“Your furnace is on the fritz. It will cost $2,300 to fix it or $2,895 to put in a new one. What would you like me to do?”
So reads the email from my aunt, who has come from Australia, and is house sitting for us in Canada while we spend the winter in Mexico. We know it’s cold at home and my aunt hasn’t spent a winter in Canada for years. In fact she immigrated to Australia to get away from the cold. Whatever will she do?
We email back and ask her to please have a new furnace installed. She responds that the installers will come the next morning and that she will spend the night in the house. “I checked the Internet. All I have to do to keep the pipes from freezing is turn on the cold and hot water taps at the highest point in the house and let a pencil lead thickness of water trickle out all night.”
It’s minus a bazillion degrees. How will she stay warm if she stays in the house? Frantic for her safety, we manage to place a call. “Oh, don’t worry about me,” she says. “Your wonderful brother-in-law brought over an extra large extra thick down filled quilt he purchased from the Morinville Hutterites and I’ve baked muffins to feed the installers. They said they’d be here at 8 am and would be done by noon. Good thing I was here. The furnace motor had gotten so hot; I think your house might have burned down.”
We sigh with relief and thank our lucky stars that she wanted to spend a winter in Canada and stay in our place, as house sitters checking daily might have missed the problem.
More emails report that she’s been cross country skiing, shoveling snow with the neighbors, drinking hot toddies, and generally enjoying herself, but no, she has no desire to move back to the cold.
There are no further problems and we arrive home to a house well cared for, but… four of the six lights above the bathroom sink are burned out.
“Do we have spare bulbs for the bathroom?” I ask her.
“Oh, the lights are fine. I unscrewed them. I have fewer wrinkles in dimmer light.”