Thermostat Wars

I like a cool house. My lovely wife likes it on the warm side. This time of year, that can be a difficult balance to maintain. And so begin the (cue Lucas-esque epic theme music)...Thermostat Wars!


Uh-oh. There's a certain way that a woman can shout her husband's name across a house. The way she stretches it into two syllables, that's not good. It tells you you've done something wrong and need to address it the most accomodating "yes, dear" way you can. Or else. Guys, you know exactly what I'm talking about. So it is in this manner that I was summoned by my wife the other morning.

I'm at the coffee pot, barefoot, in a pair of boxers and a ratty old Skynard t-shirt. She comes out of the bedroom wearing three pairs of socks, a hooded sweater, and mittens. She's wrapped in an electric blanket that is still plugged in. She's trailing the extention cord.

"Did you turn off the heat?"

Of course I had turned off the heat. It was like 85 degrees of that dry, stagnant heat that is generated from a central system. She had the ceiling fan turned off. My throat was dry. So I adjusted the thermostat before I went to bed. Slightly. 62 degrees. Much better. Naturally, she didn't appreciate the fact that she woke up to frost on the countertops. Or that she could see her breath.

We seem to do this every fall. She turns the heat up, I turn it down. It always begins the same way. The first day of the first cold snap that always happens during this odd season that passes for fall in North Georgia. I dread that little blip of cold in our generally mild indian summers. I know what it means for me.

Let that tempeature dip below 60 measly degrees, and out comes the extra blanket. It's one of those heat-conserving deals. Hoo boy, does it ever. You could wrap a turkey and bake it in the one on our bed. And that's before she puts it under the down comforter.

She's snug as a bug in a rug underneath all that. I feel like I'm wearing a wool parka to a sauna. So I do what every red-blooded guy in this country would do, given a similar situation. I put my foot down. Sorta. If untucking the blanket(s) from the bottom of the bed on my side and sleeping with my feet sticking out counts as putting my foot down, then yes, I put my foot down.

Hey, I do value her comfort. Really. So I make do and try to deal with it. Besides, It's not like I'm gonna win this battle. Ever.

Take the thermostat. She likes to set it around 73. I would prefer it around 68. Every year, we reach the same compromise: 73. She is content; I make snide remarks about frying eggs on the floor.

Then one night, she drifts off before I go to bed. I chance a teeny tiny adjustment to the temperature before I hit the hay. Then I turn on the ceiling fan, the little fan on my nightstand, the box fan at the foot of my bed, and (just for the heck of it) the little vent fan in the bathroom.
I know I'm going to catch grief in the morning, but for the moment...


Well, I did catch plenty of grief for that little stunt. Soon enough the heater is set back at 73. I am certain there is some kind of mathmatical formula that adjusts that tempature to what it actually feels like instead of what it actually is. Kind of like the heat index, which in this case would be about 104.

Alas, t'was but a fleeting moment of crisp, cool air. I enjoyed every second of it, and look forward to the next time. Of course there will be a next time. Just as soon as I figure out how to get past the booby traps she set on the control knob.

Sharon Swanepoel November 04, 2011 at 10:47 AM
This battle continues in my household - and I'm guessing across the country - only I'm the one who wants it cold (my family claims you could hang meat in my house if I had my way). My husband is the one wrapped in sweaters even in mid summer. His standard response to an accusatory, "Did you adjust the temperature?" is, "You know I wouldn't dare."
Patty Burgess November 04, 2011 at 12:16 PM
I'm with you, Sharon. My husband was always cold and slept under an electric blanket year round while wearing flannel pjs and socks. He did this so that I could sleep with the thermostat set at 62 and with the ceiling fan on over our bed. Now that I'm alone I keep my house no warmer than 62 (55 over night) unless I have someone visiting.
Jeffrey Allen November 04, 2011 at 03:12 PM
62 Sounds downright comfy, if you asked me
David Binder November 04, 2011 at 03:33 PM
At least that's one thing my wife & I agree on. We keep ours on 73 all year round. My house isn't the best insulated so it seems ok. My wife sleeps under a sheet & a blanket. I'm on top of it all. But there's peace around our thermostat. Are you on the side of the bed near the window ? Next time it gets stuffy try cracking the window open a little.
Scott Bernarde (Editor) November 04, 2011 at 07:19 PM
Our thermostat hasn't been touched yet since the weather broke. We'll see how many more chilly nights we can stand.
Jeffrey Allen November 04, 2011 at 08:03 PM
73 Isn't just a setting on the thermostat around here. Its ab absolute, THE temperature constant. Opening the window would clearly violate that accord. Not that it hasn't happened, but...
David November 06, 2011 at 08:21 PM
If she were up early cooking breakfast, cleaning house, etc. while you earn a living supporting the family, she wouldn't be so cold. Grow a pair man!
Sharon Swanepoel November 06, 2011 at 09:09 PM
You're a brave man, David. :)
Jeffrey Allen November 06, 2011 at 09:46 PM
Neither the temperature nor calendar was in the 50's, man. My wife works about 45 hrs a week.
David November 07, 2011 at 03:35 AM
Do you have kids? Who raises them for you while she works?
Santa John Dreggors November 08, 2011 at 12:47 PM
I hope my family doesn't read this. We keep ours 79-80 in the summer & 68-69 in the winter. Seems everyone acclimated to it and if someone comes to visit we adjust a little for their comfort. We don't have thermostat police it just works out that way. We may not be Jackson EMC or Buford Gas fav customer


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