Some folks can find water by walking across a field with a forked stick or two unbent coat hangers. Others can predict weather by their joints, a rheumatism forecast. Poker players can discern tells in their opponents that telegraph bluffing. Val possesses none of those skills. But she can sniff out a conspiracy quicker than a bloodhound sniffs out the trail of a zebra-stripe-uniformed escaped convict lugging an iron ball chained to his ankle.
Friday, Hick planned to stay late at work. He said he wasn't going in until noon. The Pony and I left for school as normal while Hick slept in. We got home after five, and went about our Friday-night business.
I pulled up my chair to my New Delly in the V of adjoining butcher-block countertops in my dark basement lair. That's my built-in desk. I love it. Hick made if for me, even following my specifications. It's just right. Except that my office has no heating or cooling vents. Sure, it's underground. Cool in the summer, warm in the winter...compared to outside temperatures. However, it does have two concrete walls which abut the external environment. So in the winter, I have a little space heater under my countertop desk. It's toasty. I often find myself at school, reaching down to turn it on, when I don't have one at school.
Friday night, I turned on my heater. It takes a few minutes to warm my workspace. As much as I love my countertop desk, it is icy cold in winter. You could mix tasty candies in ice cream on that surface, like at Stone Cold Steve's Creamery. That's the name, right, of that ice cream shop run by the ex-wrestler? No meltage of your chocolate chip cookie dough Gummi Bear banana mint on Val's countertop. No sirree, Bob!
After my initial jolt of internet knowledge, I noticed that my heater was not toasty. It was barely warming my left leg. I was as disappointed as a caffeineophile tossing back an espresso and discovering it was only the meltwater left from a 44 oz. Diet Coke full of ice from the day before. Oh, dear. Surely my little Spacy had not gone the way of my oven. Surely he was not out of his element.
I reached down to see if he was sitting on his cord. That makes him shut off, if he is jostled, or sitting unevenly. But he was humming. Purring along. Spitting out lukewarm air. Spacy has two dials. The only one I ever touch is his on-off. Depending on the ambient temperature of my dark basement lair, I might turn that dial a quarter turn, or all the way to half, straight up-and-down. When the surrounding temp is warm enough, Spacy shuts himself off. But now he was blowing weak atmospheric sauce.
I searched for the other button. I've not messed with it in years. I found a happy medium, and left it. Huh. I didn't bother to turn on the light. A bright basement lair is only conducive to tax season. Aha! There it was. I turned that control to the right. And Spacy got all fired up. Huh. What was that all about?
My tack-sharp conspiracy-sniffing mind says that Hick paid a visit to my lair while I was at work. That Hick took it upon himself to dial back my comfort. Whether to make me spend less time there, or make me spend less money on the electric bill and quit harping on the cash we waste heating his empty BARn. I don't presume to understand the motives of Hick. But all signs point to tamperage with my office cozy.
I have not yet addressed the discovery. What Hick doesn't know never hurts him.