I don’t know if any of you have noticed, but it’s been a bit chilly around these parts of late. I realise that no one from the mid-west would even put on a topcoat for the weather we’ve experienced lately, but around here, it caused a bit of disruption. The arrival of 11 inches of snow brought life to a stop for several days, preventing many people, including my sweetheart from even getting out of the house for five days. I live close enough to walk to work, but even so, things have been far from easy.
You see, my house is pretty old, and made of the cheapest materials possible. My biggest problem has been keeping the house warm. This stems largely from the fact that the front door is about two sizes too small for the frame. Last winter was bad enough: I bought some weather stripping to no avail and even taped strips of cardboard over the edges of the door in an attempt to stem the draught that blew through day and night. I even bought a blackout curtain to hang in front of the door. None of these efforts made much impact, but last winter was not too severe, so I survived, if only just.
This year, however, was much worse. I know you are wondering why I didn’t just turn the heating up, that being the obvious solution, but the thing is, my house costs a fortune to heat and it’s simply beyond my means to keep the house at a livable temperature on a permanent basis. I only turn the heat on when the kids or my sweetheart are with me and instead rely on a small ceramic heater, extra layers and a heating pad to keep my self if not warm, then at least not too cold. Even in bed I was forced to don my patented Bronko Nagurski long underwear ( copyright “Car Talk”) to keep myself warm enough to sleep in reasonable comfort.
Seeing the wind blow through and cause the curtain to billow out despite duct taping the door shut and weighting down the curtain bottom was the final straw. I emailed the management company and in the meantime took some large boxes from my sweetheart to fashion a temporary solution. In true Blue Peter style I cut the boxes to size and used a glue stick and industrial strength duct tape to fashion a baffle large enough to wedge into place in front of the door. I can guarantee that it wouldn’t have won any design awards, but I’m sure it would have made John Noakes proud. of course it was not without drawbacks, in particular the fact that it constituted a fire hazard, was awkward to fit as I had forgotten to allow for the skirting boards when calculating the width and needed to adjust the curtain rod up every time I set the baffle in place. I know this may all sound a bit extreme, but returning home and seeing the thermometer register 44.8 Fahrenheit was more than I could bear.
Eventually the repair guy showed up and installed some weather stripping that seems to be doing the job as advertised. The house is still cold, but at least I don’t have an arctic gale blowing through the house, nor can I see daylight when I look at the door. I know I shouldn’t be surprised that the owners fitted the place as cheaply as possible. They don’t have to pay any of the bills, and for anyone of a decent income heating the house wouldn’t be much of an issue, but seeing as I’m not, seeing one’s electricity bill double due to running the heat six days a month is a bit difficult to stomach. Money is tight enough as it is without having to dig deeper into what little cash I have just to avoid shivering indoors. The forecast has changed quite a bit of late, so there is no more snow expected, but still, with the daytime highs in the thirties, I’m not looking forward to the next few days.