Talking About Temperature

Almost 30 below
Note the temperature on the thermometer: almost 30 below zero. This is an old photo — it hasn’t been THAT cold here recently.

“Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”

That quote is usually attributed to Mark Twain, but maybe it shouldn’t be.  I found an interesting post about that here.

I’m as guilty of pointless weather-talk as the next person — except that in the winter, I complain when it’s not wintry. Why object when the weather acts appropriately for the season? Of course, I complain when it’s hot in the summer, which I suppose is the same thing.

But I’m not here to complain about any sort of weather in this post. I’m merely going to talk about temperature.

Bitter cold is hard on everyone and everything. Yes, I love cold weather, but I confess, once it gets below 10 degrees Fahrenheit, it starts to get uncomfortable. Below zero, it gets serious. And negative 30? Been there, done that, and once is enough for me. In the winter, my favorite temperature is between 10 and 20. If it never went above 25 from December through February, I’d be delighted.

Of course it’s easy for me to say that, having a nice tight little house with good windows, solid walls, a sound roof, and a new furnace—and enough of an income to pay the utility bills. And I’m thankful the bills are low compared to what they were in the last house we lived in. I do have compassion for those who don’t have a warm place to retreat in weather like this. But that doesn’t keep me from enjoying the pleasure of a good piece of brisk weather.

Playing in the snow 12.27.12
Grandkids playing in the snow three Christmases ago.

This past weekend was cold and crisp. We had a little snow, a lot of wind, and below-zero temps. I didn’t hear many people remarking that they liked it, so I kept quiet about it. Mostly.

Sunday morning, I arrived at the church early, as usual, to print the bulletins and get some other last-minute things done in the office before the service. As I opened the door to the office, I was met with a blast of wintry air. The heat in the office wasn’t working. At all. There are two old hot-water radiators there, and both were icy, and the thermostat on the wall was bottomed out at something below 50 degrees.

I left the door open to let a little heat in from the hallway and left my coat on as I went about my business. But computers, printers, and copy machines don’t like those temperatures, and they all gave me a hard time about having to work in those conditions.

By the time I got everything done, my feet were frozen chunks of meat despite my winter boots, but the problem with the boiler was found and solved. (It was an easy fix, but I won’t bore you with an explanation.) No pipes had frozen, and all was well in the world (though still frigid outside).

After I got home, I felt cold in the house. I thought it odd, because I’d warmed up during the church service, so I didn’t think I was still chilled from the morning. But I figured it was just because it was so cold and windy out – and I’m at the age when my inner thermostat is a bit off-balance anyway.

Yes, we keep it at 68, but it gets up to 69 before the furnace shuts off.
Yes, we keep it at 68, but it gets up to 69 before the furnace shuts off.

Before going to bed, we turn down the thermostat from 68 to 65, because we like it a little cooler when we sleep. Then, whoever gets up first turns it back to 68. When I do this, I don’t usually look at it. I know I need to press the top button four times: the first time shows the current setting, and after that, it changes the setting up one degree for each press of the button. So I usually stumble first to the coffee pot to turn it on, then to the thermostat, all without turning on a light. Sometimes, without even opening my eyes.

Monday morning was just as cold as Sunday, and once again, I felt a little chilly in the house. Late in the day, I got tired of it and put on an extra layer of clothes, but I still didn’t think too much about it.

Until bedtime. Here’s my conversation with Craig, upon going to turn the thermostat down to 65:

“You turned down the heat already?”

“No, I didn’t touch it.”

“But it says it’s 64 degrees in here, and it’s set for 65.”

“What? Didn’t you turn it up this morning?”

“Yes, I distinctly remember doing it. I didn’t turn on the light, but I pushed this button four times.”

We discussed it a little further until we figured out what had happened. Two nights ago, we’d both turned the heat down. Without looking at it. I went to bed first, and turned it down to 65. Then when Craig went to bed a little later, he turned it down three more degrees.

So when I got up and turned it up three degrees, I was setting it for only 65.

Then that night, we’d turned it down three degrees as usual—so the next morning, when I pushed that little button without looking at it, I didn’t realize I was only moving it back up to 65.snowman

Perhaps we should look at what we’re doing. (What a thought!)

Anyway, now we’re wondering if we shouldn’t keep the temperature that low all the time. We survived it for two days, after all…


(Except for the shot of the thermostat, all photos were taken in years past at our house in New Philadelphia, Ohio.)

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2 thoughts on “Talking About Temperature

  1. I’d smother and witty if out heater got up to 68! We keep ours no higher than 64 during the day in winter. Sometimes, we gorget to raise it form the overnight 62. We’ve gotten so used to it, and it sure saves on the power bill. I just wear a sweater. In the summer the air conditioner sits at 76-78 during the day and 74 at night. Any lower, and I freeze and get sinusitis. 🙂

  2. Ane, you make me laugh. “Smother and witty?” Did you type this on a cell phone? It’s a hoot!

    In the summer, we keep our a/c at about 78 as well and use ceiling fans at night. Why make the electric bill any higher than it needs to be?

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