Baby it’s cold inside

Even though we’ve caught a bit of a reprieve over the past few days, the last couple of weeks have been pretty rough, temperature-wise. We knew, of course, that our big, old, drafty house would probably struggle a little bit in the winter, but as this is the first full winter we’re going through in the house, we hadn’t yet gotten the full experience.

Well, let’s just say it’s been an experience.

Granted it was record setting cold, but our furnace just couldn’t keep up. It was running nearly constantly (20 1/2 hours one day!) and it could barely manage to creep the temp over 60. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen the furnace running in a house while the temperature continued to go down!

Upstairs was actually pretty comfortable (with the exception of Ollie’s bedroom), but it was a little hard to hang out up there with people over. And in retrospect, you could tell the cold was on our minds, since all of our Christmas presents for each other were things like slippers, long underwear, and heated blankets!

If nothing else, living in this house has taught me some things about Victorian England. NO WONDER they were always wearing a shirt and a vest and a jacket and a top hat and a bustle and fifteen other layers! NO WONDER they went to bed with a long nightgown and a cap on their head.

NO WONDER THEY DRANK SO MUCH TEA!

In any case, we’ve done a lot in the last few days, and I think we’ve gotten it under control (doesn’t hurt that it’s suddenly 50 degrees warmer!). Plastic on some of the worst windows seems to be the main thing, combined with new space heaters, new comforters, wearing long underwear around the house, draft things under the doors, heated blankets, going to bed by 9 pm…

Is winter over yet?

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I have officially gone full on Mr. Rogers

Now that it’s snow season here in Chicago, I am officially to the point that I’m leaving a sweater and comfortable shoes to change into in the office.

Getting old is kind of funny. I mean, I didn’t set out to be this way, it just happened. I wear boots to walk the kids to school, but I don’t want to wear them all day. I get cold, I need a sweater.

On the other hand, one of the best parts about being an adult is that I don’t have to put up with anything. If I’m cold I don’t have to do some macho crap about wearing shorts in the winter to prove how tough I am, I just put on a sweatshirt.

Anyway, this was just all a long way to say that right now I am wearing slippers at work, and that’s called “winning”.

Baby, it’s cold out there

As you may have noticed, we in the midwest are experiencing a few…weather difficulties. So far this week we’ve gotten ~20 inches of snow, 30 mph winds, and we’re currently experiencing windchills down to -50 F.

The National Weather Service says: “A prolonged period of dangerously cold and potentially life threatening wind chills will occur through Tuesday morning,” and “This will result in frost bite and lead to hypothermia or death if precautions are not taken.”

Of course, the government also recommends the citizens of Chicago should, “Store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove”, so it’s possible their recommendations are not exactly up to date.

We’ve been inside since Saturday evening, and the kids are starting to go a little stir crazy (the cat is currently paying the price for that). Unfortunately, our house is not the most air-tight of structures, so we’ve closed off as many vents as we can and turned the heat down to avoid the furnace running all the time. Consequently, we’re all wearing triple layers (including long underwear!) and huddling together under blankets in a few rooms like it’s the end of days. Oliver and I even wore our winter hats during lunch yesterday.

On the other hand, it’s kind of fun, and we all get to huddle together under blankets like it’s the end of days. Lots of tea and book reading and puzzles and scone baking going on around here, with some possible knitting in my future. We even re-activated Netflix!

I did go outside to make sure I could get the car started and down the alley, just in case school really is back on tomorrow like they’ve been threatening. However, just when I was about to try my luck, a 4wd van got stuck right at our parking lot. After spending 20 minutes getting him out, I decided the Fit didn’t have a chance and went back inside. All my fingers and toes seem to be intact (though it was touch and go for a little bit on the fingers…I warmed them up in my mouth).

Stay warm everyone! In another 5 months we’re all going to look back on this an laugh…

Winter, In Pictures

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Me and the kids, ready to see the Nutcracker

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Abominable Snow Ollie

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Time for sledding

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Snow Angel

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Let’s talk about the weather

Today is January 29th, and it is 60 degrees. In Chicago. So far this winter, we have had a total of one “snowstorm” resulting in a grand total of 1.1 inches so far for the year. That was a record setting 335 days without snow. Just to put that into perspective, Chicago normally averages 36.7 inches of snow per year.

If I had never heard of global warming, I might just chalk that up to, “huh, unusually warm winter this year.” I have heard of global warming, but I’m trying keep that in perspective and fight my natural impulse to say, “ZOMG IT’S THE END OF DAYZZZZZ!”

The thing is, we’re not talking a “unusually warm winter” here. This is not the first 60 degree day this winter, and, for all intents and purposes, we’ve had no snow whatsoever this year. And this is on top of last winter, which was also “unusually warm”. They kids are wondering why we haven’t been able to go sledding, or build snowmen, or make snow angels.

I’m no expert on global warming, but even an idiot like me has to wonder what’s going on. Is this just a two-year fluke, or a sign of some larger trend? I’m reminded of when I attended The Great Climate Debate, all the way back in 2008. The thing that struck me then, and strikes me now, was that the experts on both sides of the debate agreed global warming exists, and their argument was not the same as what the general public believes the issues to be.

But even this guy, who had incredible credentials, is at the forefront of this movement, and who is rabid in his belief, agrees global warming exists and we are causing at least part of it.

I know anecdotal evidence is not evidence, but 60 degrees in January is at least remarkable. I don’t know if there are still people who think global warming isn’t real, or not. But my opinion on it remains unchanged from 3 years ago:

Whether our pollution is causing global warming or not, I think we all know we shouldn’t be polluting.  So we should stop polluting based on its own merits whether it causes global warming or not.  It kind of reminds me back when people used to argue about whether smoking causes cancer or not.  Who cares?  It does a lot of other bad things and you know you shouldn’t be smoking!  So if there is even a chance global warming is caused by us, that is just one more reason on top of all the other reasons to stop polluting.  And if that is the final straw that makes someone stop doing it, then great!