Sunday, December 25, 2011
A Christmas Carol-ish
I hate being cold. Really, I do. I’m very delicate that way. But what I hate even more is having a $900 heating bill for one month, which I had one winter. It wasn’t even unusually cold that year, not for Chicago, but prices for natural gas were even more through the roof than usual.
So of course, I’m very conscious of the need to keep the heat at reasonable, i.e. low, temperatures. Or rather, at least the 66-68 as dictated by the city, since I have a tenant, Kathleen, and for some reason the politicians won’t let me freeze people out, dammit. But even with having an adjustable thermostat and keeping the temps down, I still wind up with heating bills that are $500+ a month during the winter. Which sucks.
And while Kathleen is a great tenant, she’s also the type of person who is always cold. Always. So I stopped letting the temperature adjust down, and just keep it at a constant 68-70 these days, which is highway robbery in my book, but it’s the most I’m willing to do. Oh, I know Kathleen still thinks it’s cold, but I’m not made of money here.
The Kone and I are snuggled on the couch, having our ‘nog and bonbons, when there’s a knock on the door.
“Harrumph,” I mutter, “who pray tell could that be?”
Kathleen, at the door looking all shivery like a wee street urchin: Hi, umm, it’s pretty cold out there tonight, about 14 degrees, and windy, and it’s kind of cold upstai….
Me: ‘Tis a fine excuse for picking a man’s pocket every December!
(I find it helpful to transition into Dickensian speak at such times.)
Me: Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses??
Me: Bah! A humbug I say! A humbug!
Me: Good day!
Kathleen: But it’s not da….
Me: I said, GOOD DAY!
I look at the thermostat and drop the temp down a notch, just because. Hmph.
Even later that evening
The Kone has wandered off for his nightly ablutions, and when he comes back, he as usual insists I move over so he can have my spot on the couch.
Me: Koney, you’re such a sillums, my little Chunkers, you…….wait……what’s this?
Kona is maneuvering so he’s buried under the blankie, and now, he’s trying to nestle his head under there as well.
Me, horrified: Koney! Are you cold? Is my poor little monkey-chunky a bit chillums? No no nonononono……….this cannot stand! This will not stand!
I run to the back of the house, make sure the heating element back there is cranked up, then dash back to the front and turn the little space heater on. Then, the coup d’grace, I beeline to the thermostat and crank that puppy up. Then pile more blankets on The Kone so he doesn’t get a chill, and so he defrosts from the block of ice he had surely turned into. Poor baby.
And so, as The Kone and I snuggle on the couch with the furnace blasting, heating bills be damned, and I wonder how we can get that really big turkey to Bob Cratchit on Christmas morning for his poor wife to slave over plucking and cooking as if she doesn’t have enough to do with the blasted Christmas pudding….the words of Tiny Tim come to mind.
“Papa, you hold old mistah Scrooge down while I kick ‘em!”
Okay okay, not those. Not from when Scrooge was still in his pre-ghostly-visitation Republican let-them-eat-cake phase. But the later ones.
“God bless us, every one!”
Merry Christmas to all…..