Transoms and floor furnaces

Summer’s officially over. This morning, in anticipation of the promised norther, the stepstool came out and the transom lights, all four of the external ones, were closed. Their hardware was gone long before we moved into this house, so these windows above the doors spend all summer long propped open by a pencil or a chopstick with an eraser on the end for non-slip purposes. Later, when the weather really cools off, the transoms will be tapped shut to stay, with matchbook covers for shims to help them remain closed when there are gusts of wind.

You can tell that ours is an existence without air-conditioning. The fans have been out of the windows for a week or two now. Windows open at night don’t really need fans now.

And have I mentioned that there’s no central heat? One morning when it’s really chilly, it will take three people to get the floor furnace going. This involves removing the register grill, lifting out the protective sheet-metal shield, attaching a long fireplace match to a dowel rod, and finding the two most patient and longest-armed people available, so that one can try to light the gas pilot while another tries to press down an inconveniently located button and hold it there for too long a period of time.

Old-time local plumbing companies used to send somebody out to do this for people. They had very long metal lighters and a tool that would help with the button part.

We do have a gas fireplace, and there’s a little unvented gas space heater set into the wall in the bathroom. As is true of other older houses, there are fixtures, now closed off in this house, to which gas space heaters were once attached.

Winter’s the best season. It’s easy to pile on layers of clothes and bedding. Heading in the other direction, there’s only so far to go!

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