Thu. Dec 7th, 2023


I’m sitting in the sun next to the portable heater. I have less than a quarter tank of fuel and I don’t know how accurate the gauges are on this tank. For several nights now I have been listening with baited breath for the furnace, to be sure I still have heat, while I wait for fuel delivery day.
I will probably be okay even if I do run out, especially if I am here when it happens. I have several electric heaters. There is one in the bathroom and I have two others for the kitchen /laundry area if needed. I think I can keep my water thawed especially if I leave it running. That is the most important part.

I am keeping my thermostat at 62. The thermostat is in my office which I keep closed. The rest of the rooms I use are staying at 55 to 60 depending on sunlight, wind and outdoor temperatures. Considering that the cost of fuel is close to five dollars a gallon I don’t plan on changing this habit once I get a delivery, but I will be able to relax knowing the place will stay warm enough. 
I thought I’d share some ideas on staying comfortable.

Number 1: Put on clothes!
Now I am normally a barefoot  girl in a t-shirt, but that is not the way to use less fuel and save money, so I have learned to wear my slippers, put on socks (tall ones) and wear an undershirt. I put on a sweater or fleece vest if needed. I have found jeans are warmer than knit pants and I got a set of leggings  . 

Number 2: pull up a pet.

I have a heated chair pad for guests, or if I am sitting and reading for a long time, but my favorite warmer when I’m watching TV is to have the dog beside me, the cat on my lap and  a small blanket for snuggling. Warm up your bed before you get in at night. A soda bottle filled with hot water works well another option is a beanbag warmed in the microwave. Having the cat sleeping at the foot of my bed works well too.

Number 3: Go outside! 
Put on your jacket go outside and shovel the walk  or walk to the mailbox, take the trash out, dust the snow off the car, anything that will keep you outside for a few minutes or longer. When you walk back into the house it will feel nice and warm .

Number 4: Get busy! 
Neither my kids nor my husband like to hear me say it but washing dishes will warm you up. For one thing you’re up and moving around. For another you have your hands in hot water, instant warmth. Almost any type of activity will work. Vacuuming and sweeping are great because you’re moving all over . Cooking requires movement and another heat source. Sorting and putting things away work because you do a lot of walking. Fold the laundry, make beds, clean out a closet! 

Number 5: Be creative!
Think of simple ways to warm up in your situation. I often work in front of a sunny window on a cold day. Put your laptop on your lap. It is amazing how much heat they give off. Figure out what corner of your house is warmest and work there. In my office at work my desk is cold but the corner with the filing cabinet is hot. I can’t move my desk but I can alternate the desk work with filing. Spicy foods seem to help. That may be just psychological but I have a jalapeño hot cocoa that seems to soothe the chills.

Number 6: Manage your space! 
I am fortunate to have automatic door closers. On several of my doors that means they are hung in such a way that they always swing closed. That wasn’t done on purpose it’s just the way the house sags. On others I used bungee cords. They keep the door swung closed but not latched. The critters can still get in and out to the litter box or to sleep on my bed but the door is close enough to save heat and I can’t forget to close the door behind me.  When I moved in I was excited about my big beautiful windows and of the view outside. As the temperature moved to zero and below  I realized that I had to give up on the view to conserve heat. Even sheer curtains make a big difference. I open the drapes on my picture window in the morning wide if the sun is shining, less so if it is not. 
Not all of my fixes involve saving fuel. If they are things I would do anyway  for instance making a pot of soup or baking, just like Grandma, we can try to do those activities on a cold day. 
Ah the mail is here. Time to put number 2 into practice while my coffee brews. Hmm jalapeño coffee?

By AFarmer

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