Safely Frozen

At 10 p.m. on Friday, December 23rd, I texted this photo to my mom and sister with the message: This is how cold I am.

My sister wrote back: No wonder you’re cold!!! along with a screenshot of current weather conditions in my hometown, where it was 1 degree with a “real feel” of -18. Mom replied with a screenshot of her town’s current conditions (3 degrees with a real feel of -8) and the message: Come here, it’s warmer!

My sister’s text inspired me to check our thermostat to see if it was, in fact, 1 degree outside. What I found was a blank screen. The thermostat was dead. I informed my husband of this unfortunate turn of events, and he went to check the circuit breaker while I texted the update to my mom and sister, whose joint response was the equivalent of AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! accompanied by offers to help and a variety of troubleshooting suggestions.

Finding no issue with the circuit breaker, JR and I reviewed the thermostat’s user guide and searched for answers online, to no avail. Around 11:30, we decided to bury ourselves under a million blankets and try to get some sleep. The next morning, all that had changed was that it was even colder in the house. Our HVAC company’s “emergency hotline” wasn’t operational. Since we couldn’t find anyone to come out to the house, we realized that our plan to host Mom for Christmas was officially thwarted, as the ability to see one’s breath indoors is neither merry nor jolly. Bundled in several layers of clothing, we began packing up our holiday gifts and food while poor Titus provided a running soundtrack to our miserable situation, crying continuously under a mountain of blankets with only his nose sticking out.

For the next three days, we hunkered down at Mom’s, distracting ourselves with holiday merriment and trying not to picture pipes bursting in our frozen house, turning the inside into an ice castle. On our drive home yesterday, we got a call from an HVAC repairman who was at the house. He let us know that all was well – the thermostat was working again, and the house was warm and undamaged. “We found the problem,” he said. “A pipe outside froze. That must’ve triggered your thermostat to switch off as a safety measure.” Um…huh? If that is indeed a safety measure, it must’ve been designed by a sociopath. When the outside temperature drops below zero, your thermostat will switch off automatically, allowing you to quietly freeze to death in your home.

Now that we’re on the other side of that debacle, my primary feeling is gratitude. I’m thankful we were able to spend Christmas with Mom in her nice warm home. I’m thankful our house is okay and the thermostat magically fixed itself. But I also 100% stand by the message I sent to my mom and sister before diving under a million blankets the other night:

Winter can suck it