By T. Daniel Lancaster
My children are growing up in a warm and loving home — well maybe not so warm.
It is now the Fall, and when the frost is on the pumpkin, it means that my little nippers may want to grab an extra pair of socks.
Why? ‘tis the season for me to play a little game I like to call, “see how long I can go without turning on the furnace.”
Although my toes may turn blue, there is still plenty of green in my wallet when I finally breakout and set the thermostat to a balmy 56, but that is not the whole story.
Simply put, I like it cool, south of 60 degrees year round.
In the Summer I find the one spot in the basement where if I sit directly under the vent, keep my body within 32 inches of the floor, and position three fans blowing away from me in different directions, I can keep a cool zone of about 63.7 degrees around me from April 15 to Oct. 1st. So how do I know it is 63.7 degrees? Because of the electric meat thermometer I wave around house like Mr. Spock searching for dilithium with his tricorder. “Captain, it is not logical but part of the playroom is 3.2 degrees warmer than the den, making it inhabitable for humanoid life,” Spock would say.
You might say, “But Todd, isn’t it expensive to be running the air conditioner until beer requests to be moved out of the refrigerator to a cooler spot on the floor of my basement?”
The answer is 'Yes', and that's all the more reason more to save every cent I can during the winter.
The insanity always starts the same way.
A beautiful cool breeze blows in from the north and people say, “it feels like football weather.” It is at that point my wife and kids know that the only words they want to hear for the next six months is “Indian Summer.”
I like to call it “sleeping weather” and it is more than just the time to pull that warm down comforter up over the chin. It is a time when one is forced to make character building choices. Should you wait until your spouse is asleep and then carefully remove the comforter giving you alone, full access to all its warm goodness or simply share it, leaving ones derriere exposed to the elements? The answer to this could very well determine the long-term success of the marriage.
During my quest for cool, there are plenty of other benefits to living in a frozen wonderland. One gets to wear all those great sweaters and sweatshirts ALL THE TIME. Hey you didn’t pay $64 for that college hoodie to just wear it to a cold tailgate. Now you can tailgate in your living room AND get the benefit of the grill warming up the den.
The downside is my wife spends three months wrapped in a Snuggie, saying “feel my nose, it is cold and wet like a Labrador retriever.” I then remind her that labs love to frolic in the snow and rarely ever complain about my aim in the bathroom. She could learn a lot from a Lab.
However, I’m not an unreasonable person. We do have a small space heater in the bathroom. Although I sometimes find my family huddled around it, bundled up like members of the Donner Party, trying to decided which one of then would be best marinaded in Mr. Stubbs honey mustard sauce, it does a decent job of keeping anyone from having to break through a layer of ice on the commode.
This really shouldn’t be that big a deal, after all, Abe Lincoln was a Southern Indiana boy and he didn’t have heat in his home — and yet not only was a top-notch president, we recently found out he was also a world-class vampire hunter. I would say with the exception of the bouts of melancholy, the Civil War and that unfortunate Ford’s Theater thing, he did just fine for himself growing up with cold bathroom.
So the AC is going off and the next time I hope to hear any rumbling from that part of the basement should be about the time a jolly fat man will be stumbling around the Christmas tree after enjoying a little too much “Christmas Cheer” — and about the time Santa should arrive too.
Todd is an award winning columnist, but only able to write when his fingers have thawed out. You can now check him out on Twitter at @blasterdog.