Old married couples have their "normal" (to them) back-and-forths that go something like what Abby and I have. For instance:
|Billy Ocean is dressed appropriately for my first floor.|
A: Get into my car. (You can guess the rest.)
Similarly, and on the same '80s pop vein, there's this gem:
A: That's cold (or) I'm cold (or anything else ending with the word "cold")
G: So's your heart.
A+G: Random Paula Abdul reference. (Is there any other kind?)
|Paula Abdul would be VERY cold in my downstairs bathroom.|
Well, now we have something else that's cold, apart from each of our hearts: our house. More specifically, our first floor. Each morning, we wake up, put our parkas on, grab our chisels, and start chipping the children out of their beds. We can leave meat and dairy out on the counters without fear of spoilage. We have a family of hibernating bears under our stairs. It's cold.
"Of course it's cold," you say. "You have 100+ year-old windows and your first floor is partially submerged underground." "Yes," I would reply, "but you see, I had installed an enormous furnace, along with bulkheads for distributing all of that heat. And I paid extra for insulation of Buffalo standards. And I yell at the kids to close the door, for fear of (and I quote, unfortunately) 'heating the neighborhood.'" Still, very cold.
|Madonna would probably be okay with a shawl,|
but those dogs in the video would need sweaters.
Madonna once sang "You're frozen when your heart's not open." I say "you're frozen when your freakin' cold." And yes, I say this from the vantage point of someone who went through the winters of '04-'05 and '05-'06 without heat. But I was a lot younger then, and didn't have to worry about potential Child Services intervention.
We sit on our couch after the kids go to bed, and immediately crawl under a blanket. Abby's nose is probably 40 degrees. And I strongly suspect our little issue with Lola wetting the bed a few times last week has at least something to do with her preferring not to get out of her warm bed to trek across the tundra that is our family room, into the icebox that is the downstairs bathroom. Let's just say we have issues.
A few months back, you may recall, we won a free energy audit courtesy of the county, for historic homes. Following the audit, we were supposed to receive a professional estimate on how an organization affiliated with the county and knowledgeable about the limitations of working with historic buildings could work to make our house more energy-efficient. (Read: warmer in winter). And hey, I'm all about up-front payments with back-loaded, long-term benefits-- bring 'em on!
So the audit guy came out, did his thing, and said we'd have his report shortly. Then... nothing. around Labor Day, sensing the imminent change in season, I emailed the county asking about the report, and was told there were "issues" (with the auditor, not with our audit) and we'd get things shortly. Two weeks ago, I re-pinged them, and was told I'd have the report no later than... last Friday. I don't want to be the pain in the ass to people who are giving me something for free, but by the time we finally get the report, there may be a glacier advancing on Silver Spring, starting from my property.
|Proper gear for the Aurora and the Bungalow|
(I write this while standing on my Red Line commute, facing an ad for Icelandair, with a smiling couple in thick sweaters and furry hats enjoying the Northern Lights; they would be properly clad to visit the Bungalow too late in the evening.)
So what do I do? I could spend a whole weekend going back and forth to Home Depot buying weather-stripping and that cellophane stuff for the windows and door-sweeps and a giant knit house-koozie, but in the end I feel that my professionally-done house deserves a professionally-done insulation job, especially since I have actual tourists taking actual photos of the place at least once every month on the neighborhood tour. And also because I'm pretty positive that once I finally plunk down the time and energy on doing it myself, the county will call me, all ready to go.
In the meantime, we have decided to close our upstairs registers and pump the heat up a few degrees, with an eye toward tricking the HVAC system into warming things up downstairs without baking the upstairs. We've made sure all of our duvets are washed (following Isaac's barf-o-rama last week, and Lola's aforementioned string of accidents the week before) and on the beds. We turned on the fireplace during Isaac's party, which made the upstairs nice and toasty; the temperature downstairs may have been fine, had all the kids not kept leaving the door open (and heating the neighborhood...). Oh, and we're stocking up on soup.
Here's hoping the county gets to us before we go the way of the Woolly Mammoth. (Or at least the way of that poor snake Paula Abdul was singing about back in the day.) In the meantime, we can only dream about the point whne we'll get to another of our regular-to-us conversations:
A: I'm hot.
G: And modest.
A: (Rolls eyes.)