Steam Heat

It’s the time of year in the Pacific Northwest to crank up the heat. Every time I turn the knob on our heating registers, I’m reminded of the Pointer Sisters rendition of Steam Heat. On the City of Boise website you’ll learn:

“Four independent heating districts operate geothermal systems within Boise that serve more than five million square feet of residential, business, and government space. Energy is produced locally and sustainably. Every gallon pumped out is injected back into the system.”

One of those four independent heating districts is historic Warm Springs, a tree-lined avenue that’s home to many of the Victorian-style mansions erected by wealthy miners and businesspeople around the turn of the 20th century. The area gets its name from the natural hot springs that flow from Boise’s fault line.

We live in the carriage house of one of the oldest mansions in the surrounding area (circa 1865). We’re fortunate that our minimalist space enjoys earth-friendly, cost-efficient heat from the hot springs throughout the winter.

I don’t get “steamed” too often, but when I do—it’s not pretty. A few of the large, small, and mid-sized things that get me hot under the collar are mistreatment of people (anything less than respectful), littering, and people who don’t take loving care of their animals.

What chaps your hide, boils your blood, or makes you hot under the collar?


50 thoughts on “Steam Heat

  1. Funny that: we have the same pet hates! As a teacher, I find these days some parents don’t seem to bother to teach their kids respect and consideration to others and I find this extremely sad and hard to accept. I just consider myself lucky that we were brought up with good manners and concern for others and I always hope that giving a good example might change other people’s attitudes too. Neither do I understand why people feel the need to litter, especially in areas where bins are provided and this also happens at school! Sometimes I fear I am turning into a nagging old woman!!! 😠😠😠😬😬😬

  2. Thank you for sharing how you get your winter heat, Laurie. We live on a farm and use corn to heat our home and hot water.

    Having come from an almost four decade career in education, I share the same vexations as you and the first person who responded. However, there were three others that came to mind practically instantaneously after reading your post. IGNORANCE that is chosen, embraced, accepted, applauded and practically worshipped. GREED that is of a kind that the average person has no way of understanding. There are people who have more money than any of us can imagine, and their goal appears to be “accumulation” rather than “generosity.” The third is EXCLUSIVITY, where for whatever reason some people feel the need to exclude others.

    There is a haunting quote from A Christmas Carol that has “stayed with me” for 45 years since I first began teaching 8th grade English. I didn’t fully understand it then…but it seems to be a prophetic warning for the times in which we are currently living:

    “Forgive me if I am not justified in what I ask,” said Scrooge, looking intently at the Spirit’s robe, “but I see something strange, and not belonging to yourself, protruding from your skirts. Is it a foot or a claw?”

    “It might be a claw, for the flesh there is upon it,” was the Spirit’s sorrowful reply. “Look here.”

    From the foldings of its robe it brought two children; wretched, abject, frightful, hideous, miserable. They knelt down at its feet, and clung upon the outside of its garment.

    “Oh, Man! look here! Look, look, down here!” exclaimed the Ghost.

    They were a boy and girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out, and touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shrivelled hand, like that of age, had pinched, and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds. Where angels might have sat enthroned, devils lurked, and glared out menacing. No change, no degradation, no perversion of humanity, in any grade, through all the mysteries of wonderful creation, has monsters half so horrible and dread.

    Scrooge started back, appalled. Having them shown to him in this way, he tried to say they were fine children, but the words choked themselves, rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude.

    “Spirit! are they yours?” Scrooge could say no more.

    “They are Man’s,” said the Spirit, looking down upon them. “And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware of them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!” cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. “Slander those who tell it ye! Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse! And bide the end!”

    “Have they no refuge or resource?” cried Scrooge.

    “Are there no prisons?” said the Spirit, turning on him for the last time with his own words. “Are there no workhouses?”

  3. Mistreatment of people (especially helpless children), animals, and destruction or misuse of our natural resources would be high on my list of things which would raise my blood pressure and create a movement to action. At the top of my list since I was a little girl, however, is an intolerance for lack of equity for any group.

  4. I feel the same way about the three things that you just listed. I might have more but, I’m busy reading an awesome book .💚🐸❌🐢🐦🐧⭕️🎼😘

  5. I just read an article Our Unbearable Night by Isaac Villegas, a Mennonite pastor in NC, who described the horror against black people, latinos, and Muslims that began even on election night. It made my blood boil too.

    Then I remembered a note attached to my refrigerator with the address of the church which suffered the loss of 9 wonderful lives in Charleston, SC last year. My friend and writer Melodie Davis, shared the address on her blog recently with a note urging us to send cards of encouragement / condolence (as you wish) expressing our solidarity in these trying times: Mother Emanuel AME Church, 110 Calhoun Street, Charleston, SC 29401 I intend to follow through sometime during this season. It’s a small thing, but it’s something!

  6. Mistreatment of people and animals. The first I experienced last Thursday on my birthday no less from a loud rude beligerent bus driver. I have put in a complaint about him to the Toronto Transit Commission.
    And animals…when I see and hear about dogs, cats and horses, etc. being starved and abused in other ways, I am very sad.

  7. Hi Laurie

    I’ve read every one of the comments above, and each of them touches something real in me.

    And having observed myself and pondered this question for half a century, I think it all comes back to injustice for me.
    And for me injustice includes want, ignorance, any form of treatment of another that is less than respectful, any unthinking damage to the environment we all share, and action by any subset of humanity that is less than cooperative and tolerant of diversity towards everyone else.

    And ignorance is perhaps the hardest, as it often appears as what seems like its opposite, righteousness. Science and logic are both clear, that we have no basis in reality or logic to be absolutely certain of anything. The harsh unrelenting certainty of “Truths” dislayed by so many (in both scientific and religious domains) is to me the worst and saddest form of ignorance.

    I am clear that at the basis of all of our knowledge and understanding are sets of heuristics (rules of thumb, useful aproximations, things that worked in practice often enough to be useful) selected over the deep times of biological and cultural evolution. Absolute certainty about anything is almost always self serving delusion.

    So I have learned to cut anyone who is basically cooperative and respectful a bit of slack in their beliefs.

    One of the things I have the hardest time with is Hell Fire and Brimstone preachers terrorising young children. I have a hard time restraining myself from inflicting on the preachers the physical equivalent of the sorts of mental abuse they are inflicting on the children.

  8. I’m simpatico with all of your heat-provoking thoughts. I’ll add injustice of any kind (although it is sometimes hard to pinpoint -other times obvious); know-it-alls (people who have to lecture to pull one-ups-manship or state things with certainty (that are often found to be false!). There are others, but I won’t get political here!

  9. Laurie, so much on the political scene over the past months, and there wasn’t any viable options for any of us. The hate and negativity boils my blood. But I haven’t forgotten the killer of Cecil the Lion either!

  10. I agree with the comments above, Laurie. It is upsetting to see people or animals mistreated. I hope most people feel that way. I am also steamed by the people who seem to revel in their ignorance and who don’t care if news they spread is false or not–and of course all the “deniers,” whether it’s climate, the Holocaust, or men landing on the moon.
    Oh–and censorship.
    I’ll stop by rant now.
    Minor pet peeve–people who talk or make unnecessary noise during movies and shows in theaters.
    I think it’s all connected–not thinking of others.

  11. I am upset about the nasty behavior recently – such as the 2 Black Americans (faculty members at the college) who were spit on at a local coffee shop by a young man about 20 years old who kept insisting they go back to Africa. I am very upset that folks did not understand the hold and $ being spent in this state by the Koch Brothers and ALEC who want to close down our fabulous public schools and who’s exploding fracking oil trains go right through downtown – used to be 8 a day since the election 21 a day…4 blocks from the Capital Building as though they can now disregard what people want here – some kind of mandate. The disrespect to our National Parks and State parks is amazing as they load up their mining gear ready to strip away the beauty… I am working very diligently to find peace everyday…I want to raise some education of my own. I worry about my Asian heritage child and the crazy things folks say to her.. What a chimney of hot…

  12. People who are misunderstood ,injustice and inhabitants of this beautiful world who don’t have a voice . I am now being pulled off my soapbox kicking and screaming , my loving husband doing the pulling , me doing the screaming and kicking …mmmm where is my delightful copy of ‘Note To Self ‘ much needed attribute 👍😊

  13. Living in an area with many people who are 10 to 20 years older than me I see a lot of things things that just make me sad right now. But when I see those things that make me sad being caused by people using fear and power to control and manipulate older people (especially for financial gain) steam comes out of my ears. I’m not always sure this is the best place for a tender hearted former social worker.

  14. All mistreatment (of people, animals, nature, environment) makes my blood boil. Right now I’m thinking about people fishing at the salt marsh just next to a big sign that fishing is not allowed. I always go to them and ask if they need help reading the sign…or rather want to be fined. That usually works. Birds have drowned there after getting tangled in fishing lines left in the water. Sad.

  15. Laurie, the list you brought up stirs the same fire in my heart…along with a couple more. Destruction and misuse of our natural resources would be one, and the deliberate misuse of power in the hands of politicians to further divide our country and widen a rift that may be beyond healing at this point. A house divided cannot stand.

  16. Your home sounds perfect! Our house was first listed in 1869 in the register in Buffalo, NY. We recently were contacted by the Historical Society as they wanted to register our home. Unfortunately, they are not able to find much history on it as it was a family that the street was named after that built it and they kept to themselves with their farming.

    Now on to things that get me hot under the collar…..shallow people, animal cruelty, self righteous attitudes are a few 🙂

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