Praise be, lord of crazy Colorado fall weather; my furnace still works. It was touch and go last spring, and I had no idea if it would start up again. The thought of buying a new furnace is anxiety inducing, so naturally, I’ve ignored it completely.

There have been enough warm days recently that the temperature in my house remained bearable. But things took a turn over the weekend, and it got cold in my house — real cold. Rather than turn on my heat to see if it would work, I opted to wander around my house dressed like a yeti. In my finest sweatpants and fuzzy slippers, and shrouded in every blanket I own, I would check the thermostat and report back to the dog, “Well, puppy, we’re down to 60 degrees, but the sun just came out, so I think we’re gonna be fine.” The puppy, who is fortunate enough to be covered in fur, could not be bothered. She raised one eye in my direction and then went back to sleep.

On Sunday, I ran in the Denver Hot Chocolate Race with a friend of mine. The day was crisp, and it was pleasant to run under a foggy, fall sky. But the thing about running in the cold is that it’s also cold when you stop running. As we sipped our post-run hot chocolate, my sweaty clothes started to cause a damp, bone-deep chill to set in. My internal organs started shivering, and no amount of hot chocolate was going to warm me back up. I blasted the heat in my car, but it wasn’t enough.

The thermostat read 58 degrees. “It’s fine, it’s fine, it’s fine. Don’t be a wuss!” I sang to the puppy as I ran around my house like a maniac, peeling off my freezing clothes and waiting for the water in the shower to heat up. Only after I had used all of the hot water did I realize how cold my house actually was. I pictured myself frozen to death like Jack Nicholson in “The Shining.” My family would find me and wonder how one could freeze to death at 58 degrees. But I would be dead, so I wouldn’t be able to tell them it happens slowly, that I had finally succumbed after weeks of being slightly chilly.

I couldn’t put it off any longer. I popped the cover off the thermostat, hit the button for “heat” and said all the prayers. I begged the weather god, I begged the furnace god, I begged actual god. I beseeched anyone listening, “Let there be heat!”

The pilot light ignited, and I heard the whoosh of forced air. I almost cried.

I’m sure it will be 80 degrees next week and I’ll turn it off again. So goes fall in Colorado. But for now, the puppy and I are finding the greatest joy in the smallest creature comfort.

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