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Wintertime January 24, 2014

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

(inspired, if you could call it that, by Mali’s “Summertime” post today, and written in a headcolddaze)

When winter is kind—temperatures at least 20°F, snow of the dry fluffy variety perfect for cross-country skiing—I love winter. But a cold winter is a cruel winter, and lately, it’s been cold: nighttime temperatures dipping into negative double digits, daytime highs maybe reaching positive doubles.

We in old, cold Victorian houses suffer.

On Wednesday morning, I noticed that my heat was out. When I went to the basement, I discovered that my oil tank was empty. I’m on autodelivery, and I don’t remember this ever happening before. Of course it happened because it’s been so cold and we’ve been burning more oil. But usually oil companies take this into account and make more deliveries.

Because it was so cold, I then had to worry about pipes freezing. I have to worry about that even when we have heat.

Luckily, by noon I had an oil delivery, but my kitchen temperature (which is the cold room in the house) had by that time dropped to 40°.

Did I mention that I’m also sick? A bad head cold. It’s exhausting me. It’s been almost a week, and it feels like forever. I can’t get work done that requires any brain whatsoever. I’m going to be a wreck trying to meet a deadline next week. But there’s no point in trying to think at that level until I’m healthier.

So having no heat on Wednesday was doubly bad as I shivered and sniffled and worried about the pipes. Imagine then, if you will, the sinking feeling I had around 5:00 this morning when the power went out. According to a Facebook alert from the fire department: “[The power company] is aware of the situation and working on fixing the problem. In the meantime, be aware of your neighbors who may not have heat during the outage, as the temperature is -12.”

My neighbors started texting at 5:52. If I wanted to come up and hang by the woodstove, I should feel free, especially if I had some ground coffee. Is everybody out of power? WTF? School canceled.

I tried to keep my arms under the flannel sheets as I replied.

This outage was unexpected, so I hadn’t filled a bucket in the bathroom. With no power, we have no heat and no water and one flush left.

I decided to not leave the bed. I am beginning to feel defeated.

Did I mention I’ve been dealing with some weird back/leg pain for 3 weeks?

Two and half hours later, the power came back on. I’m sick, I decided. I’ll get up when I get up.

I’m up.

I feel terrible. I look worse. Saw a couple of neighbors briefly last night, and one said, You look terrible. I laughed. It’s true. If a tissue hits my face ten times, it shows. Think hundreds of times, that allegedly lotion-filled, soft stuff scraping away all my skin cells.

I feel like I’ve lost a week of my life. I think this week has lasted forever.

And I’m not even that sick.

This is the kind of cold that can and does kill people.

I’m suffering, and I’m not even suffering. How do people with no financial resources and real health issues make it through this?

Give me 20°. Even 18°. I learned a long time ago that the temperature at which water freezes isn’t truly cold—after all, it’s 44° warmer than it was this morning, when the power went out.



1. Mali - January 25, 2014

Your kitchen was colder than the coldest daytime temperature in our average winter (here in Wellington).

I’m glad you’re warm again. And I hope you feel better soon.

2. Helen - January 27, 2014

I truly sympathize; being sick AND an absence of creature comforts is a horrible combination. I also wonder how people without means financially (and otherwise) survive this kind of winter.

I wish you and your nasal mucosa a speedy recovery.

3. indigobunting - January 28, 2014

Working on the getting better! Trying to keep depression at bay…

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