2018-01-11 / Columnists

Babylon News & Muse

Happy New Year!

•As many of you know, my home was built in 1730 and, unfortunately, the heating system can be pretty unreliable. I woke up at midnight on New Year’s Eve, prompted by fireworks on television for a couple of minutes and then turned over and went back to sleep. Not the most exciting way to spend New Year’s Eve, but I was so tired I didn’t care.

At 2 a.m. I woke up again, feeling cold. I got up to check the thermostat and saw that it was 65 degrees, which was fine. Again, I went back to bed.

At 10 a.m., a phone call from one of my tenants announced that the furnace was not working. Happy New Year! The furnace is about 10 years old and certainly should not be breaking down regularly. For some reason, the furnace doesn’t seem to recognize that fact.

I called my oil company. Several employees were answering phones, including a friend who happened to answer my call. I had peered at the oil tank outside my window to check the level and found that the tank appeared empty. I reported that we were out of oil. Then I went back to bed because the thermostat now registered 58 degrees.

From Jan. 1 through Jan. 7, the furnace and I battled one another. In addition to those who have power outages during winter storms, there are those like me whose furnaces aren’t working. Something to remember.

As I write this column, the furnace is working and several windows have been sealed. Things are much better

•The snow has transformed the Village into a winter wonderland. When I was younger, my friends and I would be out sledding or skating. But I don’t recall ever having a bad cold snap as long as this has been. I’m grateful that we have a few days in the 20s and 30s. To be honest, I doubt that many parents allow their children out to play in weather that is 20 degrees below zero!

In these temperatures, there are many fires, some caused by people leaving candles burning or using faulty heaters. Sadly, house fires in weather like this tend to be very serious. Three homes on Oak Island burned down last week, including the Howell house, which had belonged to six generations of the family. Fortunately all the homes were unoccupied so there were no injuries. Please be careful and watch for anything that might cause a fire!

•We are now paying a nickel each for plastic bags at most stores. I know how annoying it is, because I keep forgetting to bring bags with me. But the end result should be a good one. There is no question that we do not recycle enough and that we are causing far too much pollution. Similar laws have been passed in other areas and while it takes some time for people to adjust, it’s worthwhile, and we will get used to bringing bags with us!

•I hope that you will all weather the cold and be sensible about how you dress to go out. Don’t forget to let your taps drip slightly at night to prevent frozen pipes. When it’s below 15 degrees, don’t turn your heat down too far when you go to bed! Stay warm and stay well.

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