Although the few natives I’ve met ’round here have made it painfully clear that I will forever and always be a YANKEE (said with either a touch of disdain or, alternatively, a healthy dollop of incredulity, as if declaring me to have four extra toes), the time has come to admit that I have become a southerner in one very important respect: I can no longer handle Winter.
The irony here is plentiful, seeing as how my hysterectomy has greatly decreased my tolerance for extreme heat and has me perpetually teetering on the edge of a hot flash. I knew this before I moved to one of the hottest states in the nation, of course. [In fact, I like to bring it up now and then and dangle it in Otto’s face as proof of my undying love for him, that I moved my broken-thermostat-ed self to the fiery pit of hell JUST FOR HIM, but this always backfires because actually, I like it here more than he does and he’d be happy to move back up north (job situation permitting). Then I feel dumb for having started in.]
Anyway. Winter has arrived.
Okay, let me be more precise: Winter is TRYING to arrive, here in Georgia. I mean, yes, last week we had temps in the mid-80s. But this week, the temperature keeps dipping down into the low 40s at night, and that is completely unacceptable for mid-October. It means that despite mid-60s-to-low-70s temps during the day, mornings are dark and chilly and did I mention COLD?
We haven’t even closed our pool yet. You know, because it’s not winter.
[Digression: Remember what happened in the spring with our pool cover having a tear in it? I may have neglected to mention that it was not a “pool cover” so much as a “large tarp.” Which may explain why it wasn’t actually up to the task of keeping an entire swimming pool weatherized for a season. GO FIGURE. And so when all was said and done, there, Otto said, “You know, we need to order a real pool cover for next winter.”
And I said, “Yep, we sure do!” And then I poked around online and discovered that pool covers are made of solid gold, or so the prices would cause one to believe, and then I stuck my fingers in my ears and my toes over my eyes and refused to think about it any further.
We happily continued swimming well into September, until we had a few cooler nights and the pool water dropped to about 65 degrees. I then ate a LOT of chocolate in preparation of the pain of ordering a pool cover, when LO AND BEHOLD we discovered that not only did we need a new cover, but we need a CUSTOM cover because our pool is a non-standard size. Or shape. Or size AND shape. I don’t know. Anyway, the pool is still uncovered despite having stood unused for a month because somewhere, magical faeries are weaving together technologically-advance biomesh, platinum and flaxen strands of hair from vestal virgins into the exact shape of our little
money pit pool.]
I broke out the big fluffy comforters a couple of weeks ago. But it wasn’t until stepping on the tiles of my bathroom floor in the morning actually gave me an instant ice-cream headache that I was ready to admit the truth.
“Otto. It’s COLD in here,” I said, plaintively. (In addition to southern blood, I have apparently picked up on a little bit of helpless-belle attitude.)
“Do you want to turn the heat on?” he responded, ever-logical.
“I don’t know,” I whined. “I mean, it’s only mid-October. Isn’t it supposed to still be warm here? It’s warm in the middle of the day, I guess. I don’t know. What do you think?” I smiled at him, sweetly, my teeth chattering just a touch.
He rolled his eyes. “I think I’ll turn the heat on,” he chuckled. “At least it’ll kick on tonight when the temperature drops.”
He fiddled with the thermostats and I went to bed somewhat relieved.
This morning, I’m pretty sure the little hairs in my nose froze up when I walked into the kitchen. But I’m sort of a wimp, so I tried to ignore it. Then the kids came downstairs and immediately began whining about being cold. I checked the thermometer—it was 62 degrees next to the sink.
“OTTO! I don’t think the heat is on!” He got up and futzed around with the thermostat and crawled under the house, and instead of being grateful I was a little annoyed, because that meant I had to drive the kids to school (which meant I had to both get dressed and go outside, where it was even colder).
After dropping the kids I came home and the house smelled like… something was burning. “Ummm, you turned the heat on? What’s that SMELL?”
We had a discussion of the possibilities—because that’s what logical people whose house might be burning down around them or who might be breathing toxic chemicals do—and Otto headed back under the house to have a look. He couldn’t find anything amiss, so one call to the heating and cooling place later, we shut the heat off again and have someone coming out to take a look this afternoon.
In the meantime, I would just like it noted for the record that it’s very, very hard to type with frozen fingers. And all of you northerners need to stop laughing at me, because I can’t help that what I once considered short-sleeve weather now calls for flannel pajamas, a fleece bathrobe, and my shearling slippers. And a hot cup of tea. And a hat. I SAID STOP LAUGHING.
Maybe I should go for a swim in the pool, to warm up…?