Some habits are as immovable as the living room thermostat
It’s the end of September. I lived in Connecticut for the first forty-three years of my life.
The weather would change, unpredictably so. Hot, cold, stuff in between the two extremes.
And so the heating season begins, which causes much stress in this household due to no fault of mine.
This angst was created, and is still owned by my dad who has been resting in peace for twenty-one years now.
The reason he’s resting so peacefully?
No more Thermostat.
Talk about a bone of contention. That tiny apparatus which lived on the hallway wall all of our lives was his nemesis.
No one even gave it a glance throughout the summer months, but come October the nights would get a bit chilly and we all started eye balling that thing like it was the first coming of Christ.
And he saw us looking. Not Christ—Dad. Or maybe both, who knows?
Either way, The Thermostat was off limits to the four females he resided with because we just simply could not be trusted to adjust it properly, which would directly lead to all of us having to live in the Poor House for the rest of our lives.
When to turn it on? When to turn it up? If we all showed up for dinner in snowsuits, is it time yet? How ’bout the fact that we could see our breath billowing all about, so the dinner table ensemble resembled that of an eskimo family in the dead of winter?
Which one of us would be subject to blame if the house suddenly turned toasty warm? CSI didn’t exist yet, but Dad was no slouch in the field of investigative skills.
Somehow he would weed out the culprit, threatening to empty piggy banks and cash in baby bonds in an effort to teach money skills to his spoiled girlies.
As we reached the teen years he had had enough.
Clearly he could no longer tolerate the frosty stares of four females and he was clearly outnumbered.
So our dear innovative Dad returned from the hardware store one day with a steel cage device which was drilled into the wall surrounding The Thermostat.
Needed a key to get into that sucker.
There was only one key, and I’m pretty sure you can figure out who the keeper was. He slept with it. We know this because we would search high and low, time and time again, and never ever laid eyes on that key.
Now, all these years later, I still approach my own Thermostat with trepidation.
I experience rapid heart beat and sweaty palms while glancing guiltily over my shoulder if a slight adjustment is desired.
Never more than one degree up or down.
Unbelievably there are still folks who crank that baby well over our standard 65 degree setting, and I wonder how they afford their heat costs.
It never ceases to amaze me when I witness folks approaching, and even TOUCHING, someone else’s Thermostat.
I’ve even observed customers at restaurants commit this unforgivable crime, which is equivalent to pushing Nana down the stairs in my family.
Needless to say I cannot remain silent in the face of such blatant arrogance.
“How COULD you?”
“Could I what?”
“TOUCH THAT THERMOSTAT???? YOU JUST TOUCHED IT—I SAW YOU!!! BACK AWAY FROM THE ’STAT YOU TERRORIST!”
Hey thanks Dad, now in addition to being the potty nazi I am also the ’Stat police.
Moral of the story: If it ain’t yours, you should not be touching it. This is also applicable to teenagers entering the dating scene. Just ask Dad/Gibbs, cuz he was all over that too.
No wonder he entered the bliss of eternal temperature control at age fifty-seven.
RIP Daddy, and thanks for the built in forever lessons—especially at almost four bucks a gallon. Hopefully we’ll never have to see the inside of the Poor House…