Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Burrrr...it’s cold outside, which means it’s cold inside too. The main floor of my house is particularly chilly, because all the warm air is escaping to the upstairs. Even though the kitchen and living room are cool, it’s nice and warm upstairs – perfect for sleeping. It’s like the polar opposite of my childhood.
As a child, my father was quite conservative with the heat, so he reasoned that heating the upstairs of the house, when we spent so little time up there, was money wasted. Of course, my sister and I strongly disagreed as we marched off to bed wearing our winter hats and gloves to stay warm as we slept. We tried to be clever by leaving the door at the top the stairs cracked open to allow some of the heat to rise up, but I could always hear him saying, “Somebody forgot to close the door upstairs.”
My sisters and I would get sneaky and crack open the vent to our room a little to get some extra heat, but as the boys walked by on the way to their room, they would discover our plan and rat us out. Sometimes, my sister and I would jump in bed at the same time and get ourselves as warm as possible – meaning doing scissor kicks quickly to heat up our bodies – and then realize that neither of us had remembered to turn out the lights. Shoot! After arguing over who should sacrifice themselves and get out of bed to turn out the lights, we usually just resolved to sleeping with the lights on. Occasionally one of our brothers would be coming up for bed and we would ask them to flip the switch for us, but they seemed to think our dilemma was funny – so the answer was usually “no”. ( typical big brothers )
I remember wearing long flannel nightgowns to bed, which I hated because they always managed to either get twisted around my body or I ended wearing the whole thing around my neck like a scarf before the night was through. They did work well in the morning though, as I stood over the floor vent – doing my best impression of a Goodyear blimp. Once my body temperature reached normal, I would throw my cold jeans over the vent in an effort to warm them up before putting them on. It was my childhood version of “hot jeans”.
Even after we all moved out of the house, Dad never did heat the upstairs unless we were coming home for a visit. And even then, he didn’t go crazy with the thermostat – he kept it nice and lukewarm. The in-laws have joked over the years that they dress their kids in their warmest Pj’s to sleep at grandpa and grandma’s house. Sometimes when visiting, we would catch my mother tweaking the thermostat to warm the house up a bit. Of course, she’s like me at my workplace – if it’s cold, I just crank it up to 80 thinking that will make things heat up quicker. My dad loooooved that!
A few years ago, my dad put in a geo-thermal system, which is fantastic because the heat is distributed evenly and the house feels warmer– hallelujah! Only twenty years too late!
Funny that now as an adult, I don’t keep my house cozy warm either. I like sleeping under warm blankets and I don’t like a lot of hot air blowing on me. I do want my house nice and toasty, but I also want to conserve like my father did. If you had told me that I would feel that way someday when I was sleeping with my long flannel “scarf” and winter hat to keep myself warm, I would have said that you were crazy! I guess it’s true what they say, “Never say never.”
There are many things my father did – my parents for that matter – that I never thought I would do once I was in charge of my own life. But such is the cycle of life that as we get older, we often realize the brilliance of our parent’s madness.
Posted by Sheri at Wednesday, November 12, 2008