Wednesday, December 7, 2011

When it's Cold in Houston...

Cold weather in Houston seems unnatural. Awkward almost. Like Niles Crane in a football uniform or something. When I'm cold in Houston I feel like Houston is trying to be something it's not. Heat, humidity, steam, and sun - that is Houston's natural state.

This image came up when I googled "snow in Houston". Ha.
Since I moved to my new apartment at the beginning of October, I have been more acutely experiencing the weather in Houston. For most of the fall it was still warm and humid. Therefore, my apartment was warm and humid. I have a small window AC unit, but I think it doesn't work properly, needs the filter changed, or window AC units just suck in general. This is my first experience with a window unit, but I will say it doesn't seem to keep me cool unless I'm standing directly in front of it without any clothes on. Not that I do that.

In the past week or so Houston has gotten cold. And I don't mean just cold for Houston (we get chilly in the 60's). I mean actual cold. Cold as in 30's and 40's. That's cold, right? And while my apartment has a crappy little AC, it has no heating element whatsoever. Unless you count the oven, which sometimes I do.

My first night in my apartment since it's turned cold, it dawned on me rather quickly, that wearing a sweatshirt and piling a couple of extra blankets on my bed was not going to suffice. I made a quick trip to Target and purchased a small space heater and an electric blanket. God bless the person who invented electric blankets. When it's cold in your home, there is nothing better than getting in a toasty, electric blanket-heated bed! It's heavenly and makes the cold actually kind of fun. The only problem is, now I don't want to get out of bed in the morning. Warm electric blanket versus frigidly cold apartment? The only thing that helps is knowing that I can drink coffee with this creamer (I only drink it at Christmas time):

For some reason last night's cold was especially bad. At one point I could see my breath. In my home. Cold. My toes felt numb. The water from the faucet was so cold it hurt while I was brushing my teeth. My computer was too cold to touch (stupid aluminum). My facial moisturizer felt like it had been in the refrigerator. All my clothes feel like they've been in the fridge. My towel doesn't dry after my shower.

My solutions? Coffee. Wine. Cooking stuff in the oven because it heats the whole kitchen. The famous electric blanket. The space heater (which is really only effective if it's pointed directly at you and at close range). Hot baths. Hot showers. Sweatshirts. Long socks. Boots. Scarves. My coat I bought for Chicago. I haven't worn gloves in my house, but that might be next. House slippers. Layers. Flannel pajama pants.

This probably sounds crazy to people who are accustomed to cold weather, but in Houston it's really pretty novel. I'm actually excited that I get to wear my flannel pajamas and that they actually keep me warm instead of having to peel them off in the middle of the night because I'm too hot. That's what I keep telling myself: to enjoy wearing scarves, sweatshirts, and a coat because it's so rare in this part of the state.

I'm also looking at the overall situation of lacking central heat/AC in my apartment as an opportunity to experience life more fully. We live in a modern society where we can make it feel like winter inside when it's really 112 degrees outside. But for most people, throughout history, they've had to experience the elements. If it was cold or hot outside, they were cold or hot inside. So, I try and glamorize and romanticize it that way. Like I'm a character in a book set in the 1700's or something.

It's also more natural, creative, and cheap. I like the idea of acting appropriately for the season. Dressing warm in the winter, eating and drinking hearty, warm things seems appropriate. Dressing lightly in the summer and eating fresh fruits and drinking cold drinks also seems appropriate. Not having central heat/AC saves a lot on my electric bill as well.

I have no idea how long I will live in this apartment, but for now I'm really enjoying it....cold and all. Plus, this is Houston, it could be back in 70's by this weekend. I love this city.

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