When you live in the same old house for 33 years, you know how everything works. Every fault and every good thing about the house can be recalled without even thinking about it. “The downstairs toilet can sometimes run so just jiggle the handle,” or “This thermostat is more than 5 degrees off so make sure you adjust the heat accordingly.” There’s no guess work and no surprises until something breaks.
Enter a new house, filled with appliances you didn’t buy and systems you’ve never owned and everything is a surprise.
The first time we put on the central air, there was a problem. Luckily the people who sold us the house live down the block. I’m still not quite sure what he did with the thermostat but we now have air conditioning.
Another mystery item is completely new to us: the sprinkler system. There is a panel with instructions. The instructions are the length of a short novel. We’ve had quite a bit of rain so it didn’t seem necessary to use it until now. This afternoon my husband decided to try it out. There are blinking lights of unknown meaning. It reminds me of the dashboard of a car with those mystery icons. Clearly the one blinking meant there was no water since nothing was happening.
Now in spite of never having owned a sprinkler system, even I know you have to shut off the water in the winter. The big question was where to find the water switch. My husband saw something feeding into the system from the basement. Aha! That has to be it.
Into the basement we went. Now it must be explained that our basement is 4 feet. As short as we are, we still need to walk around in there like Quasimodo. People generally buy wheeled chairs and use them to move about more comfortably but we haven’t gotten around to buying that yet.
Hunched, carefully ducking beams, we make our way halfway down and I spot a water line going out in the correct spot. Eureka! We have found it! We emerge from the depths of the basement.
The new mystery: why do my husband’s pants look as though he was crawling down there? We may never solve that one.