Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cold weather and heating

I'm stubborn, I'll admit it. I'm stubborn about plenty of things, but I am terribly stubborn about turning on and turning up the heat in our house. Every year is a challenge to see how long I can go before I give in and turn the heat on. Then the challenge is to keep the heat as low as I can and be comfortable.

This year I have yet to turn the heat on. Yep, November 6th and our furnace is still cold and silent. Not that it hasn't been a temptation a couple of mornings. Thank goodness for our fireplace, blankets, and lots of cat warmth.

So what is my hang up? I've thought about it. I think much of it stems from my youth. I lived with my grandmother during the oil crises in the 1970s. She lived through the Depression. The president was asking all Americans to turn down the heat. Don't you remember that it was supposed to be 68 degrees during the day and lower at night? When it got cold in our house, you put on extra socks, a sweater and maybe a robe on top of that. The beds were heavy with real wool blankets and thick comforters. Not only did it save money, it was patriotic.

I remember one Christmas vacation when I wore two pairs of socks and a thick robe over a flannel nightgown. My grandmother and I curled up on the couch under a blanket to watch movies every night. It is one of the coziest Christmases I remember.

When it snowed, we threw blankets and towels on the radiators to warm them up- so nice when you get out of the tub or come in from playing in the snow. Our coats laid on a trunk next to a big radiator, so they were always pre-warmed too. We would bundle up, play in the snow until we were numb and then come in to blankets and robes and hot chocolate.

When it got cold outside, we wore sweaters, sweatshirts, LONG SLEEVES. It is crazy to me today when I look at "winter" fashions and see tissue-thin fabrics, short sleeves, bare chests. How are you supposed to keep warm? How ridiculous is it to crank your heat (burn those fossil fuels) and wear clothes you would be comfortable in on a 75 degree day?

So here I am, another heating season upon me and the game begins. When to give in and turn on the heat, how warm to set it, how low to go at night, and how comfortable can I be? Last year I used less than 200 gallons of oil all season, and never felt deprived. At our house we will throw another log on the fire, add some socks, pull on a sweater, and keep blankets handy everywhere.

It makes this the cuddliest of seasons and that is ok by me. Sometimes I swear I can feel my grandmother curled up in the dark and watching movies with me, still sharing her warmth. Someday, maybe Connor will feel the same when cold weather comes and he pulls a dryer-fresh blanket out for his children and tells them how I did it for him. Yep, I don't mind if it is a bit brisk in my house, it just makes me warm inside.....

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