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The Staying Warm War


Where once I despised the weekday ritual of waking up because of the ensuing grogginess and bitter feelings of never having enough sleep, I now am afraid to get up in the mornings for fear of the blistering cold. If an arm accidentally pokes out from under the covers, I get a little taste of what the igloo’s brewing and the idea of being fully immersed in that temperature is frightening. After 15 minutes of avoiding getting out of bed, I finally run into the bathroom and turn the space heater on at full blast. I finish my morning bathroom routine and leave myself approximately 3 minutes to get dressed outside of the bathroom, in the unwarmed bedroom. Any longer and hypothermia might result.

When I get home from the day, I sit huddled in front of the same, small space heater. I could move around or think about the upcoming weekend or go on a walk, but the cold has a way of withering away any motivation. So this is why productivity has come to a near halt when I’m at home. Any and all activities revolve around trying to stay warm. There have even been a couple of times, close calls, where I have eyed my Christmas tree and saw not the twinkling lights nor the domestic symbol of holiday cheer that it is, but only a nice warm bonfire.

Aside from the near betrayal of my tree, life has been pretty quiet.

But in the quiet, in the middle of all this, a war is waged. Per customary wars, this one has two sides; I am on one side of it and Alan is on the other. For a month or so, before it got like this, we had been griping about the cold and about how we needed to call PG & E and have them come out to light the pilot light. After weeks passed, it became clear that neither of us was going to call. I don’t really know why we were both so averse to the thought, but we were.

To avoid having to call, I outfitted myself with a new fleece robe and became accustomed to wearing socks around the house. Alan went out and bought a beanie, an extra blanket and set up a new space heater in the living room. Neither of us knew how much longer the war would last, but each of us wanted to be sure to outlast the other.

Eventually I came to see our war had resulted in a stalemate. I was afraid to get up in the mornings and Alan had turned into a wild grizzly man, wearing 10 layers of clothing and mumbling under his breath about nonsensical indoor snow parks. I hated to admit that we really did need to get the heat on, but when I walked to my car this morning, I noticed that the 47 degree air outside welcomed and warmed me. When the icicles melted from my hair, I knew it just wasn’t right for it to be 20 degrees warmer outside than it is inside. Alan has also fallen ill with the beginnings of pneumonia, so taking pity upon him, I called to set up the appointment.

Last modified: January 10, 2019