Last week I received an email from a producer at the Weather Channel. They were looking for people to participate in their "58-Degree Challenge" on the "Weekend View". While we do still keep our thermostat set low (62 day/50 night), I could not really give them what they were looking for - specifically a short video showing what we do to stay warm, "i.e. bundling up in snuggies, using the family pet as a lap-warmer, etc". You see, none of that is necessary for us to keep warm, we just are.
For the past two years I (and my family against their will) have participated in Crunchy Chicken's "Freeze Yer Buns" Challenge. After burning through exorbitant amounts of fuel oil the first year in our "new" 106-year old home with the thermostat set at only 62-degrees, the following year I cranked it down to 55 and signed on for the challenge.
That was last year and it was brutal. Spending the day at home required wearing half your wardrobe! Long underwear were a must. Top that with multiple layers of pants, t-shirts, sweatshirts, socks, and it was not uncommon to see me sporting scarves and gloves in the house either. We lived in robes and slippers all hours of the day. Slippers and heavy socks were needed to keep our feet from freezing on the cold uninsulated hardwood floors. Robes added another layer of insulation to keep our core temperature from dropping. Hot chocolate, hot showers, lots of baking, anything to keep warm-ish. I add "ish" because we were never really warm. Come April 55-degrees will feel wonderfully warm, but 55-degrees inside your home in the middle of winter in Wisconsin is anything but. My palm tree died, my bread never rose, my nose always ran, my washer froze along with the clothes in it, and we froze our buns off. Last year I would have had tons of fodder for the Weather Channel's challenge!
This year, not so much. Last Fall we replaced our extremely inefficient fuel-oil furnace with a brand-spanking new high-efficiency natural gas one. Not having any experience with the cost of natural gas, I was not about to go hog-wild and crank the thermostat to 70, but a few degree increase could not hurt. We have received two full-month's heating bills thus far and the savings are considerable. Pleased with a bill one-fourth of what we were paying the previous year, I agreed to turn up the heat.
We settled on 62-degrees during the day and 50-degrees overnight. 62-degrees our first year in this home felt cold, but after enduring last year's 55-degree deep-freeze, 62 is nice and toasty. In fact, some days it feels too toasty. I cannot believe I am saying so, but it is true. Even hubby has commented on it. No long underwear, no hot chocolate, no multiple layers, and no scarves or gloves indoors! We are warm. Socks and slippers are still a must, hopefully next Fall we will be adding insulation, but life has returned to normal - for us. Guests still think our house is cold, but we really know what cold is. It is amazing what people are able to adapt to. While 70 may be comfortable for you, I think we would melt. I remember days when the temperature never dipped below 70 in our house. It was not all that long ago! Now I cannot conceive the needle rising over 64.
While I would like to participate in the Weather Channel's challenge, loafing around in normal everyday attire doing the same things that people who do use their heat, somehow does not seem news worthy. Rather unexciting news if nothing else. We are on board for this year's "Freeze Yer Buns" challenge, although it does not feel like much of a challenge anymore. I definitely do not feel like going back to 55-degrees, but maybe we could turn down a degree or two? Who knows, after 4 or 5 years of adapting to lower and lower temperatures we may be saying 55 is too toasty. Nah!