A Confession

10.06.10 | Cecil Van Houten | Comments[4]

Well, I did it.  I tried not to for as long as possible.  I wrestled with it.  I struggled...kind of like Paul when he said he didn't do the things he wanted to do and instead did the thing he hated.  Well, I did one of those things.  I resisted as long as I could but ultimately I yielded.  Last night I turned on the heat in our house.

I know.  I heard you gasp.  But surely you understand.  Surely you've struggled with the same issue and won't hold it against me.  Maybe you've even done it already.  To put it in context, being of Dutch heritage, I'm pretty frugal.  (Some would say "cheap".)  But more than the first day of fall on the calendar, more than the leaves turning beautiful shades of yellow and orange and red, more than the Christmas candy that's already taking up shelf space at Wegmans - I gauge the beginning of fall (and then winter) by when I first turn on the heat.  I try to put it off as long as possible but I'm only a man.   

Our house is 150 years old, built sturdily of brick, but...there's very little insulation and it's always cool inside.  That's great in the summer when it's 95 degrees outside.  Since we don't have air conditioning, the natural cooling is nice.  But when the temperatures drop, they drop proportionately inside.  So last night we were in the living room and it was chilly.  Connie checked the thermostat and it read 58 degrees.  We looked at each other and with a sigh of resignation I nodded to her and she cranked it up to 72.  (You have to understand that because the heating system is old and not terribly efficient, putting the thermostat into the 70's usually yields a temperature somewhere in the upper 60's but that's part of the charm of an older home.  At least that's what they tell me.)

Don't get me wrong.  I love fall.  In fact, it's my favorite season.  It's refreshing and colorful.  Like spring, it provides a dramatic visual contrast as things turn brown, the leaves fall off the trees and the skies prepare for the winter to come.  In a way it makes me think of the cycles of life, from the renewal and new life of spring to the inevitable, crisp conclusion that comes each October and November.  To me it's a very spiritual time, a time for reflection and introspection. 

Still, I welcome fall grudgingly because I know that winter will follow and the older I get the less I enjoy winter.  In fact, I don't enjoy it at all, hot chocolate and fires in the fireplace aside.  So when it comes time to turn on the furnace for the first time, you know the countdown has begun and you have no choice but to trudge forward through the cold, dark winter months.  All six of them.  (OK, it only seems like six.)

So forgive me for yielding to temptation.  I tried to resist, I really did.  But in the end my human frailty won out.  I have no excuse.  Oh, and there's one other thing.  This morning I pulled out my sweaters and put one on for the first time this season.  And it's only October 6th...we've got a long way to go.



Your Comments(please keep them on topic and polite)

on 10.11.10 Tod Eagleton commented

Thanks a lot, Cecil! My wife considers me to be "extravagantly frugal"... when she reads your confession I'm certain she will say something like, "If Cecil's family can have heat, why can't we?" God bless!

on 10.12.10 Darla Kimmey commented

I'm with you - the older I get he less I like winter. Can't we have the beauty of pristine white snow on the lawn without the cold and need to shovel the driveway?

on 10.12.10 Darla Kimmey commented

I'm with you - the older I get he less I like winter. Can't we have the beauty of pristine white snow on the lawn without the cold and need to shovel the driveway?

on 10.18.10 Judy commented

Hey Cecil..

Thanks for the light-hearted blog (for me that is)! It was an enjoyable read from this side of the situation, but do pray for some kind of contentment (in not worrying about the heat costs) for Connie and you during this high heat turn up temperature months...I am renting for the first time and it is so nice not putting money into heat that kept the outside the window creatures warm (I am sure)... :) Take care, Judy