Friday night was easy though. A late night of horror movies if only I could stay awake through Dallas then it would be time for Big Chuck and Little John and the Horror movie of the week. Staying awake though Dallas was always a problem for me and this time was no exception only I noticed as the show went on it was getting colder in the house. A lot colder. I turned up the temperature but I did not hear the furnace kick on. So it's down to the old furnace I went. The house I grew up in was well over a hundred years old. As such some parts of it were very old. This furnace being a perfect example. It was obviously brought in and the house was built around it. It was originally a coal furnace but was converted to run on natural gas sometime long before I was potty trained. The pieces were old and it operated in a way that was more art than science. The pilot light was out, but it was very cold in the house so there was no way to light the pilot and in the old drafty farm house it was not getting any warmer as it approached midnight. Luckily this is an easy fix. I took a match and light a piece of paper on fire and opened the raw gas valve. The gas exploded in the massive cast iron burner and the furnace roared to life. This called for popcorn. I made some and finished right in time for Dallas to end and the house was feeling good. I ran down and light the pilot light and watched me the late night horror movie. Then went to bed.
In the morning it was cold. It was always cold in my room though. It was the one room in the drafty farm house without a heater vent and since I was a little boy I insisted on sleeping with the door closed. Often locked, maybe someday I'll talk about what a paranoid child I was. So I lay in the cold drifting in and out in the cold morning when I hear a call. Mike... It's coming from outside. Sounded like from over the hill. It wasn't crazy to hear the one of the neighbors even though they were at least a mile away. What was crazy is that none of them were named Mike. I was up. I throw off the covers and immediately regretted it. That was apparently the only bit of warmth left in the house. I was still blocked from the windchill, but every bit of heat had left. To make matters worse the second floor of the house smelled like gas. This was quite an accomplishment given that every room leaked air and my door was closed. I put on cold cloths and opened my door. Suddenly the smell was worse. I opened the window in my room and took a few good breaths and bounded though the house and out into the blowing snow. I opened the door and I opened windows and shut the gas off at the valve behind the house. And I heard it again. Mike... Mom wasn't home yet. It was way before cell phones and we both didn't need to check up on each other. She likely stayed at a friend's close to work so she didn't have to drive in the mess. I how-ever had to do something about the furnace.
Thing's aired out and I was able to get down to the old iron furnace again. Looks like the line leading to the pilate was knocked off. I needed parts. Parts that I don't think anyone had made in the last 30 years. I needed to make something up and do it quick. So I found a tube of silicon gasket mix, jammed some papers into place and created a silicon seal for the pilate light. Now it just needed to dry. Only it was 0. So I went upstares bundled up and watched Saturday Morning cartons. For hours later cartoons are over. I am freezing so I need to try something. I turn the gas back on and check my work. It's holding. I open the raw gas and explode gas into the furnace again. The patch I made doesn't explode. MIKE!!! I spin around. It was right behind me this time. Nothing is there. I know I didn't imagine this. I run outside but even the dog's aren't making tracks. They are in their god houses keeping warm and there isn't a track. There isn't a person for over a mile. And I am out in the -30 windchill instead of the house that is finally getting warm again. So in I go.
I take a blanket and lay on the heater vent trapping the heat for the entire house in my own little tent. It feels good to get warm. I shake off the cold and watch TV even if I did already finish the cartoons and there was nothing on. At least I was warm. Then hot then I let heat go into the house. I went down and checked the silicon. It was looking much better so I light the pilate light cleared the line and turned the heat down a little. I sat and watched it as it went off and relight the furnace a few times and watched as my make shift line held. I also looked over my shoulder constantly. Everything worked as expected. So I made some food and took care of what was left of the farm.
The day had passed and it was about time for mom to go to work and she hadn't been home yet so I decided i would make a bunch of little pizzas and watch some more TV and get some sleep. Not much was on and I wasn't paying match attention to anything when I hear it again. MIKE. It's from right outside. I look up and out the window and I see a big gob of snow fall from the window. I run to it and see a frozen hand print on the glass. OK new game I am going to find this. I slip on a coat and boot in 10 seconds and I am outside. Right below the window I see a single foot print. Nothing leading up to it. Not set just one. And it hits me. A blast of cold that chilled me. As you may have figured out by now I am fairly cold resistant. This, however, felt like frost bitten instantly it burnt and all felling went out of my shoulder and it went MIKE! I spun around. Nothing. I hear it behind me again MIKE. I couldn't feel if it got colder or not. I was already frozen. I tried to move and I felt the pain. My feet were numb. MIKE. I decided I didn't have a choice. I ran for the door. Only every step burnt and I could not feel the ground as my feet went down.
I was almost to the door when my legs went out from under me as if pulled. MIKE. I felt the cold wash over me. I was down and it felt right if I just laid there. Only that didn't sound right. I scrambled forward and into the house. I closed the door as a wad of snow hit it behind me. MIKE. And left it's hand print.
I turned the heat all the way up and went in to treat myself for frost bite. I had a lot of red skin but I was able to warm it up fairly well. By the time I was out the house was 85 degrees even though it was a drafty old farm house and 0 degrees out and the handprints where gone. Maybe melted. It didn't matter to me. I checked my repair one last time and set up a blanket on a heater vent and slept with the full heat of the castiron furnace blowing on me all night.
In morning mom came back from work. She said she had stayed at a friends to not drive in the snow as I expected. Everything was fine here. I put a patch on the furnace. "OH" she took a look. Looked good so she went to bed so she could get some rest. I went outside to play so I wouldn't wake her up. Sunday tv was boring anyways. Looks like it was warming up. I never mentioned that night again until now.