Saturday, November 12, 2011

Home Sweet Home

About every other November, I give in to the pressure of the “National Change Your Clock, Change Your Smoke Alarm Batteries” campaign and check my smoke alarm batteries to make sure they still work.  When performing this task, I am reminded that my smoke alarms are hard-wired and do not require batteries.  Instead, I do the monthly required test that happens only during this biennial chore.  Afterwards, the smoke alarms chirp for hours, because I don’t know how to properly operate them.  I should consult the manual, but who knows where that is, and besides, what kind of maroon needs a manual to test a smoke alarm?

I do, especially since I stupidly do my testing at night, when late-night smoke alarm chirping would earn a Tibetan monk a one-way ticket to the padded room in my basement.  Eventually I figure it out by wildly pressing the ONE button that our smoke alarms present and they stop chirping.  Did I mention that I do this every other year?  We’ve been in our house for 11 years.  This translates to me performing this progressive comedy show roughly five times.

The other week, I made an appointment for a check of our home heating system to make sure it’s up to speed, because everyone knows if you don’t get your heating system checked, it will quit on you the first day the outside temperature hits zero.  I warned the technician that I hadn’t changed the air filter on the system for a while, maybe about a year.  Actually, I have no recollection of changing it ever, but I’m sure someone did at some point.  After the service, the technician told me that my air filter was completely black, but he replaced it, and that it was all better now. 

I asked him to check the home humidifier filter.  I was all like “We have a Home Humidifier System.  Could you check the Flux Capacitor Filterage Element?  I’m sure it’s fine.”  I pretended not to notice when six inches of calcium dust (from years of neglecting to change said Flux Capacitor Filterage Element) blew in his face when he took the cover off the humidifier.

The friendly and tactful technician said that I shouldn’t be embarrassed at all about totally ignoring my home-ownership responsibilities.  Okay, he thought it.

You could say I’m not one for home maintenance.  The day that we “winterize” the yard is the one day of the year that my whining exceeds that of my kids’ on the days I make fish for dinner.  I feel that shoveling snow is man’s work.  If I could get someone to change light bulbs in our house, I would.  I would even love someone to just tell me what kinds of light bulbs are required for all the different light fixtures we have in our house. 

When we bought our house, my husband and I thought that it would be a stepping stone to a larger, grander affair.  These days, I watch House Hunters International and judge my favorite home as the one with the least square feet.   “Pick Apartment #1 – who cares if it backs up to a nuclear waste storage pond?  It’s only 500 square feet!  You can clean that sucker in twenty minutes!”

Despite all this, our home is where our kids were born, where we’ve made tons of memories, where our families meet for holidays, the comforting haven where I spend most of my time.  For that, I love it.  I will whine and cry and put off certain “important” services, but it is the place where my life is currently anchored.  Maybe I should think of that when I’m out spending a small fortune on light bulbs and smoke alarm batteries.


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