during my baking fiasco, our HVAC system broke down. I was not sure why at the time, but I did know that my family and I were freezing. I called our local HVAC provider and he informed me he would not be able to come by until late in the evening, and my family has just woken up. It was the dead of winter outside, so I had no idea how we were going to keep warm all day. We had a fire going all day in our wood burning fireplace, but it did not seem to be enough. Finally, my husband suggested that we turn on the oven and open it up. I knew this was going to put a huge pause on my cookie making, but if it was going to help keep everyone warm, I knew I had to allow it. As it turned out, the HVAC provider told us that our filters were totally clogged with dust and debris. He replaced them for us, gave us a little lesson on HVAC maintenance, and went on his merry way. Once the house warmed up again I could get back to baking. This year, I will have my HVAC system checked earlier in the year so that nothing gets in the way of my holiday baking.
I live in the northeastern part of the country, and winter is a complete nightmare every year. I start dreading it in August, and the closer we get to winter, the more miserable I get. We often have snow on Halloween, blizzards on Thanksgiving, and Christmas is an absolute white-out. There is no redeeming quality to winter weather. Stepping outside in subzero weather is downright painful. We have to hide inside the house, huddled around the furnace, wrapped up in blankets. The heating bills are so expensive, that we spend all year saving up the money to pay them. We also have to buy heavy coats, warm boots, gloves, scarves, and hats. We have to invest in snow shovels, ice scrapers, and rock salt, We either buy a snowplow or need to hire someone to plow our driveways. We have to drive four-wheel-drive vehicles in order to make it into work on snowy days. There’s no way we can miss work, because we need to earn the money to pay for the furnace, snowplow, and rock salt. There’s no glimpse of the sun for months at a time. Everyone who lives here is pale and sickly and exhausted all winter long. We are trapped in overheated air at all times. Since there’s not enough moisture in the air, it sucks all the moisture out of our hair and skin. We have problems with psoriasis, eczema, static shock, and bloody noses. I suppose we could spend even more money on a humidifier. It would be far cheaper, and much smarter, to just pick up and move someplace warmer.
We are having a super strange winter this year. It started with a really long, and truly lovely autumn season. The weather was so warm that we never need to start up the furnace. All the way into October, I was still opening the windows to freshen up the rooms of the house. Just before Thanksgiving, the temperature suddenly plummeted, and it snowed. I was not prepared for the sudden nightmare of snow, ice, and subzero temperatures. The snow gear was still packed away in the attic. I had no idea where I’d stashed the snow shovel. My snow-brush wasn’t in my car, and I hadn’t yet scheduled seasonal maintenance for the furnace. We survived a horrible, freezing cold weekend, and then the weather turned milder again. It wasn’t exactly shorts and T-shirt weather, but at least it wasn’t wool coat and winter boots weather either. Now it is almost Christmas, and there’s no sign of winter weather. Yesterday, the sun was shining, and I worked outside in the yard without a coat. There’s no need to run the furnace, and my heating bills are nice and low. It’s absolutely wonderful. I hope it doesn’t snow at all this year. I hope I never need to scrape or shovel or plow. Unfortunately, the forecast for the upcoming weekend is calling for temperatures in the thirties and several inches of snow. I know I should not complain about it. We’ve had a gorgeous stretch of unexpected weather, and I should be thankful. But I’m greedy, and I want a whole winter of mild weather, no furnace, and sunshine.
Some of my friends and family think that my life is perfect. I live at a tropical location far from the fast paced city life, I have a cool job where I get the joy of teaching others how to scuba dive and show them beautiful marine life and coral reefs, and my backyard is the ocean. It’s not all sunshine and pina coladas though, I have to work a lot of hours just to keep up with my bills, groceries are really expensive due to everything having to be imported too. I also have a very modest house, it definitely is not the Taj Mahal. On top of all this, my air conditioner is constantly breaking, just about every day it is making some strange noise and then shutting off. It’s the middle of summer right now and nothing is worse than a broken air conditioning. I spent the last couple nights in my bed under no sheets but still waking up in a pool of my own sweat, yuck! I think I have finally caved and decided to spend the little bit of money left in my savings to buy a new cooling system for my home. In the long run I’m pretty sure a newer more efficient system can save me some money on my utility bills. I think I will call my local HVAC service tomorrow and schedule a installation. Hopefully in a couple days I will be enjoying pina coladas and watching the sunset from my air conditioned living room, just like all my friends think I do every day.
My father was a man’s man. He was rugged, but gentle at the same time. He could work all day in jeans and a flannel, but go out on the town later at night in a nice pair of slacks and wingtip shoes. He was a real gem. He once told me that the two most important people in a man’s life are his wife and his tailor. As you can tell, he was a family man that liked to provide for his loved ones, but he also liked to look sharp for everyone else. As I got older, I began to imitate his style and got myself a really talented tailor. It can be hard finding people who offer truly great service in today’s world. The art of customer service is slowly dying. This was most evident when I was searching for a guy to work on my home’s heating and cooling equipment. While I had good luck finding a tailor, finding a good HVAC technician wasn’t so easy. The first tech to set foot in my house didn’t use shoe covers or treat me with a great deal of respect. I didn’t appreciate that. I ended up finding a good HVAC specialist a few weeks later that was a great guy and also very knowledgeable when it came to my heater and air conditioner. I plan on keeping him around for awhile, just as I intend to keep going to my tailor in town. My dad truly gave me great advice and I am trying my best to live by his words.
My son plays youth hockey for a local club. Even though all the boys live in this city, we travel to many different places for games and tournaments. It can be very stressful at some times, but it is all worth it when the boys get to skate around, have fun and even win a game or two. Because we travel so much for his games, we stay in many different hotels. We have stayed in some nice places and others not so much. To my son, the most important aspect of a hotel is if it has a pool or not. Him and his buddies will go swimming for hours in a hotel pool. Me and my husband on the other hand, appreciate different things in a hotel. For example, you never truly appreciate a good heater and air conditioner in hotel room until you stay in a place with a terrible system. I remember we stayed at this very nice hotel a few months ago, but the heating and cooling equipment didn’t seem to affect the temperature of the room whatsoever. No matter what we set the thermostat to, we could not seem to get comfortable. We called down to the front desk many times, but they could never fix the problem again. We were very eager to return home after that nightmare of a trip. I just wanted to lay on the couch for a few days and enjoy a well-working heater and air conditioner. Suffice it to say, we have yet to schedule another visit to that particular hotel.
I have been with the same company for years, however, they have gone through more changes in the last year than the previous 20 combined. First, one of the partners left due to differences in opinion. That created a real rift between employees at the office because many were forced to pick sides. Now that he is gone entirely, it is a tad more stable here at the office. Speaking of the office, many aspects of our building are deteriorating due to the loss of money over the last year. Since they are going through many changes, some things get pushed aside and eventually forgotten about. I believe one of those things was the HVAC equipment. I don’t ever remember walking into the office prior to this year and feeling uncomfortable. People could wear short or long sleeves and still feel at home. Now, we must wear sweatshirts all darn day because the heater barely works. It seems to push out room temperature air at times and never really makes much of a difference. We used to see an HVAC technician in the building multiple times per year. He would get on top of a ladder and inspect things within the ceiling as well. That does not happen anymore. If this trend continues, I may be forced to find employment elsewhere. I can’t deal with this level of uncertainty in the workplace any longer and many other people feel the same way as I do. Perhaps my next employer will take better care of their heating and cooling equipment.