The proverb, “cold hands, warm heart”, means that people whose hands are usually cold have kind and loving personalities. In a more general sense, a cool demeanor can mask a kind heart. This saying is frequently used as a rejoinder if one finds that another’s hands are cold. The etymology of the phrase is that of a calque (or loan) translation of the French phrase, froides mains, chaudes amours. All this being said, Anne, my wife of many years has cold hands. She also has a loving heart, but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves here. And I don’t dare to even mention her feet. She has always had cold hands and has frequently been found rejoining the aforementioned proverb.
Last week, our old furnace, of forty years, gave up the ghost. The core had developed a leak and carbon-monoxide began leaking into the house. Our CO detector went off, we shutdown the furnace and opened the windows. We called the gas company, who called the fire department. After they both left, our furnace had been disconnected. Most of last week was consumed with soliciting bids, meeting with contractors and then evaluating proposals. We made our decision, and chose a 95% efficient Trane furnace. It was installed on Friday. An unseasonable late October warm spell, combined with the red-hot World Series Champion Cardinals made the nights without heat not too unpleasant. Yesterday, the last of the work was completed; a new flue for the water heater was installed. Today the bill arrived.
The old furnace use to vent up through the chimney, but the new one uses a pair of PVC pipes, one for intake and one for exhaust. Holes were punched through the brick wall to accommodate the new pipes. By happenstance, this new exterior fixture is only a few feet from the house’s original heat source. Built in 1937, the house has an iron coal chute door. No other signs of the coal chute remain, but the next successor system is still well represented. A hole was cut into the middle of the coal chute door. Out of this hole protrudes a heating oil pipe. It is still connected to the hundreds of gallons oil tank in the basement. Our old furnace was installed in 1971. Anne and I were just meeting each other that year. There are signs remaining that an even older furnace was once installed at the back of the house.
Even with all of this investment in heating technology, Anne’s hands are still cold. The ideal for the banana picture is not original. Jon had posted a link on Facebook this week, to a cartoonist website. The banana idea was there and caught my eye. We had just bought bananas. I found a Sharpy, en Voila!