Frugality v. Comfort

Woke in the middle of the night to the sound of heavy rain on the bedroom’s metal roof. Kind of comforting, since I’m convinced that the roof is tight and the rain won’t come in and wreck my wallboard or grow mold in my insulation. Plus a rainy night means heavy cloud cover which means the morning won’t be very cold – and it wasn’t, the outside temp was high thirties and the inside was in the low fifties.

I used to have a rule, back in the unheatable RV trailer that served as the interim lair: I heated with propane, which cost money I didn’t have and needed to be hauled from town which back then was often catch-as-catch-can, plus propane was also needed for cooking. I can battle cold with a few layers of sweatshirts but I can’t cook beans that way. So the rule was: Never run the heat when the indoor temperature starts with the number 5. And seldom when it starts with 4, in actual fact.

Of course the perception of heat and cold is often very subjective. This morning the thermometer said 51o which just isn’t very cold, but I felt cold. Still it wasn’t likely to get much colder, so for a couple of hours I resisted lighting the woodstove. I’ve largely shaken off the chimney fire phobia caused by the Great Stovepipe Fire of 2012 and can run the woodstove without a lot of tension but I can’t say even now that I get any pleasure from it. If I don’t need it to keep from shivering, I don’t use it. And anyway, thanks to Patreon and regular gifts from Big Brother and dependable weekly access to town the propane situation is a lot less problematic than it used to be. I can sit in my bedroom reading chair with the temp in the low sixties without feeling completely dissolute.

This morning was different: Maybe it was the unfamiliar humidity but I just couldn’t get warm. So I’m putting on my vest over my hoodie, and then I dig out my half-gloves, and finally around the time Laddie started clamoring for a proper walkie around seven I said “screw it” and lit the fire I had laid the night before. And now the cabin temperature is climbing – and I felt a little silly for even going to the bother of toughing through a chilly morning in the first place, when ten years ago I’d have beaten myself up for wasting fuel.

It’s kind of a thing I’m working through, I guess. My physical situation is much more comfortable than it was ten years ago, when at the same time my physical condition is not as good. I’ve got old injuries bothering me for the first time since I (thought I had) healed from them in my 20’s, new injuries that apparently don’t plan to ever entirely heal, and my back pain shows signs of wanting to become chronic. I can’t just shrug stuff off as easily as I could as little as ten years ago. Fortunately I have more resources than I did then, and I need to relax a little more about using them.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Frugality v. Comfort

  1. Ben says:

    Getting old really sucks, but as the old saying goes “it beats the alternative “. Enjoy your well-earned comfort.

  2. Robert says:

    “Never run the heat when the indoor temperature starts with the number 5.”
    You’re assuming multiple digits I hope, ’cause five above zero indoors is a bit nippy even for me.

To the stake with the heretic!