There aren’t enough sweaters to keep this Californian warm

Hopefully, it has so far escaped your attention that I’m one of those awful Californians that true Washingtonians rag on.

It’s OK to still like me, though, because my husband’s family has lived in Snohomish County for four generations. Since my daughter was born right here in Edmonds, she’s a true Pacific Northwesterner, too.

My son moved here when he was only 1 year old, so by his own appraisal “the Californian has pretty much worn off him.”

I know that to be true because he doesn’t like avocados or sunscreen and he thinks vegetarians are good with ketchup. I, on the other hand, like to brag about my artichokes growing in the back yard.

I wish I could be as tough as the rest of my family, but when the first frost hits each year, I crumble like tofu. Sometimes I deal with cold weather by pretending that I’m still in San Diego.

I build a big fire in our cast iron stove and turn up the fan from “mildly annoying hum” to “Help! I’m getting a migraine!” Pretty soon the whole kitchen is cooking.

But raging fires and small children don’t go very well together. I can’t fold laundry and keep my kids safe from potential burns at the same time. Thank goodness for central forced air.

The furnace is my new best friend every November. That doesn’t mean I’m not afraid it’s going to explode unless we pay somebody $200 to vacuum it out and replace the $10 filter. My husband usually does this task himself, and we save a bunch of money.

That’s about the only way we save on heat each year. When the rest of my family is home I keep the thermostat set at 66 degrees. But if it’s just me in the house, I crank it up to 70 when nobody’s looking.

I also need a lesson in thermodynamics because I can’t understand why heating vents are on the floor.

Yeah, I know that heat rises, but let me tell you about toddler-dynamics. If you’re 2 years old, then you think that a heating vent in the carpet is just begging for your sippy cup and whatever else you can cram down there.

Then when you’re potty training, you have even more fun.

I should have started photo-blogging everything I found while cleaning out our heater vents this year. The most notable items were the missing pieces to our magic set. It’s no wonder that trick with the number tiles never worked. Half of them had already disappeared!

My best bet for staying warm this winter is to Jimmy-Carter-it and wear a bunch of sweaters. That’s why I’m usually so bundled up that you could roll me out the door. Sometimes I even throw on my bathrobe in the middle of the day. I’m not crazy; I’m just cold.

At some point somebody suggested we conserve heat by keeping our honeycomb shades drawn all day.

“You mean you want me to live in the dark?” I freaked out.

Then I’d be cold and crazy at the same time. That doesn’t sound like very good home economics to me.

Jennifer Bardsley is an Edmonds mom of two and blogs at http://teachingmybabytoread.blog.com.

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