Saturday, October 26, 2013

Turning on the Heat

We turned the heat on at our house this morning.  Alan got up out of bed in the middle of the night and went to the hall thermostat to push the "up" button several times to kick it into heat mode.  Thank goodness, because the extra blanket I had put on the bed was not quite doing the job.  For one thing, it was doing nothing to warm my face; my nose was ice cold.

I've become somewhat of a "wimp" when it comes to coping with cold weather.  We live in Wilmington, NC, after all, where it almost never snows, and people still use air conditioning well into late October.  But when the temperature dips below 40 degrees for the first time each year, you would think I lived way inside the arctic circle for all of my complaining.

I used to be a lot tougher about coping with cold temperatures when we lived in Japan, where most of our house wasn't even heated.  Only the downstairs was heated by a singular stove that heated up with a clicking sound.  When the temperature of the stove finally hit a point high enough, a fan turned on and blew glorious hot air into the living room.

Getting us out of bed on the coldest winter mornings was a challenge for my mother.  She timed waking us up to the stove's fan's cycle.  As it began to heat up, she came upstairs to one by one remove our blankets and quilts piled on top of us as we slept on our futon.

"Rise and shine!," she'd say, as she came upstairs to our room to put away our bedding into the closet for the day.  After begging for a few more minutes under the electric blanket and thick Japanese quilt on top (also called a futon,) our retort was always,
"Is the heater on?"
We knew our window of opportunity to dress in warmth was limited.  If the fan was blowing hot air, we grabbed our clothes including long underwear, and ran down the stairs to dress in front of the heater as it blew out its warmth, and got dressed as quick as we could before the fan went off.  Dressed in our wool sweaters, we headed off to Japanese school where the rooms were heated with black iron pot-bellied coal stoves - but that's a story for another day.

I will do my best to remember how fortunate I am to live in a house that has heat, and all we have to do is to push a plastic white button a couple of times to heat up the entire house.

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