Yes, it’s cold inside: Do you shiver on the job?

Friday morning’s news meeting seemed much like any other.

There was an apparent homicide, one of four in Snohomish County so far this month. There was more good news for Boeing. And a Mill Creek youngster was selected to play in a special orchestra at Carnegie Hall in January.

As always, there was a lot going on. But something was different. Then it occurred to me in a flash.

The editor seated at the conference table on my right was wearing a stocking cap. On my left, the editor discussing the next day’s feature pages was wearing gloves, the kind with the fingertips cut out. She also had a hooded parka, fleece slacks, wool socks and hiking boots.

Another editor had donned a sweater. Still another had a flannel shirt over a T-shirt.

As I roamed around the newsroom, I discovered similar attire: a wool coat here, a quilted vest there, long johns and jeans and more wool socks and hiking boots. One reporter, only half in jest, said she kept her telephone headgear on even when she wasn’t on a call because it kept her ears warm.

What’s going on?

Well, for one thing, it’s really cold out there.

I always keep my heat low at home, hoping that a warmer office atmosphere will help me sustain life support. But that seems to be gone this year.

Many businesses and government buildings have turned down the heat to save money. One national story that moved on Friday talked about how schools, socked by high bills for heating and fueling their buses, have dropped classroom temperatures by several degrees.

The conspiracy theorists here at The Herald should have seen this coming.

Last year, the company’s holiday gift was an umbrella and a fleece blanket with The Herald logo.

I’ve used the umbrella a lot this year, but never had an occasion to use the blanket. Now I do.

In addition to breaking out the blankie, I’ve also been dreaming up nice things to say to our maintenance manager next week at our annual manager’s luncheon.

In fact, maintenance guy, if you’re reading this right now, let me take the opportunity to say what an excellent job you’ve been doing this year.

And let me also say that nothing written in this column should be considered as a complaint or a slight about your fine work.

And, finally, please don’t get angry at me and lower the heat yet again.

Please. I’m begging you.

To the big boss:

Thank you for the lovely fleece blanket. How about matching scarves and ear- muffs for 2005?

And to my faithful readers: Am I crazy or is your workplace a little chillier this year? Drop me a note to let me know. And let me know what you’re doing to keep warm. If I get enough tips, I’ll include them in the column.

Mike Benbow: 425-339-3459;

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