Friday, March 2, 2018

Home, Sweet Home


There are many things I like about working from home. The commute is great, even in the depths of winter. The wardrobe includes whatever I feel like throwing one—ancient blue jeans, thirty-year-old sweaters, tank tops in summer, the works. Lunch, although not quite free, costs less than the most basic cafeteria. I can fit short ballet barre workouts into my lunch break. The only restriction on my coffee consumption is common sense. And that enormous time waster—meetings—rarely clutters up my day, although e-mail, my primary means of communication with the outside world, does its best to slurp up every available moment.

But as I discovered last Friday, there is one big drawback to working from home. When the heat goes out, there’s no central plant to call. For the last week Sir Percy and I have dodged daily visits by earnest technicians bent on taking our ancient boiler apart and putting it together again while wrestling the cats for access to the space heaters that provide our only source of warm air.

So far, the cats have won. They didn’t put us in this position, after all; we did it, however inadvertently, to them. One cat—the elder statesman depicted above—has developed an entire philosophy of space heaters. He follows them around the house, listening for the fans and when they go on and off. Early in the morning, he doubles up, positioning himself under the overhang of quilts at the end of the bed so he can soak up heat from the bedroom heater while sheltered under layers of fabric. In the evenings he gloms onto the person with the Snugli, then moves to the back room once that heats up.

I can only hope that the situation resolves itself soon: that the next earnest technician, due any moment, installs the crucial part that will restore the boiler to functionality—not forever, because it’s reached the end of its natural life and must be replaced before fall sets in, but for a few more weeks while we figure out how to finance the new one.

But I do know that whether today proves to be the deciding moment or not, the cats are prepared.

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