It finally got cold enough to have to turn on the heaters. Here in Dallas, that means it dipped all the way down to about 46 degrees (8 C). While that may not seem like much to those of you in more northern climates, down here it means that it’s time to stoke up the ol’ furnaces.
There are some seasonal rituals that people like, such as the first time that the leaves need to be raked, the first time the walkway needs to be shoveled free of snow, or the first time the lawn needs to be mowed in spring. I suppose some people even like lighting the furnace for the first time every year.
I am not one of those people.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the house to be nice and toasty warm on a cold winter’s night. In fact, I prefer it. But the first time the heater is fired up every year fills me with dread. And that’s because when I fire up the heater for the first time in nine months, it must first burn off 9 months worth of dust, pollen, mold, and who knows what else that settles into the furnace and the ductwork over that nine months. It is a nice, funky pong that smells something like an old, used sponge that caught on fire, smoldered for a bit, and was then doused with the stagnant water from a leaf-clogged rain gutter.
So that was the smell that awakened me at about 2 o’clock this morning.
On the plus side, it was nice and toasty warm.