The first hint of Bob’s betrayal came when he put off insulating the trailer not one, not two, but three months. This despite my numerous attempts to raise the issue in conversation, and at least three passive-aggressive emails.
I’ll admit that this delay may not seem like much to get worked up about. Especially to folks in relatively warmer climates, where the winter temperatures only set in around December. But Lonesome Valley often gets snow in September, and has been known to go subzero in October. Add to that the fact that Bob and I live in a three-season trailer (which may as well be a two-season trailer in Lonesome Valley), and you can see why waiting past Halloween to insulate is like flipping Mother Nature the bird.
So naturally when the temperature plummeted last week, our pipes froze, and we were back to bathing out of buckets in a matter of hours. Still I heard no talk of insulating–instead, Bob wanted to figure out a way to make our bucket-baths more efficient. Use a garbage can as a cistern, fill it every morning, etc. We initiated microwaveable meals as an alternative to cooking, to save us having to do dishes. And when I kept bringing-up the idea of my taking a day off work to help him handle the insulation, Bob kept brushing it away. Too busy, he said.
Then, three days into the buckets, our thermostat broke. We fiddled with the slider, we tapped the device–either it wouldn’t keep the furnace on, or it wouldn’t shut the furnace off once it was on, so we decided to turn it off for the night and use a space heater in the living room.
Only later that night, at around three in the morning, I heard Bob get up, walk into the living room, and mess with it. I assumed he was turning it up, but I woke up to a freezing trailer. That’s when I realized he had turned it down.
“Why did you turn the heat down last night?” I asked him.
“I didn’t even get up last night.”
“You did,” I insisted. “I heard you do it.”
“I don’t remember,” he said.
Then he smiled.
* * *
During this time of year, the war with the elements is a constant one in Lonesome Valley, and the cold takes no prisoners. Pipes burst, thermostats break. All that hovering trouble results in a real feeling of Us vs. Winter among the locals, and our recent incidents at the trailer were beginning to suggest that Bob had defected to the other team. But to be fair, there are a number of other explanations for his seeming attempts to further the cause of frost.
One of them is that Bob really is very busy, with holiday concerts, and an endless amount of music to learn for advent. He’s also taking a pill for insomnia, which he’s had since he quit smoking, and this particular pill has been known to make people do weird things in their sleep. Like cut their bangs off, or cook themselves breakfast. Now, we can add self-refrigeration to that list.
Which brings me to the evidence for the other side, for all you conspiracy theorists, and fans of more shall we say esoteric explanations for Bob’s behavior. Earlier this month, he changed his Facebook profile pic to this: