Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author of "Cool Creatures, Hot Planet," "Endangered Edens," and the "Time Is Irreverent" series.

The story of the naked walk

Marty’s photo of the day #2397: This is a picture of our twelve-foot-tall Christmas tree and the story of the naked walk.

Eight years ago, the furnace in our relatively new house suffered a series of breakdowns (likely due to repairman incompetence). Eventually we hired a different furnace company, which talked us into getting a new, super-efficient Baxi furnace that would heat our house and instantly heat our water as well. That fateful day began what I call “the naked walk.”

It turned out that the Baxi was even less reliable than our original furnace. And, since we no longer had a hot water tank, every time the Baxi malfunctioned we lost hot water at the same time. After three years of hell, I got into a heated argument with the regional Baxi representative, and he agreed to replace the lemon Baxi with a brand spanking new lemon Baxi. The new lemon isn’t quite as sour as the first lemon, but it still can’t make it through a winter without turning itself off several times (usually in the middle of the night). I’ve come to the conclusion that the furnace, made in the UK, was never intended for use at the high altitude of my home in Montana.

Deb and I live in a tall house, with a floor-to-ceiling window wall. Our bedroom and shower are on the top floor, which overlooks the window wall you see in this photo. Since I’m up first each morning, I take the initial shower. Hence the naked walk.

Numerous times each year, I jump into the shower, thinking the water will warm up. When it doesn’t, I have to walk down two flights of stairs, passing in full view of the window wall, to the utility room and open the furnace up and reset it. We don’t have any nearby neighbors, so there’s no reason to get dressed for the walk.

Needless to say, I’m famous with the furnace repair company. I just call and say, “Kathleen, I had to take the naked walk this morning,” and later that day someone will show up to tweak the furnace “once and for all . . .” until the next naked walk.

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