We gave up our furnace for Lent

As I write this, I’m suffering for my art. It’s nearing midnight and it’s already below 60 degrees in the house. But I need to write.

Tuesday morning my office opened two hours late. As I was getting ready we realized that we appeared to be out of oil. We were.

But, we were also out of furnace.

I knew this day was coming. I just didn’t expect it to come on one of the coldest days of the year. Then again, this winter there’s a lot of competition for the coldest day of the year.

But the furnace was the original with the house. The house was built in 1976. Do the math. That’s a long time for a furnace. In my mind, I wanted to replace it with a heat pump that also came with the installation of a generator for the times when we lose power. That’s still on the to do list.

We have a lot of stuff on the to do list. Every year we attend the Richmond Home Show and get more ideas about what we’d like to do. We routinely pass by some vendors and say “not this year.” We may or may not have passed the heating and cooling contractors this year. We did talk about fireplace inserts and whether or not we really need to repair the crack in the chimney.

But, this isn’t just about whining about no furnace. Yes, we’re cold. Yes, we’re uncomfortable. But we have a roof. We have blankets and warm clothes. We have hot drinks. And we have animals that rise to the occasion when called upon to be blankets.

When we bought this house, it seemed like a great deal at the time. Indeed it was. We realized later that part of that great deal was because there was so much love and care that the house needed. We’ve done a lot. But there’s always more to do.

I need to remember that my problems are first world problems. My problems often come because I’ve had too much to deal with. Not too little.

I know we’re where we are because of choices. Choices to follow the career path we’re on (or not on). Choices to spend money on some things and not others. Choices to buy this house that could have been the inspiration for the movie The Money Pit. But, that’s another story.

Last Sunday’s sermon was about Esther and the choices she had to make. Our pastor said, “Regardless of why or how you got to where you are in life it’s about the choices we make now.”

Like this post, for example. I chose to stay up until almost midnight and write this rather than get to bed so that I could get up in time to go to the YMCA. In the morning I may regret that because the YMCA has heat and that makes a big difference when you step out of the shower.

I’m actually finishing up this post now after the shower and getting ready for work. I’ll be heading out the door soon and cranking up the heater in the truck.

The new furnace will be here sometime today, along with the monthly payments.

At the end of the day, it’s just stuff. Yes, it’s stuff that makes us comfortable. It’s stuff that we think we need. Okay, heat is a need.

But more and more I’m thinking I could do with a lot less stuff. We have an attic and a garage full of unused…stuff.

Maybe it’s time to make the choice to get rid of stuff.

I’m not finished with this thought. There’s more to come.

Or maybe less.


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