“I Blinked” by Chris Zito

Every year my wife, Kimberly, and I play a game of chicken that can tip the balance of power all winter long. Who will break down and turn on the heat first? My undefeated streak ended this year.

The annual Columbus Day Weekend “Cranking of the Thermostat

A man waits his entire life to handle the thermostat. Growing up I heard it over and over from Dad and gave the same silent responses:
“Nobody touch that thermostat!” Got it, Dad.
“Did somebody touch this thermostat?” Like anyone would admit it when you have that look on your face, Dad.
“Who moved the thermostat?”
This one made me pipe up. “No one. It’s on the wall in the hallway where it’s always been!” Uh oh, there’s that look again.
I always assumed I would grow up to hold the thermostat power. Alas it is one more thing that’s changed in marriage. It used to be that He-Who-Pays-the-Heating-Bill gets to control the temperature in the house. Now Mommy has her own checkbook.  And access to the heating system.

It’s her money. She can put it where she wants.

As September moved into October the mornings went from chilling to downright cold. We started that same dance we do ever fall, like a pair of Old West gunslingers standing off.
“Chris, it’s 59 degrees in this house. Aren’t you cold?”
“A man in Cheyenne once asked me if I was cold. Now he’s cold. And stiff. Ya get me?”
“Don’t get all jumpy, Mister. I was just asking.”
“Well don’t ask. If’n yer cold, turn up the heat. Otherwise leave me to my hot tea, heavy sweater and fuzzy slippers.”
Bloodshed averted for one more day.

“Friend, this ain’t my first rodeo. Or winter.”

Unfortunately fate stepped in this year. Kimi was out early the other morning when the overnight temperature had dropped into the 30’s. She got up and out of the house without turning on the heat through a strong-willed underdog’s determination to break a long streak of defeat. It was the natural gas equivalent of the Red Sox winning the 2004 American League Champion Series. (Okay, that’s a stretch but it’s a good excuse to bring it up, which I love to do in any setting for any reason.)
I reconciled myself to the fact that I would be the one to turn on the heat for the first time in our marriage. I told myself it was because Vince was cold, that it was to make sure the furnace was working okay before the really cold weather hit, that the poor kid deserved one win and I’d be the winner next fall.

It’s just never gets old, you know?

None of that matters. Kimberly is the new champion. The real hold out. Either way, just the smell of the furnace kicking on made me feel warmer. And ready for the long New England winter. Bring it on. We layer up in the house. We sit closer together. We wait for pitchers and catchers to report.

Thanks for reading. Tell your pals.
Chris Zito


One Response

  1. Too funny!! We go through the same thing in my house…Boys will be sitting around in shorts complaining that they are cold…I tell them put some sweats on and move around to get the blood going, they’ll be fine. Anyone touches that thermostat…deep doodoo, unless of course they want to pay the gas bill. They sometimes complain that it’s warmer outside…which is when I hand them a rake and tell them to go out and enjoy it, and do something productive while they are out there…

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