Tuesday, January 07, 2014


We're surviving the cold. The Big Ugly House manages fairly well in the cold, especially since we did the big remodel five years ago. (I don't even want to think what the house would feel like without all the new insulation and windows.) That means there are parts of it which are fairly toasty and other parts of it which, well, aren't. M. definitely has the warmest room. It was completely redone in the remodel and the only room which is entirely surrounded by insulation on all walls and with all new windows. Currently, if you go in her room, it has a vague sauna-like feeling. It is probably above 80 degrees in there and I found her and a friend wearing tank tops because it was so warm.

Of course, this makes it difficult for her to leave her room, because the rest of the house is NOT 80 degrees. The bedrooms in the middle of the house (J.'s and mine, the little girls, and the big girls) are a pretty average temperature. Slightly cooler than one would like, but not bad at all. It's when you move to the front of the house and to the boys' rooms that the temperature plunges. There is probably a 20+ temperature difference between the front and back of the house. The front of the house has no insulation, old windows, and when it is windy (which it has been), the front takes the brunt of the wind. You can see the window shades moving in the breeze. To make it more livable, we have space heaters in each room and multiple blankets on each bed. (I've never had every single blanket in the house in use before. The only ones I have left are some antique quilts.) K. has the toughest spot. Because B. is home from break, he has been on a mattress on the floor. Because of the lack of insulation, the floor is very cold. Last night we decided that the mattress wasn't buffering the cold quite enough and I got out the very ancient feather bed we have and we layered that on top of the mattress. K. was in heaven and immediately snuggled down in the feathers and made a little nest.

Downstairs, the temperature has been cooler than upstairs. The kitchen hasn't been too bad, but the room toward the front of the house are not really a place you want to sit without a blanket. This morning, though the kitchen was hovering around 50 degrees, so one boys' room lost its space heater and it is now in the kitchen, valiantly trying to heat the vast space around it.

On the plus side, I and HG took down and put away all of Christmas yesterday in record time. (Maybe the need to keep moving had something to do with it.) Anyway, I'm feeling much more able to face the new year as far as school goes. Today we will take stock of where we all are and what we need to do and perhaps do some reading together. I also have to venture out into the cold to return the overdue muskrat which is in my living room. (How often does one get to say that?)

The muskrat is from the Harris Loan Collection at the Field Museum, and I was still so much in holiday mode last Saturday that I forgot to return him. Back he goes today. The other people heading out into the cold are A. and D. who are in tech week for Romeo and Juliet. Because the show must go on, they were out last night at rehearsal. By the end of the week, nearly everyone in the Chicago area will be a bit stir-crazy, so take advantage of the need to get out and come and see the play. It is Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I'm sure I'll have some rehearsal pictures to show later this week.

I've sat still too long and must move again. Stay warm... and if you are living somewhere warm, I really don't want to hear about it.

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