We are pretty sure Rebecca is quite a bit warmer than us right now - she is visiting her folks in Chicago. We hear they have this thing called "central heat" in the midwest. And this other thing, known as "insulation."
Our whole house is heated by a single gas fireplace insert and a couple of space heaters. The heat seems to go straight upstairs, while the knee to ceiling Victorian single paned windows and balsa wood construction ensure that we are left shivering even when the heat is on full-blast. So we bundle up in slippers, wool socks, sweaters, and blankets and make the best of it. Adding insult to injury, our energy bill goes through the roof every winter, even while our fingers remain numb with cold.
|Joe stays warm by scaling baby gates in his fleece pullover.|
The problem with construction in our part of California is that early settlers seem to have built houses under the assumption that (1) it is never really cold here; and (2) it never rains here. Now, this is true 80% of the time - you can see how someone who just spent the winter up in Donner Pass eating frozen comrades might get the impression that Oakland is a subtropical paradise. But the problem is that (1) sometimes it gets a little chilly; and (2) every once in a while, it rains (and when it does, it tends to rain a lot). And when that happens, we are really unprepared, and the rest of the country gets to see television footage of cars submerged on Highway 101, houses sliding off cliffs, or kids surfing down Los Angeles boulevards. I can only imagine the eye-rolling that goes on in the more practical parts of the nation. All I can say is excess optimism (some would say "stupidity") has long been a defining feature of Californians.
But anyway, back to our house: It's not that we haven't tried to make our house a bit more energy efficient. But unfortunately, we cannot afford to replace nine (charming!) seven foot tall windows with custom-fitted double-paned energy-efficent windows (I can't even imagine how expensive that would be). So Steve installed weather stripping on our doors, and put some of this plastic cling wrap on the windows. Unfortunately, Joe and the dogs delight in ripping it off, so poor Steve has to reapply it several times per winter and still, it has gaping holes most of the time, which probably (you think?) reduces its effectiveness.
|See, plastic wrap on the windows.|
And yesterday, in an effort to keep my fingers moving so as to avoid frostbite, I sewed up some "draft snakes" from scraps of wool, corduroy, and flannel.
|Trying to cover up the half inch gap between the floor and the bottom of our back door.|
They are stuffed with cheap pinto beans, to give them some weight and reduce the likelihood that the dogs will see them as tug-toys.
|Some familiar fabric. Flimsy single-pane window.|
Might be time to knit myself some fingerless gloves.