Last Saturday I woke up to a cold house. As I trudged across the kitchen floor to make my coffee before the sun was up I thought the house felt cooler than usual. Not cool, but downright cold. The icy cold ceramic tiles pierced through my feet. As soon as I scooped out the right amount (Christmas Blend, of course!) I cranked the thermostat. A short while later we learned that the furnace was not working. Again. I feared we would be required to replace Furnace Number 2, the downstairs furnace, just after furnace Number 1 was replaced. “Here we go again,” I thought to myself. Later that afternoon we learned that the furnace would not need to be replaced, (Thank God!) but an integral part did. The part had to be ordered. And seeing it that it was early evening on a Saturday this was not going to happen until the following Monday. At the earliest, we would get our heat back on Tuesday. As the house entered the refrigeration zone the temperatures outside plummeted. The thermometer outside our window read 9 degrees, but the angry, howling winds told me that it was much colder. The downstairs soon turned from unpleasant to unbearable. We began to make our meals (sandwiches) downstairs and brought them upstairs. While I was eternally grateful to have a working furnace and a warm upstairs (where the bedrooms and playrooms are) I was getting tired of living in my bedroon. It was just too cold to do anything downstairs. It was even too cold to cook or bake. We did some. We had to. I had promised to make Santa’s cookies and since there wasn’t a minute to spare we did bake for him. We baked chocolate m&m cookies. It’s one of Martha’s recipes. Not the m&m part. The chocolate part. (We added the red and green m&ms ourselves.) Even with the oven on we couldn’t shake the cold. (The warm cookies sure felt and tasted good though!)
Throughout our four cold days I kept reminding myself how fortunate we were to have a half-heated house. While it was a nuisance and uncomfortable we had a house and we had some heat. The frigid first floor was sobering in the sense of reminding us of what we had as opposed to what we didn’t have. The kids were fine actually, happy to run around a 40 degree house in nothing but shorts and a Tshirt!
On Tuesday, the day before Christmas Eve, Don came home early and sent me out to finish my Christmas shopping. I had fallen behind due to a couple of snowstorms. I had started out well ahead of the game and had fallen seriously behind. I was eager to get out and finish up. I was eager to get out to a warm mall! I called the house periodically to check in on the kids, check on whether the groceries had been delivered and the status of the furnace. The heat company was due to come that day with our part, and barring any problems, we would have heat at some point that night.
By the time I arrived home, 5:30 pm, the furnace had been fixed and was working hard. The house was cold still and would take many hours to warm up but knowing that it would again be warm I was thrilled. Christmas Eve was the following day and we would have a warm home! Now really, I couldn’t have asked for anything more!
With our heat restored I began to work frantically to get everything done to get everything ready for Christmas. I wrapped and cooked and cleaned. I was busy all morning making up for lost time. I was so productive that by early afternoon I was all done. Don went out to finish up a few things and I had nothing to do but relax and enjoy the day! I had a long relaxing soak and a long mid afternoon nap. When I awoke it was already dark out. It was Christmas Eve. It was Christmas Eve and we had heat and food and presents that were all wrapped. We all snuggled together in the family room in front of the fire and watched The Santa Clause 2, the kids favorite movie of the week. We took breaks for dinner and dessert. It was a perfect Christmas Eve night.
We said goodnight and tucked the kids in at 9:30. We knew Christopher would be up for hours. We expected the others to as well, but Rebecca and Alexander could barely keep their eyes open. I went to work in the basement digging up all the wrapped gifts that I had tucked away here and there. Don was upstairs assembling the Polar Express Train we had gotten for under the train. As I was making piles for the children and checking the boxes off against my list I saw that Alexander’s pile was a great deal smaller than the other two. I began to panic. What would I do? How could my numbers be so far off? I had calculated the items. I reached for my list and it dawned on me that a bunch of toys were missing. Toys that I had wrapped. How could my youngest get less, and a good deal less, than his brother and sister? How could I let that happen? I couldn’t! Eventually a box was found with several large wrapped packages inside. One was for Rebecca and the rest were ALexander’s missing toys. Christmas could go on once more! Meanwhile I heard footsteps above. Little footsteps. Christopher was roaming the house. He could not sleep. It was 10:30. This meant we would have to wait further before putting all the items under the tree. Eventually he settled down and at 11:30 we began our treks up and downthe basement stairs. By midnight we were all done. And pooped. And 6 hours later 3 eager children could not contain their excitement!