Yesterday I woke up to a comforter that was cold to the touch. I knew that meant only one thing. The rest of my apartment was going to be like the frozen tundra. I stepped out of bed to find a chill in the air, the floor cold and worst of all, the toilet seat absolutely freezing. Total “bum”mer. (You’re welcome.)
Most people in NYC complain of their heat being too hot. Every winter they throw open their windows to let some cold air in to relieve them of the sauna that is their abode. but every winter for the past 14, I’ve had the opposite experience.
Lately it hasn’t been too bad and I, too, have had to open the window from time to time, but as soon as the temps hit 20˚ or below, it’s an icebox. On the flipside, when it gets to be 40˚ or higher, it’s the Sahara.
Since it was MLK day, I decided to work from home and I began my day in the last place I wanted to be. My bed. I generally don’t like working in my bed because:
It’s easy to go to sleep. (I have yet to do this, but the temptation is there.)
It’s not the most comfortable place to work.
Let’s face it, it’s not good feng shui. :)
I blogged in bed and then had to move. Mostly because I hadn’t eaten breakfast. So I put on some long underwear, a fleece, thick wool socks and braced myself. As expected, it was bitter cold. I couldn’t see my breath, but I could still feel the chill in the air. I quickly made myself some coffee and some yogurt with fruit and plopped down on the couch.
I cranked up the space heater to its highest setting (surprisingly not 11, it’s 90) and placed it right in front of me. Otherwise, I won’t feel it.
I grabbed my laptop, which was freezing to the touch and inspected my apartment to see if the radiator was working. There were years where it wasn’t, I had it replaced and it’s still not much better.
I walked over, waved my hand over it, felt no heat coming off of it and placed my hand directly on the radiator. This wasn’t the first time I’ve done this. I kept it there for about 5-10 seconds and texted my super right away. A little bit later I could hear some clanking, which usually means he’s turned it up.
But it was still cold.
I spoke to a friend who said, “You know what the best way to warm up is?”
“What?” I asked.
“Go outside for just a little bit and when you come back, it’ll be warmer.”
She’s in California.
While technically this is accurate, I wasn’t going to subject myself to the intense winds and bitter cold temperatures. I’d rather stay inside and suffer.
Then, I remembered that I had leftover rubber foam that I could use for weather stripping. I raced to my closet and to my surprise, found it in about five minutes.
Warmth and comfort would be mine!
Only thing was that I didn’t have enough, so I had to be judicious with what I used where. Could I have bought some more? Of course, but that would mean I had to go outside. No, thanks.
I inspected all the windows where air was coming through, put some on one window in my living room/kitchen/office and then went into my bedroom. About a month ago, I had trouble with this window, it was off-balance and my super had looked into it. He was waiting for a part.
As a result of this window being off-kilter, the icy cold wind was pouring into my room. I tried to adjust it and it was no use. I placed my last piece of weather stripping on the area where the wind was the worst and shoved a wad of bubble wrap into a corner where the wind was ripping through.
Then, I texted my super asking if he had gotten the part and I received an answer in Spanish and one in English that I still don’t understand. I again told him I could touch the radiators, asked him politely to turn up the heat and told him my space heater wasn’t enough.
I tried my best to do my work. Could I have gone to a coffee shop? Yes, but a) I have a special keyboard that I use and b) did I mention it was freaking cold outside?!
I picked up a glass of water that I had had sitting there for the past few hours. The glass was cold to the touch and the water was even colder than when I poured it.
This is bullshit.
I texted my super that it got too cold for me, so I left around 5:00 p.m. I told him that if he didn’t take care of it, I was calling 311.
I threw a fleece and sweatpants on over my long underwear, put on my sleeping bag of a coat, a hat and a thick headband and ran off to the hardware store to pick up more weather stripping.
Then, I dashed off to catch another SAG screening - a “Bohemian Rhapsody” Sing-a-long. I wasn’t going to go, but I needed a place to stay warm and technically, as a SAG Awards voter, I need to be watching all of the films and shows before the end of the month.
I ran into the theater so quickly that I was actually hot and very grateful to be so.
The lights went down, the 20th Century Fox music started to play and then everything stopped.
Are you fucking kidding me?
The crowd starting stomping their feet and clapping their hands like they do in “We Will Rock You.” It was hilarious and then about five minutes later the movie began.
I loved it, I loved singing along and most of all, I loved being warm.
When it was over, I had three texts from my super telling me that he sealed my bedroom window. Great.
I returned home to find my bedroom a tiny bit warmer, but the rest of my place was just as cold. I fired up the space heater and texted my super. He said he’d turn it up a little and I went to bed.
Did it make a difference? Not really. Am I the only one freezing in my building? No, my neighbor upstairs was cold, too. Will I call 311 if I have to? You better believe it.
The point is that my self-care today was truly taking care of my wellbeing and not being pushed around. That felt good - so good, in fact, that I let a difficult client go, too. And if that makes me as cold as ice, then that’s the kind of cold I can live with.
Are you good about taking care of yourself? Speaking up for your needs? Are you also cold all the time? How do you combat it in the winter? Tell me below.