Down the stairs I went, one at a time. Every step was a struggle, forcing my feet to continue on the downward path while encouraging myself to confront the random thoughts that were scurrying through my mind. Kanti was outside enjoying the evening and I wondered if I should go and get her to accompany me just in case someone was hiding in the boiler room. How could anyone possibly be in the boiler room? First they would have had to get past Kanti, and then they would have had to unlock and magically relock the doors leaving no trace of their entrance. Why on God’s green earth would someone come into the house and simply go to the boiler room to lie in wait just in case the boiler quit forcing me to go into the room? It was a rather remote and crazy set of thoughts that I had to fight as I stepped down the staircase.
Reason prevailed and I arrived in tact at the first door to the boiler room having talked myself off the crazy ledge. Phew, first door opened without any strange encounters. Only one more door to go. By this time I wasn’t even worried about tackling the boiler anymore, I was hoping that the judo lessons I had as a youngster would kick in allowing me to successfully land any strangers helplessly on their backs. Facing the second door which leads to the heart of the mechanics of our home, I struggled again with my chicken factor. I confess at this point, I didn’t just have one chicken in action I had a whole flock providing scary stories to me free of charge.
One deep breath vanquished the last of the chickens from my head, and I flung open the door to the boiler room ready to face my fears. Thank goodness the boiler didn’t talk like the smoke detector or I might have died of fright before the light went on. I could imagine the Devon Dispatch reporting that a healthy woman died alone in the basement of her home clutching the door handle of the boiler room; cause of death was determined to be fright due to the verbal warning system on a state of the art boiler system. There across the room the boiler taunted me with its red flashing error screen. Just as the manual predicted there was an error digitally printing across the screen and there was an option to reset.
At this point I had vanquished the fear of a stranger in the boiler room only to be overcome with the fear of pushing the wrong button and blowing up the house or wrecking the heating system. Good grief, I wondered how was it possible for so many different fears to reside inside one head? This whole experience was turning out to be exhausting, but I approached that boiler with authority and pushed the reset. The red screen disappeared, replaced by a gentler bluish screen. I retreated to the safety of my bed closing the doors behind me to wait for the real test the next morning when I would turn on a hot tap.
You will remember that the power went out from part one of this story, and although I reset the time on the alarm clock before I laid my head on the pillow, I forgot to reset the wake up time. At midnight the alarm went off; now I was into night two of home alone and wide-awake again. When I wake up like that it can be really hard to go back to sleep. Other people count sheep, I repeated the Lord’s Prayer – over and over until I slept. It worked. I slept. Tuesday dawned and my first big test of the day was to run a hot water tap. You could have heard the Hallelujah Chorus and Beethoven’s, Ode to Joy all the way to Edmonton. Hot water ran from the tap. Since the day we moved in, I have told Greg that if he dies before me and we are living on the swake, I will list the house in week one because of that dang boiler business. I can clear the snow with Big Red and run a small lawn tractor but there is something about the boiler that creates unusual anxiety in my normally confident ability to cope. Having climbed my proverbial Everest, faced my boiler room demons, and emerged victorious, I have realized that the boiler is not that scary.