The House of Cold

Greetings from the East Coast. Yeah, right…

Before I embarked on my sojourn eastward my wonderful man found us an idyllic little house. It was small and sweet, had skylights and a great big deck. Lots of trees and space. I fell in love with it. I couldn’t wait to go east and move right in. I just knew it was meant for us and us alone and that we would be ever so happy there.

Then…

We moved in. To say that my expectations came to a crashing halt doesn’t begin to describe the folly that this house has become. Or perhaps always was and we just had to learn the hard way? Now having been a California girl for many many years I had no idea what it was like to feel really cold. I mean C.O.L.D. cold. Yup, it was quite the reality adjustment and frankly I am still adjusting. Well the funny thing about this house is that it didn’t really have conventional heating, it had heaters attached to the walls. At first I thought they were those heated floorboard contraptions that used water or steam to heat the air, a kind of convection gizmo that would make us all toasty and warm. Actually, what they really are is glorified space heaters. Now, anyone who has ever used an electric space heater knows just how much energy they use and how much they can jack up your electric bill. It’s too ugly to even report what ours came in at. Too ugly indeed. And the bitch of it is that it STILL didn’t make the place warm.

In the mornings when I finally managed to crawl out of the warm bed, which immediately would set my teeth to chattering I would go out to the livingroom to say good morning to my love, only to find him bundled up in jacket and full fatigues and still looking a little blue.

I simply got used to having fingers that felt like ice and really no amount of socks could really warm my feet. I suppose it was cute at first, our bundling up on the futon under blankies to watch t.v. and see our breath fog at the same time but really how long can camping be a laugh riot?

And taking a shower was also quite the adventure since you had to really hurry before the water ran out. We did in all fairness discover the water heater had been turned down and once it was adjusted the water got hotter, but it still didn’t last long. We both got very good and super quick showers too.

And oh yeah, the cable. The company was very nice and for such a little house it would seem easy to wire us up for our internet and cable, right? Well apparently, not so much. The first time they came out they spent hours putting in cable and taking out what was useless and all sorts of things that were frankly above my pay scale. But a couple of days later we couldn’t get any channels on the cable. Out came another fellow who opined that there was something wrong with the internal cable and if we wanted to have him do it off the books he could come by the next weekend. Opting to go the legal route we contacted the company again and it was discovered our ‘drop’ (whatever the hell that is) was faulty and they put in a temporary one until they could put in a permanent one. The problem was solved eventually and we now get cable but jeez, was life trying to tell us something about this funny little place? Yeah, probably.

Then there was the case of the mysteriously dirty clothes that would not come clean. On our first try at solving this mystery, we realized that the water heater for the laundry room was off and we were washing clothes in icy cold water and thought, ‘aha!’ that was certainly the problem. Well the landlord, who happens to be the nicest fellow you’d ever want to meet got right on it and fixed that and we had nice hot water to wash clothes with. Still the clothes remained stubborn and just refused to really come clean. “Odd,” thought I as I frowned at the results. I guess my clothes just liked being dirty, eh?

A few days later, I thought I would try yet again to get the dinge out of my wearables and dragged a big basket of clothes out there. For whatever reason, I decided to sort all the clothes there and it was a good thing because I made a startling discovery. The washing machine apparently does not know how to agitate. Nope, it just hums a lovely tune on its way to the final rinse and spin. “Aha!” I said and this time realized why the clothes didn’t come clean, the machine just wasn’t washing them. Good discovery, but I was still stuck with dirty clothes.

So, today I selected some key items and washed them by hand. Now, I’m not talking about fine washables I’m talking about tough and sturdy clothes that really don’t take to hand washing. It was a close call for a while but I managed to win the dirt fest and then dragged them soggy and panting to the washer for a rinse and a spin. I know they still won’t be as clean as they should be but it’s better than nothing.

Then there is also the case of the mysterious electric stove. Now, generally speaking I’ve always cooked on a gas range and so getting used to the electric was strange. I still don’t have it down as the burners seem to turn on and off as they see fit and since all but ‘off’ and ‘high’ has been worn off the dials I really am only guessing at the temp that I am cooking with. And then there is that oven light that comes on and goes off at will too. Strange that. You wouldn’t have that happening with a gas stove I can tell you that.

The landlord, being the nice fella that he is got a professional heating guy in there and he put in a different heating system and I will admit that it is warmer here than it was. (Of course this was after hours of cold air blasting through the holes in the floor and we are still cleaning up tile dust…) We can’t see our breath inside anymore, which is good. But it never really gets warm in here. You know what I mean?

And then there is the obvious missing closets. Why we didn’t really notice it until we had dragged half our stuff in is beyond me – still in the honeymoon phase I guess or just made stupid by all the toting and dragging but nope, there is nowhere to hang anything either. Thanks to Target, I did manage to get one of those rollable hanging racks but as you can imagine, less than ideal.

I have to say that the last few weeks has felt like I was living in the movies, Mr Blandings Gets His Dream House and The Money Pit – without being aware of the fact that I’d been cast and they were filming. Somebody wake me, puleeze!

And so, it seems that we will be leaving our sweet little cabin in the sky – which is really okay with me. In his infinite wisdom, my man never did let his apartment go and we will be returning to it this weekend. Can I get an amen? A heater that works, endless hot water and washing machines on every floor. A gym in the basement and a gas stove. Yep, I’m willing and might I say happy to trade in that sweet little yard for all the creature comforts of normalcy. Call me crazy but there you have it.

It’s too bad that I won’t be able to see my daffodils and irises bloom in the Spring but I guess I could just go down to Lowe’s and look at theirs every now and then, eh?

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11 thoughts on “The House of Cold

  1. What a brave woman you are! I think pioneers had more luxuries than you. 😉

    Thanks for the sympathy Mrs. V but I think maybe the pioneers had it a bit rougher. 😆
    Annie

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  2. Sorry you’ve been having such a hard time in the new house. I really enjoyed reading your thorough description of it, though. Happy New Year, btw.

    Hey Windy!
    Happy New Year to you too – as for the house…live and learn I think, eh? 😉
    Annie

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  3. Yup, I think the universe is defintely saying something to you about that house!! lol

    Glad you’ll be back in the land of creature comforts and hot water soon

    Hey B!
    Yeah and it can’t be too soon for moi, let me tell you. 😉
    Annie

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  4. having heat IS kinda nice.
    our first home had heaters like that . . it just never did get warm, though the electric bill was through the rooooof!!!
    glad you’re going back to where yo’ll be warm though ..

    Hey Red,
    Then you know??? I mean space heaters are nice if you want to put extra heat under your desk or something but in a regular house? No fricking way. Yes, we should be moved in by this weekend, thank Gawd! 😉
    Annie

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  5. Hi Annie,

    Sorry to say, but you don’t know cold. I spent two years in Saskatoon where it is quite common to have a month or so of days each winter where the high is 40 below zero. And that’s without wind chill. It’s so cold that if you breath outdoors without having face protection the skin inside your nose freezes. The first winter we were there we didn’t have our car equipped with electric heaters – all the parking spaces have electric outlets – and the motor oil froze. Solid. I wouldn’t want to go through it again, but winters in Tennessee don’t bother me at all anymore.

    the Grit

    Hey Grit,
    Well I beg to differ. I did grow up in Michigan and I remember many winters with wind chill factor at minus 40. And while I’ll agree it’s not as cold as you talk about, it’s cold enough. But in terms of the house of cold, you must remember I have been living in the land of sunshine for decades and cold to me was about 65 degrees. Going from that to mid twenties is a culture shock no matter how you slice it. Though if I manage to stay out here I suspect I will aclimate to the climate and not worry about it too much.

    🙂 Annie

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  6. Aaaah. So that explains the again moving. It can be miserably cold, and is so not fun to deal with…sorry to hear it dear. But at least you’ll have closets! Whoo hoo!

    Yup, that is the explanation all right. Yes, closets are good but heat and hot water is even better. Not exactly wild about apartment living but tradeoffs are part of life I guess. 😉
    Annie

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  7. In spite of the nature of your situation, I see you still exhibit a degree of humor in it. I feel your pain. Truly I do. I grew up with no running water, let alone hot water other than that heated in a pot on the stove. Hang in there, summer will be here before you know it. Oh, BTW, how’s your A/C?

    Hey Jim,
    Yes, I know about the no running water too. My granny had a cabin up in Maryland where we spent the summers and the water source was a handpump in the kitchen – we bathed in the lake at the foot of the hill and to wash dishes we had to heat the water on the wood burning stove. Don’t get me started on the outhouse….

    Since we’re going back to the apartment, the AC should be just fine. 😉
    Annie

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  8. Funny how in 2 months time when the chill is all but forgotten and the clothes are clean once more you’ll come back and read this little post and think “You know it really wasn’t that bad was it?”

    At that point, slap yourself in the head at least twice and remind yourself that YES it WAS!!!!

    Great read…and if it makes you feel better, all your pain just made a bunch of people laugh 😛

    Cheers,
    Kell

    Oh no, I will never think ‘it wasn’t that bad’ – not me. LOL. Yes, I’m glad that my pain gives others joy – funny how that works, eh? 😆
    Annie

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  9. When my husband and I bought our house 3 years ago, I had the same “Money Pit” feelings! I’m sorry for your pain, but, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about it. Glad you are going back to warmth and normalcy!

    Cas

    Hi Cas and welcome to my little dive. You know, if we had bought the house with the intent of doing the whole fixer upper thing it might have been so bad. But we are just renting and really when you’re renting you do expect the normal things to be there, doncha? 😉
    WC

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  10. Bummer.

    My best friend just bought her first house, and we spent a whole month “fixing” the place. When we were finally done, the result was all new paint, doors, and floors, as well as refinished tubs, sinks, and closets. And also some really sore muscles.

    I remind her regularly that she owes me.

    You bet your bippy she owes you. All that in a month? You guys must have been working 24/7 and in shifts. Jeez…no where did you say you lived? I could use some free contractors myself. 😉
    Annie

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  11. As much as I hate moving, I hate being cold even more. That apartment sounds like heaven compared to the house. So sorry to hear you’ve been going though all this. 😦

    Hey 30,
    Yeah being cold is so the pits, isn’t it? And yeah, the apartment is heaven compared to the house. It’s a shame but mostly because we’ve gone through money, hours of effort and endless bull just to go back to where we started. I am just trying to figure out exactly why life is shoving this lesson down my throat. No epiphanies yet though. Oh well, what doesn’t kill you will give you a headache, eh? 😉
    Annie

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