My blood is southern

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…?


  1. Naomi in OHIO

    Oh Mir … I USED to live in Georgia and would do the same thing … start freezing in October.

    That was, until we moved to OHIO … where now that our blood has acclimated, we don’t bring out the parkas until … shoot – at least December … cuz we still have snow in APRIL!

  2. Manda

    I had to scrape frost off my windows this morning. That sucked. And it was cold.

  3. Megan

    You forgot the fingerless gloves. Because fingerless gloves totally finish the perfect picture of the sad, freezing artist in her garret. Well, except for the Mac which is a little anachronistic…

  4. Leandra

    Well, the weather here is just screwing with us. There was no in-between. It went from 80 one week to FUH-reezing the next.

    Oh, and I do not even think of you as a Yankee anymore. You’ve completely assimilated, I think.

  5. lmerie

    It was 44 this morning in the Southern part of Georgia . . . and you are right – it seems quite chilly! I blame the difference (lived in colorado when young)on the humidity. It goes straight to your bones! And if you don’t keep the feet warm you are toast – well, I mean, ice cube!

  6. divrchk

    Heat always smells the first time that you turn it on for the winter. Also, I have found that it is worth every penny to have a contract with an HVAC company come service your equipment spring and fall and come whenever something is not working. We’ve saved thousands by using our contract.

  7. Half Assed Kitchen

    Oh, Brrr. Breathing frost down there in the Georgia. :)

  8. Mama Bear

    There will be no whining from those of you not living in ND where we have had 7 inches of SNOW already. Do you hear me? 7 inches… in October. Why oh why do I live here?

  9. Randi

    HEY HEY HEY! It’s currently 43 outside in Northern VT right now with tons of rain and a warning about that icky white stuff tomorrow. NO WHINING.

  10. Kirsten

    I feel for you. We’ve been staying in the high 40’s to low 50’s during the day, and then high 30’s to low 40’s at night. Yesterday we ran out of heating oil. It’s supposed to be delivered today (goodbye $450 for 100 gallons dammit) but right now I’m freezing!

  11. Summer

    Girl, I’m not laughing. The same cool front has hit Florida, too, sending temps down to the mid 70s/low 80s during the day, low 60s at night. My son stood at the bus stop this morning with his sweatshirt zipped to the neck and the hood over his head, and no one laughed at him, either.

  12. elizabeth

    I’ve been down here going on 20 years and I’m still considered a yankee. But that may be due to the fact I try very hard not to say things like “y’all.” Either that or I’m just more of the stereotypical cranky northerner. Still, I have acclimated and we kicked the heat on last night. It was 65 in the bathroom yesterday morning and nobody wants to get naked in that, much less get wet.

  13. Denise

    Welcome south Mir! Even with the crazy temps, this is my favorite time of year in Georgia. Good luck w/the pool cover!

  14. Lucinda

    The same can be said about rain. I moved to New Mexico from Oregon for a year in college. When I came back, I was cold for the entire first year because that rain seeps into your bones and makes you COLD. Everyone laughed at me too. So I feel your pain. It doesn’t take long to adjust to a different climate.

  15. Aimee

    Heh. I feel you. I’m the same way here in San Diego — I have become such a cold weather wimp.

  16. Colleen

    I hate to tell you this Mir, but even with your fancy new cover (that I assume is a safety cover based on your description) but your pool will probably still be green in the spring. If you got a solid one (or a solid with a mesh center patch for drainage) it might not be as bad as last year, but I don’t want you to be surprised when you pull that cover. Always open the pool 2 weeks before you’ll be ready to use it. My husband’s a pool guy down here. I know these things. That said, safety covers are totally worth the money over the tarp covers.

    And you’re right, I live in Gwinnett and it has been cold the past few nights. I turned on the heat yesterday morning and this morning. But it sure does make snuggling up in the bed nice.

  17. Jenny

    Yeah, our heat always smells burny and scary the first couple of times we use it in a season — it’s burning the dust off the coils or something? I don’t know. I’m just excited because I broke out the hot water bottle this week. Squeee! 42 degrees at night means cold sheets and a hot water bottle for the tootsies! It does *not*, however, make taking the Beast out for his morning run any more fun than it already isn’t.

  18. Katie

    I’m in Los Angeles, and I am ready to break out my winter sweaters, and I think the coldest has been in the low 60s. I totally understand you Mir. Break out the hot chocolate!

  19. getsheila

    40 degree nights. Dark, cold mornings. No one should have to get up before the sun unless they milk cows for a living.

    Here, have some chocolate. Or perhaps some bacon salt.

    Warm, warm wishes,


  20. loonytick

    I’m in Tennessee, so I’m getting the same weather systems, and I think the thing is that it dropped so darn fast. A month or two from now these temps won’t feel so cold. But for now…BRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. ImpostorMom

    We turned our heat on this week too and I broke out my fuzzy slippers just last night. The husband still thinks I’m overdressing the boy for bed though. Wanted to put him down in short sleeves last night. Which might be fine if you know he used a blanket but he doesn’t. This still isn’t winter though, just fall. And I LOVE it!

  22. Deb

    Sounds the same here in NJ, 80 degrees last week, yesterday morning it was 32!! How does that happen? I miss my summer!!!!

  23. Jenn

    I am from the frozen north* and fall has hit here with a vengeance. I really like the crisp air in the mornings and cracking the film of ice that has formed on the puddles on the way to the bus stop in the mornings… but waking up to a cold house and forcing ones self out of the nice warm covers… there is no excuse for nature being that cruel.

    *yes, life still exists north of North Dakota. I have no idea why the settlers stayed (except for the whole “government gave away free land because they wanted a population” thing) but we do not too bad with central heating, heated vehicular transport and really really big parkas.

  24. Lisa

    I moved to South Dakota from Alabama 6 years ago. I firmly believe that 40 in the South is much colder than 40 here because of the humidity. It’s just that it rarely gets into the negatives in the South like it does here, so it’s colder here. A line-by-line comparison though, would make the South colder!

  25. Diane

    I’m trying to hold out on the heat until Nov. 1, but the highs this week are supposed to be in the low to mid fifties, with tonight’s low in the upper 30’s. It’s overcast, so there’s no sunlight to warm the house during the day.

    Still, I love this time of year – I love that crisp, cold air in the morning (yes, I’m a weird yankee)

  26. The Other Leanne

    I think Mama Bear wins.
    It’s been chilly here in the Upper Left Corner — I had to scrape the frost off the car windows last week — but the upside is that we are having a gorgeous burst of color on the trees!

  27. Shelley

    I live in central Kentucky and I had frost on my windshield yesterday morning. Our furnace smelled the same way when we turned our heat on for the first time. I suspect all is well with yours too, but it doesn’t hurt to get it checked!

  28. coolteamblt

    I live in Colorado. This is my first winter in three years living in the Denver metro area instead of the Rocky Mountains (my husband and I worked in Vail and Beaver Creek for awhile, then came back to our senses and moved back to civilization, where we can afford both housing *and* food!). I’m currently celebrating the fact there’s no snow down here yet. We haven’t even busted out long sleeved shirts yet, despite the fact the temperature drops to 30 or so at night right now. My old neighborhood currently has two feet of snow, and they’ve had to close the pass a couple of times due to white outs. I’m dancing over here!

    I couldn’t ever live in the South, I’m afraid. I spent one March in Picayune, Mississippi with my grandmother. It was 90 degrees and 95 percent humidity. My hair never dried because I would get out of the shower, then start sweating. Nasty! Given my druthers, I’d go back to nine months of snow before I’d go south of the Mason-Dixon Line again.

  29. hollygee

    In Northern California it has been been getting down to low 50s at night. Our thermostat is set for 62 and that sounds too cold for most of you. Maybe it is your humidity, as our cool is dry.

  30. Deborah P

    I thought the same thing this weekend – it’s mid-October! Too early to turn the heat on. But by Sunday night I was tired of being chilly all day and all night if I wasn’t rushing around (my house tends to be cool even in summer because of all the trees) and turned it on anyway. Definitely worth it.

  31. Katie

    And here I was just looking at our weather forecast and thinking that the highs in the mid 60’s were warm! Although I do admit at being quite cranky when standing outside in the dark at 7:30am for the school bus when it’s 32 degrees out.

  32. Karen

    I feel your pain! A while back we moved to the Phoenix area. There were probably two cold days a year and two weeks when you ran your furnace at night. I completely adjusted to this warm weather, blood thinned out and everything. Then, a new job offer landed us in Northern Utah almost 2 years ago. Can you believe we have already seen snow? I’m freezing!

  33. Flea

    You and I are acclimating in different directions to similar climes. I moved from Florida nearly two years ago to Tulsa. Starting tomorrow it will drop into the 30’s at night and be COLD. And I’m so looking forward to it!!! I’ll get out the feather comforter and EVERYTHING!!! Just hoping for some snow this year. :)

  34. Sara

    Too funny! Here in wonderful CO the weather changes as fast as my moods do! LOL! I go into Target it’s a nice warm 80 degree afternoon and I come out of Target 45 min later (keep in mind the whole shopping trip involves carrying a 4 month old in a sling and keeping 5&6 year old boys entertained, focused, and not complaining, whining, and asking for EVERYTHING but i guess you know how it goes!) so now leaving target after buying way too much as always I come out of the store and it’s now 50 degrees raining slightly and the wind is blowing like CRAZY!!! This has happened to me SO many times it’s not even funny!! So there we are in shorts and tank tops, sandles and FREEZING! It’s a mad dash to the car **while watching for cars and not actually running because, remember, baby in the sling** YEAH! Are we having fun yet!?!?! LOL! I guess life is truly an adventure eh?!

  35. tara

    I’m in Wisconsin and we still didn’t turn our heat on. I can handle 40’s at night, but not looking forward to 40 below with a wind chill.

  36. Rachel

    The burning smell is either the dust mites burning in the ducts or the dust burning off the coils… yeah for winter! Born & raised in Northern MN, moved to Northeastern ND 20 years ago & still not ready for the snow they’re predicting tonight. PTL I don’t live in the same part of ND as MamaBear, 7 inches already? That’s just crazy! = )

  37. tj

    I just moved from California to Vancouver – Canada. I must admit that moving right before the cold was not our brightest idea :)

  38. Holly

    Californians feel your pain! Low seventies require a sweatshirt and jeans! However, I’m excited about the cold weather, I love it!

  39. Em

    Believe it or not, I’m planning to finally turn the heat on tomorrow. Not that I haven’t needed it (I’m in Boston) but oil is kind ‘spensive and I expect that I should be conserving it for when there is actual snow on the ground. I mentioned the fact about not having turned the heat on to my son’s teacher during what I thought was an innocuous discussion about the weather. I may or may not be under investigation by DSS, depending on when she stopped gaping and started dialing. I’m glad I didn’t mention that until last night, I had my own bedroom windows cracked. Not without some chattering teeth but you must admit, the air is fresh ;-)

  40. bob

    oh, it isn’t just the yankees that are laughing at you. er, with you. until today I was walking the dog (at 5:30 AM, thank you) in shorts.

  41. Andrea

    That smell you noticed is “hot.” A few fellow moms and I were in a hotel room and one of them couldn’t sleep. She turned on the heater for some white noise. After it fired up, I exclaimed “It smells like HOT!” To this day she teases me about it. I, however, think it’s an established smell. :)

  42. dgm

    Orange County represents! I hear you, Mir. It’s been in the low ’70s during the day, and this morning when I got in my car at o’dark thirty it was 61. I had to turn on the seat warmers. BRRRRRR!

    Fortunately, the forecast for the next few days calls for highs in the upper 70s & 80s.

  43. Linda

    And here in Maine I felt bad for actually turning the heat on for a few minutes because it was 29 degrees :). I’m from Louisiana and this is the time of year our friends and family call us to “gloat” about the weather. Of course we return the favor in the summer.

  44. StephLove

    It got cold all of a sudden on Friday here in Maryland. One day I sent the kids to school in short sleeves and the next day they were bundled up in long sleeves and jackets.

    We haven’t turned our heat on yet. Partner wants to hold out until November. It’s currently 60.3 degrees in the house. Yesterday it never topped 59.5, so I guess I should be grateful. Counting the days until November…

  45. TC

    Heat always smells like that the first few times you turn it on…or at least our little floor-based heater does. Just open the windows when it warms up during the day, and once all the dust and such burns off, it’ll stop.

  46. ccr in MA

    My mother and I discussed this topic recently. If I say Fall is here, it means it’s getting close to freezing at night. If she says Fall is here, it means it only gets up to 80, not 90, during the day. My Fall means closing the windows, while hers means opening them. Ahh, Massachusetts versus Florida.

  47. MomCat

    Did y’all read that article yesterday about the earth entering a thirty year period of global cooling? The thought almost makes me hope Al deserves his Nobel Peace Prize. (I did say almost)

  48. tuney

    I’ve slept with my windows open the last week down here in south GA. LURVES me some chilly fall weather! The only thing I hate about the cold is the icy time-wasting windshield of dark thirty.

    Yesterday morning I walked into my classroom to find the air blasting away… the outside temp was 45, and I was in short sleeves. I did turn the air off, though, and the kids told me later some of their other profs said that the college’s official stand is “no heat in the buildings until January, unless it gets freaky cold for more than a few days.” OK, maybe they didn’t say “freaky,” but they do seriously need help redefining their energy-saving policies.

  49. Susan

    I turned our heat on for the first time this morning, too. I’m not happy about it either.

  50. Tammy

    My, we all certainly have a lot to say about cold weather now don’t we? I’m just here to affirm what other posters have said…that burning smell is from the dust on the coils of your furnace and/or in your vents. Pretty normal but it’s a good idea to have the HVAC guys check in out. I can’t imagine the blog posts and TRAUMA that would happen if you discovered that you’d accidentally burned up an imaginary floor-cleaner-spilling animal hiding in your duct work.

  51. Sue @ My Party of 6

    My husband gave me a hard time for turning on the heat yesterday morning. He felt bad when he got in his car and realized it was only 37 degrees! That stinks about the pool cover.

  52. Kendra

    Up here in Canada my husband and I always try to wait longer and longer each year to turn on the heat let’s just say more baking gets done and the heat won’t get turned on for a few more weeks yet. Yes the temperature dips below freezing here. So yes definately laughing right now.

  53. carrien

    I pulled out the down this month, for the cooler October evenings here in SoCal. This is middle of summer weather almost up in Canada, and I”m pulling on sweaters now after being here 3 years.:)

  54. AnotherJenn

    We reluctantly turned the heat on this week (same burnt smell) and got out the wool blankets. Here in KY it somehow straggles up to 60ish by mid-afternoon but it’s pretty cold in the mornings. And as a native MN, I’m freezing! Plus our house is pretty much a sieve. No insulation in the walls. I have no worries about adequate ventilation here.

    We’re moving back north any day now and I’m just dreading the thought of a northern winter. I’m really going to miss the southern snow day where the frost that made them cancel school has melted off by 10am.

    Whomever mentioned humidity is absolutely right. It’s a damp cold down here that gets into your bones. We’re still getting a lot of water out of the dehumidifier.

  55. Brandy

    We’re determined not to turn on the heat yet and we’re in SC. So far the sun is doing a good job of warming the house during the day, but when the days become shorter and shorter we’ll have to cave and use the heat. Especially since the kids complain about having to wear sweaters! *G* (And my Mom was from MA and lived here over 30 years, she was still referred to as a Yankee.)

  56. Neil

    Your blood may be southern, but only a yankee wears shearling slippers.

  57. tori

    I could knit you some fingerless mitten things so you could type AND keep warm. I mean I guess getting the heat working is the best plan, but as a back up let me know.

  58. Katherine

    We’re not too far from you Mir, but we haven’t caved on the heat yet. DH looked at the thermostat when he came home yesterday, but put on a sweatshirt instead of turning on the heat. The kids, however, are just fine in long sleeves. My 12 yo went out to wait for the bus yesterday in 41 degrees with just a long sleeve shirt (well, and pants too). I’ve got some windows open right now to help warm up the house. It’s supposed to not be so cold at night the next few days, so I’m hoping to hold out until Nov on the heat, but the flannel sheets went on the bed yesterday. so nice.

  59. Kelly

    I’m there with you! We had to turn on our heater too – for the baby is the reason I’m using. ;) It isn’t for me of course. Don’t worry, its Georgia, it’ll suddenly be 80 again when we least expect it.

  60. Jillian

    I also think the cold is more cruel than kind. I get so congested!

  61. Ceramom

    I’m sorry. I’m laughing. It’s already down to -7* celcius here at night and we’re barely staving off the snow… and havent’ broken out the winter gear yet. Though that might be because I haven’t FOUND it yet…

  62. Lori

    Geez woman, when it hits 65 up here, we strip down to shorts and flip flops. I’m trying to muster up some sympathy but all the talk about swimming in your pool in September does take the wind out of it.

  63. Heather

    No sympathy from me…I’m canadian ;)

  64. sheila

    You poor girl, swimming in September. Awwww. LOL. We live in a suburb of Cleveland. It’s getting cold at night here too. In the low thirties, which I think may be alittle too soon (Oct), although I found pics of it snowing 5 inches a couple Halloweens ago. (Must put that out of my mind)

    The ‘smell’ is most likely your furnace. We have the same problem when we crank ours up every heating season. Smells like shit for a couple days, but it’ll go away. Make sure to change your filter that’ll help get that air circulating properly. Happy Winter! (ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhh)

  65. Heather Cook

    I’m not laughing! I’m hating on you because I had to SCRAPE MY WINDSHIELD this morning. Like the-other-heather, I’m also Canadians. Good thing us Canadian Heathers are tough.

  66. Brigitte

    I guess with the 30 degree nights we should get around to turning on our heat. Which also smells burnt when we put it on every year, I think it’s the secret dust accumulations in the radiators. Hopefully that’s all it is for you guys!

  67. Laura

    And here we’re thinking about moving to mid-coast Maine. Colorado doesn’t exactly lack a winter, but here in Boulder the snow rarely stays on the ground for more than a few days.
    I wonder how long it would take us to acclimate?

    Maybe if I tell my husband that they hand out shearling slippers when you cross the state line, he’ll make up his mind to move. He does love slippers!

  68. Jennifer Suarez

    We bought a ultra-loc, loop-loc cover (the one an elephant can stand on) for our pool 2 years ago and we LOVE IT. The price hurt yes, but when you have kids, it’s worth it in terms of safety.

    And for the record, it SNOWED here today, so I have no sympathy for your winter woes ;-)

  69. Alison

    If you think it is cold now in our area of North Georgia, take a look at Friday’s forecast. May I just say, Yuck! Cold and raining, as if cold were not enough. For those of you talking about 7 inches of snow, the last time we had that much in 1993, everything shut down for weeks. We just are not equipped for the frozen stuff here because we almost never get it.

  70. Katie in MA

    We are having the same weather over here in TX. I don’t care if it stays warm, I don’t care if it turns cold. I just wish it would pick one season and GO WITH IT for the love of all that’s good and holy! so I can dress my children in one outfit and not worry that they are roasting or freezing by the end of the day at daycare. Schizophrenic weather with 20 degree mood swings in one day is killing me.

  71. Linda Sherwood

    I live in northern lower Michigan, and I didn’t have to scrape my window this morning but only because I turned on my car and wasted gas for 15 minutes to let my car warm up. But, when I arrived at work roughly an hour later, my car’s hood STILL had frost on it.

    The good news is that later in the day, when I was getting all bundled up to go back out into the freezing cold, it was actually pretty warm out, and I no longer needed my coat. It was at least 60 and sunny. ;-)

  72. Kris

    We had snow yesterday. It didn’t stick, but still…snow! (And yes, I caved and turned on the heat after I woke up to a house that was 55 degrees!)

    Mother Nature can kiss my dupa.

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