Cold, cold, cold

July 12, 2023

Years (and YEARS) ago when the HM was newly out of basic training (and hence newly shorn), we could barely afford to heat the trailer where we lived. We shut off all but the main room- the living room, dining, room, and kitchen were one big room. We never used the second bedroom at all- the baby slept in a playpen in the heated living room.

We slept in a bedroom kept so cold that if we brought in a glass of drinking water, it froze overnight.

The HM wore a wool cap to bed, and we raced to get ready for bed so that we both had to dive under the shivery covers together, that way, neither had to bear the burden of warming the icy blankets alone.

That’s what we did on the nights we didn’t argue and whine and beg the other to go first, anyway.

That was our first experience with living outside the typical middle class expectations we’d grown up with, so there was a lot we did not know. The wool cap was smart- you lose most body heat thru the head, and since the HM’s head was bald because of basic training, he was especially vulnerable (not to mention he was a Southern California boy). It’s the reason for nightcaps in the old days.

Since our early days, we have learned the following:

You don’t have to sleep in the master bedroom. If it’s cold, put blankets on the floor in the main room, where you have heat, and sleep on the floor. In Nebraska, we sometimes slept on the floor in the room where the wood stove was- and by we, I mean the whole family.

Heating the bed ahead of time – you can go modern and use electric blankets and heating pads, but they cost money to buy and to operate. In the old days they used bed-warmers or hot bricks wrapped in cloth. We’ve used hot water bottles and socks filled with rice or buckwheat, knotted at the end, and then heated a few minutes in the microwave. Stick them under the covers and then put your feet nearby. By the time they cool off, you are already asleep, nicely warmed.

Candles- every candle produces the same amount of warmth as one person’s body heat. A few candles in a room can help take the edge off, not to mention adding some romantic ambiance.

Make a ritual of hot tea or soup (or cocoa) just before bed. Warmth on the inside really helps.

Warm feet: When I was in college we had four girls to a room, and our bathroom had a double room, hotel style. In the front part of the bathroom we had two large vanities- each side of the one sink with a long counter on each side. I have fond memories of the winter nights we four girls sat on the bathroom counter with our feet in a sink of hot water, turning our feet lobster red, two girls to a sink, drinking hot cocoa and talking about girl stuff. When done, we’d quickly dry our feet, slip on socks we’d kept ready, and dash to get beneath the covers of our beds.

Block the windows so not a smidgeon of cold air can get through. I have a lot more ideas on frugal ways to protect your home from winter’s chill here.

Snuggle a lot and dress warmly.;-D