Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Getting the Cold Shoulder

When we left Pennsylvania a few years ago and headed south I couldn't wait to be shut of 50 plus years of dreary winters. However, we ended up moving too far south and found ourselves in the tropics of Florida where the weather there consists of nine months of ankle sweating and a mere three months of being able to venture outside without melting. Just one extreme to another.

When we arrived back here in Hooterville I quickly realized how much I'd missed the changing seasons along with the beautiful topography. Where Florida is flat and mainly consists of but one kind of tree along with endless strip malls, Pennsylvania has mountains, valleys, and trees galore. This fall when we were out for one of our Sunday drives in the country, we crested a hill and the view of the valley below us consisted of a small country church, a farm with horses and cows wandering the pastures, and again, all those trees. I've always wanted to visit Vermont but after our year here, I no longer feel the need.

The only drawback to our beautiful spring and summer was the fact that we never did get Dear Friend's lawnmower working and the grass and weeds quickly grew to epic heights. Eventually a friend of Dear Friend's came over with a brush hog and we no longer feared losing Wilbur in the jungle while Hans played with his fire pit. In the mornings while we sat at our little kitchen table we were entertained by an abundance of insect life outside our window that were drawn to the flowering weeds close to the house that the brush hog couldn't reach. Actually, without all the lawn manicuring we've become used to in our previous lives, we both kind of like a more natural setting. Mother Nature does a pretty good job on her own and I know the bees love it.

Fire pit fun. Look at that grass.

Our Sunday drives continued into the fall and we experienced the vibrant colors of the trees and we didn't have to spent big bucks on a B&B to enjoy them, we just opened our curtains every morning. But fall never does last long enough and boom! winter was upon us.

I've used this one before but I love it.

Something we noticed this summer and very much enjoyed was the fact that our house is cool. Not groovy cool, mind you, but cool, temperature wise. Now that winter is here it's not so cool to be cool! In order to conserve heat, we've strung a blanket across the door from the living room (where in addition to living, we sleep) to the kitchen and with the electric baseboard heat on and a space heater plugged in, we're pretty comfortable.

In the living room.

For awhile we called the kitchen our walk-in refrigerator (it's actually colder than our fridge) but, when the temperatures dropped to single digits, we called it our 'sub-zero', and it's quite safe to leave food out without fear of getting sick. You can see your breath in there and the walk to the bathroom (where we thankfully have another space heater) is quite brisk.

Come winter, a twenty foot praying mantis could be lurking beyond that frozen window and we'd never see it.

I mentioned in my last post that due to a polar vortex we spent a weekend at the inn. Since Dear Friend advised us to leave a space heater on in the cellar to prevent frozen pipes, we took our passports and Wilbur's health records with us. We were relieved upon returning home to find the house hadn't burned down in our absence and we went back to our regular routine. The next morning after switching on the coffee pot and turning on the space heater in the bathroom, I was in the middle of washing my face when the power went out. We finally found the right breaker switch in the cellar, and now know that you either freeze your fanny in the bathroom if you want coffee right away, or you pee in comfort with the heater on and wait for that coffee.

The other day Hans noticed my soaping thermometer sitting on a shelf in the kitchen and wondered if the 40 degrees it showed was accurate and if it could register lower temps.

The mystery has been solved.

So, when people ask me if I miss the palm trees and beaches of Florida? My answer? Suprisingly, no, I really don't.

I've never claimed to be normal.


Wilbur's ready.


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