So we're coming to what scares me the most here in Chicago. No, not Halloween. Not the coming cooler weather, not even winter itself. What is scaring me is the boiler downstairs in the basement. I've had plenty of apartments with radiator heat before. It is not foreign to me. When I was a tenant, sometime around November the radiators would start hissing and clanging, and blessed heat would come forth. Radiator heat is great for drying out wet gloves and socks, and gives off a nice aroma too when you do that. However, this is the first time I have been responsible for the heat flowing through those radiators. Now from what I remember, Chicago landlords have to turn the heat on from November first to sometime in March. That is however, just a memory and it is not true anymore. For some reason the city decided that everybody needs at least sixty eight degrees of heat inside their apartment, no matter what time of year. So I must figure out just how that very intimidating looking contraption in my basement works before it gets cold out. All sorts of horrors come to mind as I look at it. There is the memory of my grandparents house on Ada Street, on the south side. In the basement was a huge beast of a boiler with a filthy pile of coal sitting next to it. I've looked, there is no coal pile in my basement, so I am pretty sure it is gas fired. My other fear is explosion. Can the boiler explode? It sits directly under my bathroom. That is one of my fears, dying on the toilet like Elvis. I don't want to go out of this world with my pants around my ankles. So to alleviate my fears I have called a heating guy to teach me how to use the system. He's a friend of Croatian Steve, the guy who sold me the used lawn mower. The lawn mower worked out okay, so I'm putting my faith in Croatian Steve again.
Oh, and by the way, the folks who sold me the house handed me a bag of keys when they left. They pointed out three keys in the bag and told me, "Those are for the radiators." I looked at them with a blank stare, "Huh?" "Yes, those are to bleed the radiators when you start up the heating system." And then they said goodbye, leaving me there holding the bag of keys.