Editor’s Note

As a first-time homeowner, I’ve been asking a lot of questions lately.

“What’s that noise?” “Why does the basement smell weird?” “Mom, will you guys come look at this?”

I’ve been telling family, friends and co-workers how excited we are to be living in our own home. Most of them have told me my excitement will wear off when something breaks.

So far, my new homeowner happiness has been tested by just one unlikely source – the thermostat. Yes, the large, digital monstrosity has challenged my patience.

Equipped with 14 buttons, I’m sure the device has numerous great, energy-saving features. Unfortunately, its instruction manual apparently checked into the previous owners’ BPU recycling bin.

I grew up using a simple, nondigital, round thermostat. Spin the dial and the temperature changes.

The rules were simple. Turn up the heat when you get home; turn it down when you leave. If everyone remembered to do that, the family saved money and Dad was a happy man. On the rare occasions when someone forgot, it was time to answer a question.

“Who forgot to turn down the heat?” (Commence finger-pointing.)

“Dad, Steve was the last one out the door,” I would say. “I could never do anything so thoughtless.” Steve, my older brother, would pass the blame back to me. Eventually, one of us would realize we were the culprit, fess up to the crime and life would continue as normal.

In our new home, with the fancy thermostat, manually adjusting the temperature just wouldn’t work for me. The device had been programmed to return the temperature to 58 degrees, regardless of what I did.

So, after what felt like hours of chilly frustration, changing the thermostat’s battery and finding the cleverly hidden reset button, we managed to adjust the temperature up into the balmy 65-degree range. Don’t tell Dad, but sometimes I even push it a little closer to 70.

My hope is that spring will soon offer some heat assistance of its own, and I can tolerate the digital confusion for a little longer. By next winter, I plan to have a nondigital thermostat. Maybe I’ll find one at a yard sale or in a museum.