Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Survival of the Fittest

By Martha Reed

So there I was, sitting at my desk having survived the holidays reasonable intact (both mentally and physically), happy to be back in the groove and working away on finishing Chapter 25 and with my eye actually on finishing the whole damn book by March when I noticed that my fingers were stiff with cold.

Granted, it was an exceptionally chilly day here in Western Pennsylvania at 17 degrees and with a negative wind chill factor and I do live in an 125 year old house than can get a bit drafty but when I checked the radiator next to my knee I found it was stone cold. In Pittsburgh, in January, that is never a good thing.

So I suppressed my anxiety and called my favorite heating company and put my name on their list. That was 4 hours and approximately 16 degrees ago. It has gotten noticeably colder in my house and I’ve preemptively moved into my bedroom on the assumption that with the door closed my body heat will at least keep the temperature above freezing. I tried a cup of hot tea about an hour ago but the tea got cold even before I finished it so I cast around for some alternative solutions and remembered my heating pad (which runs on electricity). I am now very comfortably toasting my … toes while waiting for the repairman to show up.

I will say the temperature is keeping me on track with finishing my weekend writerly chores. I’ve answered every possible email, revised a proposed schedule for a Writers Retreat in March and completed this blog two day ahead of schedule not to mention writing an epic bit of Chapter 25 before putting it away for the day.

It’s amazing what a little enforced seclusion can do!


Annette said...

Oh, Martha, I hope you now have heat! You need to go to the store and buy an electric heater for back-up. Do it NOW!

Martha Reed said...

Thanks, Annette. All is now well. Evidently, there was a 'blow back' through my chimney and the pilot went out. Ahh, the joys of home ownership. The tech showed up at 4PM, pressed a button and accepted a holiday weekend/overtime check for $95 but I have heat! Worth every penny.

Wilfred Bereswill said...

Just before New Year's Eve, it was cold in my office (my day job). Being a relatively new job with new environs, I haven't been in my office in cold weather.

The temp was reading somewhere between 67 - 68, but, since my computer is close to the big windows, my feet and fingers are very cold.

All the little outside distractions make it hard to concentrate. I hope the HVAC Dude showed up with a little warmth. Oh, by the way, it's a balmy 3 degrees farenheit here in St. Louis this morning.

Michele Emrath said...

Sounds miserable but wonderful. How many blankets and sweaters did you have on? Way to work through the pain.


Gina said...

Martha -
Next time the heat goes out, remember to run all your taps so the water in the plumbing doesn't freeze and break the pipes.
It's nice and warm in my house but it's freezing in my office, the down side of having a great view from two windows, I guess. I keep a fleece hoodie there; I'm now wearing pantyhose, a pant suit (slacks and jacket), boots, a sweater, and the hoodie (with the hood up), and I'm still cold. I have to keep putting my hands in my pockets so my fingers don't go numb.

Joyce said...

Right now, I'm sitting beside my nice toasty, wood-burning stove. The best investment we ever made. It's about 80 degrees in our family room. The gas company hates us because our furnace is rarely on!

Wilfred Bereswill said...

And Joyce, who goes out in the frigid cold and brings in the wood to make it nice anc cozy???

My nice gas fireplace does a nice job of heating the family room, but cools the bedrooms.

I invested in a new furnace and air conditioner this fall to replace an aging system and take advantage of the 30% tax credit. It's nice and quiet and hopefully is saving me some cash.

Martha Reed said...

My grandfather always said wood warms you twice: once chopping it and again when it burns. Joyce - I'm so jealous!

Patg said...

A good reason to have a space heater.
Wilfred, you're cold at 67 or 68 degrees? Shockeruskeee.
My thermostate is never set higher than 65.

Joyce said...

Will, since you asked...

Hubby cuts down the trees in the spring and summer, and he splits and stacks the wood in the side yard. (He actually likes playing lumberjack.) We load up the wheelbarrow and bring them in as needed. Yes, I take an occasional turn venturing out into the cold and snow.

If he didn't like collecting the wood, we probably wouldn't burn as much as we do. It would be too expensive. A cord of wood is as much as a month's gas payment and we go through 6 to 8 cords each winter.

Jemi Fraser said...

That's cold! Make sure you run your taps a little so the pipes don't freeze - that makes an incredible mess!