About 15 minutes after I got home from work tonight, I realized something was wrong: I was in my house and I wasn’t shivering. I checked and sure enough, I was only wearing one sweater and one pair of socks, and there was nary a throw blanket in sight. What could it be?
I moved around the room and found the source of this delightful warmth – it was the heating vent. But surely, I thought, I must be imagining things, since Matt and I had avowed not to turn on the heat until November 1st. We did this last year, and while slightly unpleasant toward the last days of October, we survived, AND we had enough money to simultaneously pay for heat and groceries. Since heat and groceries are two of my favorite things, this is a trend I would like to continue.
This week, however, has been cold, and November 1st has seemed so very far away, so I wasn’t terribly upset that the heat was on, but I still wasn’t going to let Matt get away without a little nagging. (Especially after my resolve weakened last year and he forced me to stick it out those last few days.)
“Honey,” I said, “did you turn on the heat?”
“Yes,” he admitted sheepishly. “I just couldn’t take it anymore. Last night you were clinging to me like we were two stranded hikers on Everest, and your feet were so cold I could feel them through your socks. I only have so much body heat to share with you.”
“It’s fine. Just let it be known that you were the one that cracked. I could have stuck it out for a few more weeks. I’ve become quite good at functioning with mild hypothermia.”
“Whatever. I was just a glad that I had enough time before you got home.”
“Do you… remember last year?”
You see, the thing is, I have a slightly irrational (read: totally cuckoo) fear of house fire. And last year, when we turned on the heat, I might have gone a little overboard in my conviction that WHAT IS THAT SMELL WHY DOES IT SMELL LIKE SMOKE I DON’T SEE ANY FIRE DOES THIS MEAN THAT OUR FURNACE IS GOING TO BLOW UP THAT HAPPENS YOU KNOW I SAW IT ON THE NEWS I DON’T WANT TO BLOW UP.
This year, to avoid the hysteria that he knew would come with the smell a heater makes the first time it is turned on for the season, Matt was determined to take care of this task before I got home. This is as much for his benefit as it is for mine, although I am grateful to him for taking me one step further away from having a heart attack by age 30.
While I’m gettin’ my crazy on, let me just go ahead and admit that I also have an abnormal fear of home invasion. Strange creaky noise in the middle of the night? Well obviously it’s an axe murderer. Power outage in the middle of a thunderstorm? THIS IS WHAT THEY DO BEFORE THEY KILL YOU. I BET THE PHONE LINES ARE DEAD, TOO. My own reflection in the patio door at night has scared me enough times that I’m absolutely positive I am more likely to die of ‘fright of own image seen as reflected by door’ than mass murderer.
Luckily I am smart enough not to allow myself to watch scary movies, because I accept and acknowledge my wuss-ness. I saw Speed at a sleepover in middle school and had nightmares for weeks. Speed. Yes, the one with Keanu Reeves. This was enough to convince me that scary movies and paranoia don’t mix well. (Although, I did get talked into seeing The Blair Witch Project, and I totally thought it was lame. Do I get some points for that?)
Unfortunately, one thing that I am not smart enough to stop doing is watching television. Specifically, television like Law & Order, CSI, and random documentaries on the History Channel. Oh, and let us not forget the Queen Mother of shows I should not be watching – Criminal Minds.
Don’t get me wrong – I love the show. But did you ever see the episode where the serial killer breaks into people’s houses and lights them on fire and he jams their doors so that they can’t get out and then puts on his firefighter outfit so he can sit in the burning down house and watch them die? I’m sorry, but I think that would give ANY normal person nightmares. But now I am fixated on the show and I can’t seem to stop watching it. I tell myself that it will help me to be prepared. That if firefighter dude ever comes to my house, I will know to check the top of the door for the door jamming thingie.
I KNOW. I know it’s not rational. Please don’t call the men in white coats to come take me away. I just can’t seem to help it. My imagination is permanently set to ‘morbid’. And now I bet I have you paranoid, too.
Have you checked your smoke detectors recently?
Is the door locked?
How about the oven? Is it on?
Did you double-check the iron?
Oh, forget it. Just send the men in white coats… I bet they at least have good locks.