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‘Fashion forward’ my current outfit isn’t. But it certainly is practical. As I sit here beavering away at my computer, I feel I should take a selfie just so I can provide evidence for those who might question my outfit — or my sanity. It would also assure L’il Sis that her mother IS  crazy and will do what she threatens to do.

As she left yesterday — after agreeing to walk the neighbor’s dog to school to pick up his daughter so he could be with me when the furnace salesperson came (to ensure I wouldn’t be ripped off, as is sometimes the case she you’re a single woman), I announced in no uncertain terms that I was going to haul out my mother’s mink coat and wear it. It is a lovely coat that I have never worn in public — partly because I fear being assaulted by the tomato brigade for wearing fur. But I have kept it just in case the heat should ever go out and the birds might need it to keep them alive. Little did I know I’d be the one struggling to ward off frostbite!

It all started when I was recently on holiday in Australia. I received a dreaded email from the good friend and neighbor who was looking after my house while I was away. The email read: ‘Your heat doesn’t seem to be working. I took at look at the furnace and couldn’t see anything obviously wrong. L’il Sis and I have rigged up some space heaters to keep your pet birds alive, but do you have a ‘furnace guy’ you’d like me to call? Instructions, please.’ I was, to say the least, distressed but figured that, since spring was here, it wouldn’t be too bad and the issue could wait until I returned to call the furnace guy. Ha!

The weather took a turn for the cold and miserable and my house is freezing. And so, dear readers, I am sitting at the computer with my mom’s old mink coat on over several  layers of sweaters, pants and socks (including a particularly jaunty, tall pair of green slipper-socks with fringes at the top) and the heating pad is cranked up to ‘incinerate’ to warm my feet. Not exactly Karl Lagerfeld in one of his better moments, but it gets the job done…sort of.

The new (expensive) furnace is being installed as I write. I think the installation guys sensed my desperation when I greeted them at the door in my unorthodox get-up. A few minutes ago, as I heard them struggling up and down the basement stairs with the old clunker, I heard one of them say to the other:” Hey, it IS a bit cold in here!” To which I answered, shouting down at them from the second floor: “Ya think??!”  They laughed.

When Gill and I had a long Skype on the weekend to catch up on the three weeks I was away, she questioned why I was wearing my hoodie and had a blanket around me in the house. I explained about the furnace. But I haven’t had the nerve to tell her precisely how cold it is in here now. Then she’d berate me for not accepting the offer from several people of more space heaters to get me through unit the new furnace is in. The thing is, I couldn’t be arsed  getting them. And then there’s the issue of cost. If I ran them enough to take the chill off, I’d have to hock the mink coat to pay the electricity bill. And then where would I be? Without a mink coat to keep me (or the birds) warm the next time this happens.

And the way my luck has been running lately, I  am confident it WILL happen again…perhaps an ice storm will take the hydro out, perhaps my hoard of squirrels and chipmunks will eat through some wires and take the power out. I know not how, but I WILL find myself shivering in the cold (and possibly dark) at some point again. It’s called Murphy’s law.