Saturday, December 05, 2009

Going Against My Code

Damn. I've been living in the desert for far too long--the better part of the last twenty years. So even though I'm thick, my blood is thin and I'm a total wuss when it comes to the cold. And while temperatures hovering in the mid-30's may sound like a heat wave for you poor unfortunate souls who live in places like Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Ocanada, we desert dwellers are bundled up in whatever warm clothing we can scrounge up and find ourselves begging the sun to come a little closer whenever we venture out into the elements.

I feel especially susceptible to the cold this year, too. Just walking to the mailbox and back (maybe a quarter mile at the most) makes me feel like I've contracted frostbite on my nose. And sitting in the corner of my sectional couch, I can feel the cold air creeping in from the two windows on that edge of my living room. This apartment is pretty poorly insulated, I've found out. I guess I didn't notice too much in the summer, but now that it's winter, it won't hold warmth at all. Of course, part of the problem has to do with the fact that I chose a unit that didn't have any direct sunlight in the afternoon, just to save on utility bills.

Well, instead of bitching about the heat, now I'm bitching about the cold. And I took it as a point of pride that I haven't turned on the heater in almost five years. It was against my code, I said. I live in the desert--no heater needed. Well, screw that. It's been so cold in my apartment the past couple of days that I changed the name from the Batch Pad to the Igloo.

Until yesterday, that is. I guess I just got tired of whining about being cold, only having two pairs of wool socks, and having to bust out the sleeping bag to lie on the couch and watch TV (those Mexican throw blankets just weren't cutting it). So I did the unthinkable. I turned on the heater here in the apartment. And then I slept like a baby.

Oh, I turned it off again in the afternoon, but around 11:00 or so last night, when it was 31 degrees outside, I cranked it back on. And as I'm typing this, it just kicked on again and my bare feet are quite happy about it.

Now I don't need to take a long hot shower, make a pot of coffee, or leave the oven open once the biscuits are done in order to warm up. I guess I was just being stubborn and I really liked the sound of having an electric bill of less than sixty bucks. Oh, it might go up a little these next couple of months, but I'm much more likely to turn off the heat during the day--I'd never turn off the air conditioner at all during the summer.

It's funny, because twenty years ago, I was living in one of the coldest places on FSM's green earth--Rexburg, Idaho. Seriously, that place was brutal. It's in the middle of the high western desert, sitting at about 5000 feet in altitude. And the wind never stopped blowing. Not only that, it always seemed to be blowing in your face no matter which direction you were walking.

I was there for three years, and I remember in 1988 it snowed for the first time on Labor Day weekend, and the last snowstorm was the second week of JUNE, nine months later. I don't know how Dougie lives up there--I'd go crazy. I guess the people up there are a hearty lot. I'll never forget the morning that it was minus 40-something degrees, minus 70-something with the wind chill, there was about three feet of snow on the ground, and they wouldn't cancel classes. Screw that. Leave the winter wonderland to the elves.

Even worse, when I left Idaho, I ended up in Alaska for awhile. After those experiences, living in the desert sounded like a fine idea to me, and as far as I'm concerned, it has shaped my overriding philosophy to this day: If palm trees don't grow there, Mikey don't go there!

Soon enough, we'll all be complaining about the heat again and wishing summer were over. I mean, why can't it just stay between the mid-fifties at night and the mid-eighties during the day? That would be perfect!

Oh well, I guess the cold serves it's purpose in making it feel like the holidays are upon us, but all of this talk about using the heater just serves to illustrate the one big bummer of my otherwise wonderful apartment.

I don't have a fireplace.


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