Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Heat IS On

It finally turned cool here in Southern AZ just before Thanksgiving, cool being in the upper 60's/lower 70's and sunny. It's the perfect weather, in my humble opinion, but it was short lived. The past two days have been cold, cloudy, and downright gloomy. They've been the kind of days where all you want to do is lay in bed and pull the covers over your head, which is pretty much all I did yesterday, minus the bed and the covers. I napped in the chair. This morning reminds me of an Illinois fall day: crisp, cloudy, and windy. The thermometer on the patio shows me that it's a brisk 49°. In Tucson. That just ain't right.

Given the change in weather, we finally turned the heat on last week, especially with overnight temps flirting with the freezing point. Since we moved here, Diane's blood has thinned and she has gone all Southern AZ on me. When temperatures dive below 75°, she dons sweaters, turtlenecks, ponchos, anything to keep her warm. Now that the temps are in the 50's and 40's, there's an ongoing debate about climate levels inside our humble abode. You'd think that because of the way I was raised, I'd have no problem with maintaining a tropical climate within the house during the winter. But I do, and I have absolutely no idea why.

Growing up, my brother and I would engage my Mom in a constant epic battle over the thermostat. The most heated battles took place during the summertime when my Mom insisted that the air conditioning be set at 88°. "What's the point! We're dying in here!" we'd plead. The point was that I had a single mom trying to raise two boys on a teacher's salary, and we could either eat and have enough money left over to do the things we wanted to do, or we could pay the electric bill. But not both. At 88°, much of the humidity, which is brutal in the Midwest during the summertime, was removed from the house and made things a little more bearable. Barely. My brother and I made frequent trips outside just to remind our bodies of the difference in heat and humidity, then go back inside to convince ourselves that even though it was 88°, it was still cooler than the muggy heat outside.

In the wintertime, the thermostat was set around 69°. I don't remember us complaining so much about that. All of us would just bundle up. We'd throw on extra sweatshirts and wear slippers around the house and shock the hell out of ourselves and each other every time we'd touch something or someone. And each of us had these plaid blanket-thingies with snaps that you could snap up into a sort of floor-length gown with arm holes and everything. They kept us warm, but I'm sure we looked like a misfit, plaid-frock clad order of monks. All we needed was a chant: Do-mi-ne, Lord we pray, keep us toa-sty.

Now I'm all growed up and the master of my climatic domain. While I've totally chucked the notion of sweating my ass off in the summer, for some reason I've embraced freezing it off during the winter. And I still have my snappy blanket tucked away somewhere in the closet, though I haven't used it for nearly 20 years. Perhaps it's nostalgia. Perhaps I'm a lunatic. Perhaps it's a combination of both, but I like keeping it cool inside during the winter. I have compromised a little though. Last night as I was getting the girls' pajamas out, a shivering Diane peeked in the doorway and asked, "Honey, is the heat on?"

"Yes, the heat IS on," I confirmed. "It's a balmy 72° in here."

And if you don't like it, there's a red and black plaid snappy blanket in the hall closet with your name on it.

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