By Gretchen Leigh
Let’s talk about worms. Not the slithery, slimy kind that are martyring themselves on roads and sidewalks because of our rainy weather, but the canned variety.
These are the worms that humans tend to loose anytime a decision is made to upend some aspect of our lives. It’s never as simple as just determining to replace something, let’s say, a furnace. After 25 years, my husband and I decided to upgrade ours. I feel like I’ve been trying to get rid of the beast since we moved into this place. The repairmen determined it was installed in 1985, which meant it was only around 7 years old when we took up residence, it’s never been particularly efficient.
We should have had our first clue that we were about to release the worms when the estimator crawled under our house into a tropical oasis. A whole duct was not hooked up to one of the registers. It had been heating up the crawl space nicely for only God knows how long. He (the estimator man, not God), reattached it and we had a marked improvement in warmth. We jokingly told him we didn’t want the new furnace after all.
But we did need a new furnace. When he stood next to our old monster explaining what the install would look like, it gurgled at him and spoke things only he understood. We backed slowly out of the room to continue our discussion away from the old furnace before whatever alien lurked in its depths burst out.
Once we committed to the cost the next step was installation. Our house is old, though I hesitate to say that because it’s only a year or so younger than me. Installing wasn’t a huge problem, at least for the installers. For me it was another story. When I told the estimator how freaked out I was, he attempted to calm my fears by saying, “Change is difficult.” I laughed that he thought I cared about replacing the old furnace like I was ending a bad relationship. It wasn’t the replacement that was stressing me out, it was everything surrounding it: new equipment to learn, inspectors to inspect and the inadequacies of an aging house.
One room wasn’t holding the heat after new vents were routed to the room. The installers pointed out the inadequate ceiling insulation in that room. So I found an insulation guy, who pointed out it wasn’t just the one room, it was the whole house.
By now my worms were not just slithering from their container but were packed in a joke can that had sprung open and sprayed them over my life. It was difficult enough for my family to peel me off the ceiling much less combat the loose pests. After the second day of install, which normally would only take a day except for the extra wiring that had to be done because of the age of the previous wiring, things started to settle down in my head.
Like my children who thankfully weren’t born teenagers, I realized I didn’t have to deal with every potential issue until it arose. I took one problem at a time and made appointments. One inspector called and showed up out of the blue instead of scheduling in advance. That turned out to be a blessing for me, like ripping off a Band-Aid, quick and painless.
Everything will be wrapped up by April 1 and I see the worms are headed back to their can. Though nothing I did was laborious, I still kind of feel like the Worm Whisperer.
Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. You can read more of her writing and her blog on her website livingwithgleigh.com, on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh.” or follow her on Twitter @livewithgleigh. Her column is also available at maplevalleyreporter.com under the Life section.