Fire And Ice


I tried.  Seriously, I tried.

At first, when autumn seemed so balmy, so not prelude-to-winter sort of thing, I was good.  Jeff didn’t notice that the thermostat was set at 61F/16C because it still felt comfortable inside.  He was happy, I was happy, and best of all, I was sleeping well because the bedroom wasn’t warm.  And then came a cold snap and with that, constant inspection of what the current temperature in the house was.

We’re heated with forced hot water and, if I have to live with central heating, this is the best kind.  It’s efficient and it’s better for an aging complexion, certainly not as drying of air (and fragile skin) as forced hot air.  This house is about a thousand years old and so is the furnace, so the pipes make the damnedest noises when the water is first pushing up from the basement.  It’s actually sort of fun, if a little Munsters-meet-Joe-the-Plumber.

Home alone, I keep the house cool-ish.  I don’t like being hot, and I don’t like paying for the privilege of being hot.  When Jeff’s home, the house is warm to hell-ish.  He likes being hot, and we have equalized billed to help spread out the joy of being hot.  And when winter begin in this new-to-us home, Jeff asked me to  please, please try to live with an overnight temperature of 65F/18C.  At first, he wanted it to be even warmer than that  but he backed off from that once I stopped crying.

So for two weeks, the house was warm – to me – at night.  Jeff is still sleeping under a flannel sheet and a fluffy warm duvet, with his feet covered by a Hudson Bay Blanket, and he’s trying to use me as a third blanket.  The problem with that is that I’m lying ON TOP of the blanket, the duvet and most of the flannel sheet so my personal BTUs aren’t getting through to him as well as he would like.  I’m on top of all these covers because I’m hot.  I mean, really hot.  Not in a menopausal way but in a completely normal – to me – way.  I simply run hot and have all my life.  And when I say I cannot sleep in a warm room, I mean I cannot sleep in a warm room!

Oh, I may fall asleep, uneasily, but I wake up.  Frequently.  Usually with a sheen of fine sweat and a headache.  For the two, three weeks leading up to and through the holiday period, I might have gotten two hours of sleep at a stretch each night, and gave up trying to sleep after 6 or so hours in bed.  I would catch up on sleep in the afternoons, when Jeff was at work, by napping in a very cool house.  I look forward to autumn and winter after a long, hot, sweaty, sleepless summer because I will be sleeping!  I will be sleeping in a cool, dark room without fear of sweat and headaches!  Only, but not at the start of this winter, things were a little different.

Until I got a little pissed at NOT sleeping for another, different, season.  So I turned down the thermostat a few nights ago before I went to bed.  Bliss!  Joy!  Sleep, glorious sleep!!!  I even slept under the flannel sheet – just not the duvet or blanket.  It was wonderful, and because I was up first & could adjust the thermostat again, it was foolproof!  Only, after a few nights of this, Jeff woke up before I did and wandered out to the living room to see why he felt so cold.

There is nothing lovelier than waking up to a discussion about the perfidy of a wife’s actions leading to the freezing to death in a man’s own bed.

We’ve agreed to an uneasy truce: The thermostat goes down just before bedtime and comes up whenever Jeff is at home.  And Jeff is now sleeping with a brick. Really.  A brick, that he heats up for 20 minutes or so, then wraps in newspaper and takes to bed (leaving it at the foot of the bed, on his side).  He also sleeps with the HBC blanket pulled all the way up around his neck.  And he’s still trying to suck every available BTU out of me.  It’s so romantic….

Of course, in the summer, when the room is  hot enough for him (because we don’t have a/c) and my body temperature is the equivalent of the sun’s surface, I’m banished.  Not just to the far side of the bed… He suggests I might be more comfortable in Yellowknife.

“… for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in winter’s cool and summer’s heat….”

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4 thoughts on “Fire And Ice

  1. My oldest friend’s Dad once told me the story of why he and his wife slept in separate rooms. I had gone over early to pick her up for something and her Dad was having breakfast. I had a coffee while he had breakfast. Then he popped it out! Do you know why my wife and I have separate rooms. The story is more or less like yours except that one night she got up because she was hot — she went and took a shower. Went back to bed. Still hot, she took off her nightgown. Still hot, and wet again from another shower, she opened the window (it was several degrees below zero in the heart of winter) — there she was — naked, wet, window open and what does she do? She turned on a fan!!!! That was the last night they slept in the same room ……. 🙂

  2. That’s a funny story! Although it’s a little weird he shared it with you…

    During the summer I quite often wake up/get up and shower in the middle of the night. And I never sleep with anything on in the summer and rarely in the winter – colds & flu excepting.

    Honestly, if I had my druthers, I’d sleep in a walk-in cooler year round.

  3. i know your ‘pain’…. we sleep with the thermostat set at 18C and the window cracked…even if it’s -30C!
    My special line is this: you can put a sweater/sweats/socks/extra blanket on. I cannot take my hormones off!
    Best purchase this year with the gift certificate Darling Husband gave me is a silk filled duvet. Nearly weightless AND cool enough for me, warm enough for him…. even better is that it was on sale, as was the duvet cover….
    bliss!!!

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