Chilly Fingers

So I woke wretchedly at 6 AM.  I say wretchedly because when I wake at six that means I have only managed seven hours sleep; not enough for an aging male.  But I wake and can’t get back to sleep so I go into my closet office.  I check the weather on Yahoo, and it says the temp at 5:58 AM was 34 degrees.  It’s now 620 or so and the temp in my little office must be like 38.

I have this miserable little electric heater that I don’t like to use much because it is a wasteful mother and I wish I hadn’t bought it.  Also the cat has come in and sets to meowing.  I know what she wants.  She wants me to turn on the electric heater.  So I do, but given the narrow confines of my closet office, I end up pointing the heater at her and not at me.  I think about aiming it at me but when I see her so  blissed-out in front of the little heater I just don’t have the heart.  So she gets all warmed up and I don’t.

Neither the cat nor I am used to this cold.  It started last winter and it has come back this winter.  We have had at least three weeks of night time temps falling into the mid thirties, sometimes dropping to 32, sometimes rising to 38.  This is a relatively new thing—for years—afterall we live less than a mile from the ocean which tends to moderate temps—having the time fall into the 30’s was worthy of remark.  Like, oh my, we are going to freeze to death.  Now temps in the 30s have become ordinary.

No big deal…temps in the 30s; what sort of wimp are you?  But I should point out that we live in a Southern California condo.  I might as well be living in a tent.  These places weren’t built for inclement weather.  Especially places, like this one, built back in 1973.  No double paned windows back then; some insulation, I guess, but not much.  Also we don’t have any heat.  Well, we have it but it’s awful.

Back in 1973 the Atomic Energy Commission was pushing nuclear power plants as an unlimited source of electricity.  Consequently—and it must have seemed hip at the time—we have electrical heat by which I mean we have wires behind that plaster stuff on the ceiling.  Electricity goes into these tiny wires, resistance occurs and heat is generated.  The wires must be insulated since so far the roof has not caught on fire.

But maybe that was luck because we have turned on this so-called heat less than six times in the last 15 years.  Mostly because we haven’t needed it.  Now we need it, but don’t use it.  A) Because we are not sure it works anymore.  The last time we tried little heat was generated.  B) Because when it did work the heat produced was very, very dry.  The back of one’s throat became parched and one felt as if one were being slowly baked or broiled alive.

So there I was at 630 AM in the pitched dark, feeling just plain miserable, this being my usual miserable plus being cold misery, which is not just being cold misery but cold that also produces misery in my increasingly arthritic joints.  Also on yahoo I saw the high for the day was going to be 58.  When the sun came up, I saw only slate grey sky.

Carol and I decided something had to be done, so we took a 20% off coupon to Bed, Bath, and Beyond and bought a little electric heater that’s safe and pretty efficient (though I won’t want to see the electricity bill this month).  Now that the place has warmed up a little Carol and I have concluded, by way of contrast, that we have been living in somewhat unnatural state of coldness for at least two months.  We were pretty used to it; but today is/was over the top.

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