Beyond The Norm-Mel

I know what it means to be cold

Since the temperatures have dipped I have been experiencing the cold weather first-hand, not outside, but rather, inside my house.

Knowing that a little work needed to be done on the furnace, my husband and I finally got around to calling the gas company to come turn on the gas this week.

We called a repairman to come and look at our furnace and boy am I glad we did.

My husband has been fighting the furnace since he bought the house nearly two years ago. Several repairmen have entered our lives, and it seems that running the furnace is now a more difficult task. They had it "fixed" on several occasions, but alas it was not. Besides having difficulty lighting the pilot light, the heater wouldn't stop blowing air last year.

Well, we found a new repairman and he broke the bad news yesterday morning that our furnace has bit the dust. In fact, it probably should have been put out of its misery a few seasons ago.

In the meantime, I am finding every blanket in my house to battle the dipping cold temperatures. I pray for cloudy nights so the cloud cover keeps the temperatures above freezing at night.

The suggestion has been made that we get a space heater, but I'm afraid of burning the house down with one of those things. For any CSI watchers out there, my fears were confirmed with the last episode I watched when the crime scene investigators determined that the fire that put a man in jail was due to a space heater that over-loaded a breaker.

We have a heating blanket, which is a wonderful thing. It keeps us cozy warm. Maybe a little too warm. I can only handle having my feet covered by the blanket.

To stay warm, I have gone to the old fashioned way of keeping warm. I wear layers and layers of clothes. Sweats, sweatshirts, long underwear, thermal socks, whatever I can find. I cover the whole works with a blanket and call it good. My only complaint is my nose gets cold.

Although it is chilly in the house, at least we have a solid roof over our heads, especially with the rains we have experienced lately.

It really makes me think of those less fortunate and also of a project a group of college students have held in Sunnyside the past three or four years. The 24-hour freeze event held by Washington State University Kappa Delta Chi sorority and Omega Delta Phi fraternity members collects food, clothing and blankets for local families. I haven't heard if the group plans on returning to the Lower Valley this fall for another "freeze" event, but I hope they do.

I have heard of families in the Sunnyside area who have resorted to using their kitchen oven to heat their homes. Heck, when I'm just tooling around the house, I have candles lit, which helps raise the house temperature.

Watch for the freeze event or look for other groups that are gathering items for those less fortunate. Let's show the warmth in our hearts and make it a cozy time of year for everyone.

. Melissa Dekker can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or e-mail


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