Sunday, October 23, 2005

Back Cold Again in Indiana

With all the worries about heating bills this winter, I've decided to be a good citizen and freeze for my country. OK, it's not all that bad. I've really just decided that it might be a good idea to just keep the thermostat set on 68 degrees (instead of my usual tropical 70 or 72). I mean, 68 was good enough in the 70s energy crunch, right? And there's no way I'm going back to driving 55. So, I'm all proud of myself for trying to just put on a sweater instead of turning on the heat, and then I see that this winter's recommended thermostat setting is 65. Forget that! 68 is cold enough!

I'm already fighting turning the heater on this weekend and it's only 40 outside. My biggest complaint isn't my personal coldness, but how cold my place *feels*. It's depressing enough some days to come home to an empty house, but a *cold* and empty house?! It's pathetic, I know. But this 100-year-old building just seems to keep coldness in its bones. So, I'm looking for ways to create perceived heat in my house these days.

1) Make my living room into a workout room. Maybe burning personal calories will help raise the overall BTU factor in the house. Downside, more colds from the whole sweat/chill factor.

2) More hot showers/hot baths. Maybe I don't even have to take them all, just let the super hot water run a few times a day. Hey, I live in an apartment, I don't pay for my own hot water! Upside, it will "heat" the upstairs and solve the winter humidity problems. Downside, um, you know, I don't think I can think of a downside to this one.

3) Heating pad in the bed. Nothing is worse than a cold bed. Even when you don't sleep alone, getting in a cold bed is awful. I think I'll rig up a heating pad as a modern day bed warmer. No word on whether we'll go to full Victorian-era bed hangings. I'd have to get a new bed.

4) With no fireplaces in this place, maybe a candle in every occupied room would help. You know, create that "feeling" of live flame and warmth. And hey, if it gets cold enough, it might actually help. At least my cold rooms will smell good.

5) Cutting down on occupied rooms. If I lived in a house, I suppose this would be a better answer, but in my place, I like to use all my space. Plus, I work at home, so I'd slit my wrists if I had to stay in the same room(s) all the time.

6) Heavy curtains to help keep out heat seepage and drafts. Upside, helps create a nice textured illusion of warmth in the room. Downside, sun dreprivation.

7) A sweater in every room. If there's always one to put on, maybe I'll be encouraged. Plus, if it gets cold enough, I can use some of those Bob Cratchit-style fingerless gloves to keep my sad little book editor hands warm.

8) Toasted food for every meal. It's always good to get a quick hand-warming in over the toaster while it's working over a bagel first thing in the a.m. I'll bet I could cook a lot of things in the toaster!

At the end of the day, I still have all the good ol' standbys we all know if we've worked in freezing offices. (For the past couple of winters, my office window faced north.) There's the hot-tea-in-the-big-mug method, the hot-soup-for-lunch theory, and of course, the ever popular space-heater-under-the-desk trick. I'll see how long I can hold out. I give it until dark.

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