01-21-19 The Cold

I woke up this morning and the temperature was 8°. I wasn’t built for that kind of cold. I read that we are in a polar vortex. The first time I ever heard that phrase, Tim and I were living in our crazy little farmhouse with C and Big E. The house had been built about a hundred years earlier, long before electricity and plumbing were standard, so those additions were clumsy afterthoughts. The house was heated by a few baseboards, but mostly we relied on space heaters.

I remember the winter with the polar vortex, when temperatures hovered around zero for a few weeks. I would wake up in the morning and head for the basement and our oddly located kitchen, where the temp would register around 50° inside. I’d warm myself by making fresh muffins for the family each morning, an excuse to run the oven to heat the space.

Because of the poor wiring in the house, you had to be careful which lights and outlets you used at the same time, because it didn’t take much to overload them. That meant we could never heat the house in such a way that it would all be warm. And whatever heat we mustered quickly found its way out through the old windows and gap under the door.

That place was cold. I remember staring at our exorbitant power bill one month and crying because I couldn’t imagine how we spent that much money and yet we were still so cold. That was a hard winter.

I’m so thankful, as I sit in bed this evening, with temps at 11°, that we now live in a warm, well insulated house that I never have to worry about seeing my own breath!

But if you ask my kids, they won’t remember that cold winter. They don’t remember the hardship. They only remember the farmhouse with rose colored glasses. To them, that house was magical. I wouldn’t have them see it any other way.

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