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Monday 8th January 2018

5522/18442
How come a sleeping baby that isn’t going to wake up when you put him/her down feels heavier than the same sleeping baby that is going to wake up when you put him/her down? Explain that science. You can’t. And even if you can, you were lucky this time, I only have to be lucky once.
I might sell that observation to Michael Mcintyre. It is chillingly correct. I don’t know why I bother putting my son down when he feels light. The feeling heavy indicator is always necessary.
It was a very long day today, I woke up with Ernie at 2.30am and he took a good while to become heavy. And then I was really cold and fretting about the boiler situation and whether my family was poisoned. I knew it was all unlikely and that things would get sorted out, but I didn’t get back to sleep. Somehow I was still full of energy all day.
It was a freezing cold morning, but it turned out that I hadn’t helped matters. I came down to find I’d failed to close one of the windows I’d opened to let the carbon monoxide out. If I had done that in London all my possessions would be gone and a madman would be wearing my head as a hat and using my penis as a fancy fountain pen (that only writes in white ink), but here in the country nothing happened. I’m actually a bit put out that no one came over to close it for me. That’s what you’d expect.
I tried to light the fire again to try and heat up one room, but again smoke filled the room. I was frustrated about this. Why was everything breaking. Then for the first time I noticed a small handle high up on the hood. I had confidently told Twitter that I had no damper lever. But suddenly there it was (maybe someone had broken in to install it). I flipped it and lit the fire again and problem solved. Somehow it must have slipped to closed by itself.
But the good news at least was that we could properly heat this one room in the house and very quickly the fire was blazing. I had an enjoyable morning sitting by the fire and writing up the story of being belittled by scaffolders for a on-off Independent column. I haven’t been doing any proper work for quite a few weeks and it was very satisfying to put this together. I found myself missing this discipline, which I had got into (and occasionally resented) in the four years I wrote for the Metro. I wouldn’t mind another crack at it though.
The boiler people told me they couldn’t come until tomorrow, which again I felt was unacceptable. I told the woman on the phone about what had happened last time, but she seemed unmoved. At this stage I was unsure if the carbon monoxide had caused any damage to our kids, so I suggested that it might not look good if I tweeted about this, but she said she couldn’t do anything. Again I wasn’t taking that for an answer. It had been much too cold for both my kids last night and if they’d been poisoned this could be their last day on earth and I wanted them to be warm and be able to have a bath. I didn’t make a big fuss though, just contacted the company via Twitter and sure enough they managed to find one of their senior engineers who was in fact free to come and give the boiler an overhaul and find out what was wrong. It’s definitely worth persisting in these situations.
And it turned out, when he arrived, that the issue had been caused by a faulty flue, so the issue hadn’t even really been down to the boiler at all. But I appreciate the efforts Vaillant made to fix this problem which wasn’t really of their own making (although it’s possible it had been mildly exacerbated by their previous engineer). And, of slightly less importance, Ernie was taken to the doctors and given the all clear. So we assumed we’re all OK too.
I think in all likelihood we caught the actual CO leak pretty quickly. So thank God for that carbon monoxide alarm. I would never have bought one myself but the builders had left one when they were concerned about the old gas oven in the kitchen. Without that who knows where we’d be. Hopefully the boiler nightmare is over. Even with the boiler pumping away all afternoon and evening the thermostat was only up to 15 degrees by bed time. I did the dream feed and got through it all brilliantly without waking Ernie up. But I made the mistake of putting him down when he was still light and his eyes opened. Why don’t I obey my own rules? Luckily he settled pretty quickly.
I felt much better about my life by the end of the day. Being cold really makes life hard and I am incredibly privileged to be in a position where I see warmth as a basic human right that I can get all arsey about.
But fixing the fire and basking in its glow and successfully getting my kids to sleep (after my wife had done the hard bit of the evening) I felt very happy. After all the effort and tears and tiredness, about once a month you get a sense of enormous satisfaction and it’s all worth it. It’s when the fuckers are both asleep.
I ended up having a long and enjoyable phone conversation with Geoff Lloyd about fighting, some of which will be on one of his podcasts and drank some whisky. Even though it was still cold, I was in front of the dying embers of the fire (I found nothing in them) and life was suddenly so much better than it had seemed at 5am. I'd done some work, been a hero for my family, warmed them up and done two nights of care in a row, done some work, booked a couple of guests for RHLSTP and had a fun chat with someone (closest I have come to socialsiing for a while) and I was only slightly cold. The good days don't come along all that often, but that makes them more enjoyable when they do.


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