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January 12, 2007: A nip in the air

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The news was chock full of dire warnings of freezing temperatures for last night and the next few days, with warming stations set up around the area, and even the possibility of snow in the Sacramento Valley. When I woke up this morning, there was no snow (alas), and the only sign of it having frozen the night before was the little lake of ice in the middle of the backyard, where the water from the sprinklers tends to puddle. And yes, we did turn the sprinklers back on, because it's been a rather dry winter so far and even though we are all about conservation around here, there is only so long the fruit trees can go without water before they shrivel up and die. Although, considering that we did not go put little Christmas lights all over the tangelo and grapefruit trees last night to ward off the frost, it may be a moot point anyway.

Anyway. When I got to work, I noticed it was pretty cold, but I didn't think much about it because, since our office is in an old and kind of 'eclectic' building, the temperatures tend to swing wildly throughout the day. So I turned on my space heater, as I usually do, and then started wondering why it didn't seem to be doing any good. This is about when my coworker came over, also noting it was downright nippy in the office, so the two of us went over to the thermostat to investigate. And that is when we discovered that the thermostat in our office had apparently decided it wanted to stand in solidarity with the freezing temperatures outside, and thought we would all prefer it to be a nice, balmy 62 degrees.

The problem with this thermostat is that none of us have ever figured out how to make it work. They set it up when they installed it, but over the last year or two, each of us has tried to muddle through the array of buttons and incomprehensible instructions, trying to change the preset temperatures, but never with any luck. So my coworker and I did our usual routine of randomly stabbing at buttons in the hopes we might trigger something to happen, and then when that didn't work, I tracked down a passing maintenance guy and decided it was time to let the big guns have at it. We have found it rather amusing that it took two of them to come in and do the random stab at buttons and inspecting of vents (indicating that it is not that we are all singularly stupid when it comes to thermostats, but that this thing really is incomprehensible to all), until they declared that it was possible that the thermostat might actually be broken, and then left, promising to come back later to see how things were progressing.

It appears, however, that at least some of the random button-pushing done by either my coworker and I, or by the maintenance guys, seems to have worked. After an hour or so the temperature in the office finally started to creep slowly upward. By the time I was sitting down to my highly nutritious lunch of microwave popcorn and peppermint hot chocolate (guess who forgot to bring her lunch today?), it had finally just about reached the temperature it should have been when we came in to the office this morning.

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