Friday, December 08, 2006

Hot and Cold

I like to fancy myself a relatively easy-going, flexible, and open-minded fellow, and about some things, I am: students turning in papers late, mountains or shore for vacation, whether the toilet paper goes over or under the roll.

But about some things, my inner control freak comes out: piles of magazines on tables, lights left on when nobody’s home, granola in bags rather than containers.

These though, pale in comparison to the area where my Captain Bligh meets Felix Unger self truly emerges: the household thermostat.

All winter long, I enter my home, wait for my glasses to defog, and then, even before I remove my helmet, slide through the kitchen into the living room where I cast a surreptitious glance at our home’s temperature control before—inevitably—turning it down a few degrees.

I’ve tried to stop, but I just can’t help myself. When the house is already warm and the heater continues to pump forced air through the vents, it just makes me nuts.

I realize that I’m usually arriving indoors after a stimulating bike ride, that I’m wearing lots of layers, and that by and large, I run a bit warmer than the people I live with. But even possessed of this understanding, my fingers stray uncontrollably to the raised plastic circle that controls our home’s heater and, without fail, turn it to the left.

This phenomenon marks me as your clichéd dad and husband; even Dave Barry has probably written a piece about this, but so be it. I’m one of those typical middle-aged guys who tells his family to put on more sweaters if they’re cold.

Insufferable as I am, I’ve even been known to appeal to environmental concerns as the basis for my heat-miserliness. “Hey! We’re using up fossil fuels here! Turn down the heat or soon, we won’t ever even have cold weather.”

I may keep the house cold, but I’m sure my family thinks I really burn them up.


Anonymous lm said...

i'm afraid you epitomize the stereotypical anal-retentive father when it comes to the thermostat. even family guy paid homage to this intriguing phenomenon in the "death has a shadow" episode:

Meg: Mom, can I turn the heat up?

Lois: Oh, don't touch the thermostat, Meg. Your father gets upset.

Meg: Come on. This thing goes up to 90.

Meg turns up the heat for the thermostat up to 65 degrees

Peter bursts into the kitchen

Peter: Who touched the thermostat?

Meg: God, how does he always know?

Peter: Brain implant, Meg. Every father's got one. Tells you when the children are messing with the dial.

A man bursts into the kitchen from the outside door.

Random Guy #1: Hey Peter, my thing went off! Your thermostat okay?

Peter: Yeah, it's all right.

Random Guy #2: Hey, is my kid over here?

Random Guy #1: Yeah, forget it! False alarm!

A third guy's head pops up behind the first two guys' heads

11:09 PM  

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