Ebb and Flow

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 11, 1999

By DEBORAH CORRAO / L’Observateur / January 11, 1999

The other day I was talking to my daughter who lives in Wisconsin and she asked, “Guess what the temperature is here?” “I don’t know…cold?” I guessed.”It’s one degree,” she said.

“Is that with the wind chill factor?” I asked, dumbfounded.

“No,” she said. “It’s one.”That was right before the blizzard hit the midwest. As I understand it, ithas to be a little warmer for snow to fall.

I can’t even fathom one degree. Okay, so maybe it’s a dry cold. I don’tcare. To me, cold is cold.It constantly amazes me that anyone would choose to live above the Mason-Dixon line (Baton Rouge for me). I breathe water.I can’t believe it when people I’ve considered close friends during 3/4 of the year go around with red noses and fingertips saying things like, “I love this weather” and “this feels so good.”I have to confess I don’t get it.

I’m not one who has to witness the unfolding of each season. I don’t haveto see the trees turn red or burnt orange. I don’t need a White Christmasor hear sleigh bells ringing. I don’t need to walk through a winterwonderland or roast chestnuts on an open fire.

My dream weather hovers around 70 with just enough humidity in the air to keep my hair in place. Just cool enough to wear an occasional sweater,not out of necessity, but purely as a fashion statement.

I don’t know if it’s just me but I experience several phenomena when the weather dips below 50.

First of all, I haven’t found an object I can touch without being shocked.

Like Pavlov’s dogs I’ve trained myself not to open doors, turn on lights or go grocery shopping until the barometric pressure rises or falls I’m not sure which).

When I finally get uncomfortable enough in the house that I break down and turn on the heater, the rest of my body goes haywire. My nose and ears dryup. My skin itches. My hair stands on end. There’s nothing in what Ilaughingly refer to as my winter wardrobe that doesn’t cling, itch or suffocate.

And, of course, winter always brings on the war of the thermostat. Irealize that the battle lines have been drawn when I suddenly find myself layered to the max, gasping for air.

Somebody has turned up the thermostat! Yes, as my husband and son walk around the house in shorts with chests bared, I am sweltering in my sweatsuit. I go to the thermostat where theneedle is hovering at 80 and turn it down about ten degrees.

The unit hardly has time to cycle down before I’m hearing complaints about how cold it is in our house.

At night, it’s different. My husband’s solution to a possible carbonmonoxide problem is to keep the window at the head of our bed cracked about two inches wide. I can sometimes get comfortable enough to sleepif I can strategically place myself equidistant from the window and the heater vent.

There is no winner in the war of the thermostat. It just goes on and onewith no peace talks, no compromises, no detente, until spring arrives (which, thankfully, is not too far around the corner).

My mother will laugh when she reads this. I used to make fun of her whenshe made these complaints.

She’ll be happy to know that we can huddle together now and wait for the robins or, in her case, hummingbirds.

I can’t believe I’m looking forward to another south Louisiana summer. Oh,well, maybe it will be a dry heat.

Copyright © 1998, Wick Communications, Inc.

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