Ode to a Pack Rat

Wood Boiler on a Snowy Morning

This is the view from our bedroom window. The first thing we do every morning is peak out and see if there is “happy smoke.” Happy smoke from the chimney means that all is working well, we didn’t run out of wood overnight, and the house is toasty warm. On a morning like this, with the snow coming down, we were very happy to see happy smoke.

This was not the case the other day. There was no happy smoke. None. Thankfully, I’d already left for the day when Paul discovered this. He went out to inspect and discovered that the blower motor had died. Kaput. A new blower was on order, but that left us without the wood boiler which means no heat.

When I returned home, Paul launched into the long story that started with, “Well, the blower on the wood boiler shit the bed…” and my heart dropped into my stomach. I don’t think I heard anything else until he ended with, “But I rigged up a temporary fix.” Why does he do that? He should know me better by now. If you present a problem, it’s best to start off with the solution – or at least let me know everything is okay. It’s not good to leave me dangling, mind racing with that hopeless feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Thankfully, my husband is a pack rat. I never, EVER, thought I’d say that. Paul doesn’t throw anything out. He has magazines from 1972. He has every one of his college texts. He has business cards for businesses he longer owns or works at. He has containers and jars with bits and pieces of this and that – nuts and bolts, screws and nails. He has an old wooden desk drawer (but no desk) full of old door knobs and miscellany. And this is just the tip of the iceburg. I was going to take a picture of the garage for this post to illustrate my point, but Paul wouldn’t let me.

Drum roll, please. He also has a used blower he purchased for $10 in 1993. And on this day, when the wood boiler blower died, he was actually able to find it – a miracle in itself. Not only did he find it, he was able to swap out the dead blower with this ancient one of unknown origin and jury rig it into place to keep the wood boiler humming until the new blower arrived.

My pack rat saved the day. I’m posting this so he can point it out next time I complain about him being a pack rat.

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