April 20, 2014
Stare at power bill to warm up PDF Print E-mail

Greetings from the Ridge.
I thought I had reached the age when nothing could really shock me. Earthquakes, terrorist attacks, reality TV. . . nothing short of the Second Coming could raise an eyebrow. Then I opened our lastest power bill. Holy killowatt.
Herb’s mouth was equally agape. He said, “Freida, that’s more than we paid for our first car.”
“Herb, that’s more than we paid for our first two cars…and our first cow.”
TV weathermen are amateurs. If you want a real and accurate forecast then watch the rate hikes announced by the power companies. They never miss a record-breaking heat or cold wave.
Oh, they play a little charade giving loads of advice on how to save energy, hoping to God that you don’t actually take it. I logged in to see the “great, money-saving tips” encouraged by our company. Their pithy list included buying a humidifier, opening the drapes on sunny days, and running your ceiling fan in the reverse position. Well, put that all together and you might have the price of a cup of coffee. Nowhere on their list does it mention finding an alternative power source. Strange. Probably an innocent omission on their part.
Today’s power companies remind me of a dentist we used to visit long ago. He’d warn you about taking care of your teeth then let you go back to the waiting room where he’d laid our bowls of free candy.
I’ve come up with a better list and unlike the utility company I won’t take a nickel for my services:
Pack up the husband, the kids, the dog, and go visit somebody warmer. Oh, I don’t mean you have to visit long-lost cousin Elbert who runs that massage parlor in Miami or your incomprehensible Aunt Sophie who became a California nudist. No, the warmer-family-than-you might be just across town. Heck, they might be your next-door neighbors. I promise you that it won’t cost them another dime by adding your family to theirs. In fact, if your clan still has a pulse by the time you arrive you’ll actually lower their heat cosumption.
Think of it as dieting. The most recent studies claim that spending your days in a 62-degree room versus an area heated to 72, you will lose 3 pounds a week. You can’t cheat and overdose on Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream to help fight off the cold. If you try to use logic like that then people will mistake you for a power company.
Dress in layers. Yes, you’ve heard this advice a-plenty, but I’m not talking about clothing. When the weather gets really raw layer yourself in anything. Anything! Lamp shades, throw rugs, advertising fliers, beach towels . . . anything to add a little warmth to your body and conversation to the streets of your town when you go out in public.
Your body loses several degrees of temperature every evening, so consider walking while your sleeping. Clear a little path around your house so you won’t wake the rest of the family, then while they all go to their beds to sleep, you can sleepwalk. I can hear it now. . . That’s ridiculous, Freida! You can’t walk around while being completely unconscious! Remind me to introduce you to my husband Herb some day.
They taught us back in seventh grade that the main cause of heat is friction. So go around town starting fights. You won’t have to stay until they’re over, just cause a little trouble, say something incindiary, then move on.
Call a friend or relative who lives north of you and have them describe the weather. You don’t have to take any particular joy in their misery, but there’s nothing that can make you warmer than talking to someone who’s colder.
Get out your wedding pictures. Laughter is warming.
If you’re a conservative, watch MSNBC. If you’re liberal, sit down for an afternoon of Fox News. If you’re into the Tea Party, watch any news network. The warmth will begin somewhere around your belly button then slowly spread outward.
Of course the greatest way to heat up your house at abosolutely no cost would be to sit and stare at your power bill. Feel the edges, hear it sizzle, think what else that money could buy, think of the starving kids in China…then feel the heat as it begins around your reddening neck and slowly travels up and down your angry spine. Fifteen minutes of this and you can turn, run downstairs and turn off the furnace.
You ever in Coonridge, stop by. We may not answer the door but you'll enjoy the trip.