In both the Central Valley and the Napa Valley, temperatures don’t often fall below 20 degrees. Most of the time, they don’t even get below 30. There’s sometimes a week or so during the winter where it falls that low at night, but even up on the mountain where I live, it hardly snows, and ice is usually not too much of an issue to worry about.
The past week and a half, the temperatures have been 20-25 or below at night, the lowest being around 17. I wasn’t too worried about it – I keep my apartment at a toasty 70 degrees, and I was blissfully hoping for snow, because the weather had said there was a possibility over the weekend. It’s been a few years since snow has stuck here, and I waited impatiently to see if it would materialize.
Boyfriend and I decided that we would probably spend most of the weekend hanging out at my house, because it’s warmer and I can play WoW from the comfort of my bed and IKEA comforter. I was ecstatic – I’d been traveling the past few weekends and hadn’t had a laze-around, do whatever I want kind of weekend in at least a month.
Friday night, we raided while the sky dropped buckets of much-needed rain. I kept searching the sky for signs of snowflakes, but the only flurry that occurred was before I’d even arrived home from work.
The next morning, after looking out the window and being disappointed to find my driveway and front yard looked exactly the same, I realized it did not feel like 70 degrees in my apartment. Josh arrived, and we tried figuring out what the problem was. We struggled to keep just one room in the house warm (which included bringing over a space heater), and closed doors and bundled up in scarves and jackets just to go to the kitchen or the bathroom. After trying a few tricks, I called my property manager. After reassurances that no, my apartment was not controlled by a thermostat out of my reach, and that the sky was not falling :p, she promised she’d have someone out as soon as she could – namely, Tuesday.
We hunkered down for a day of freezing our butts off every time we left the safety of the one room with the space heater. We watched a movie with freezing hands and feet, socks and gloves and scarves and hats abound, and warming our hands over the toaster while we made waffles to eat and watched the temperature gauge on the thermostat drop lower and lower. I was happy to have the space heater overnight, snuggled into my comforter, only worried about having to leap across the hall to use the restroom and make a beeline for the bathroom heater.
Early afternoon on Sunday, I heard a knock at my door. At first, I wasn’t going to answer it. I have a possibly unfounded paranoia about people knocking on my door. I’m not answering it unless I know who it is. The only people who come over I’m usually expecting, so I’ll leave the door open for them, or I go down to get them and lead them through the maze of doors to my apartment. A friend who came to visit good-naturedly joked that the FBI would not be able to find me if they tried.
I found a jacket, went out into the kitchen and looked out the window. I recognized the car parked in the driveway as my property manager’s, so hurriedly rushed to look presentable (even while still in my pajama pants) and went to open the door for her. She brought good news. News that I probably had heat again. After finding out the boiler had a fault light, I wondered why I didn’t think of it. But, I didn’t care. I thanked her, rushed back into my apartment and bent my face down to the baseboard heater to feel the glorious warmth trickling out of it.
Tuesday was the only day I woke up shivering, and a repairman came to fix the heat. I even got a new thermostat to boot. (My old one was ancient, and the new one is simple, but electronic, and that’s good enough for me.)
Of course, once the heater ordeal ended, the temperatures started to swing up again. I found myself struggling out of my jacket while waiting at a stoplight because the sun felt like it was frying my face. You can be sure, though, that I am not taking my heat for granted anymore. If you could hug baseboard heaters, I’d be hugging them.