Monday, February 6, 2012

I'm Hot, She's Cold


Kellie and I met and married in Hawaii.  The first home we shared in military housing had neither a heating system nor an air conditioning unit; both were simply unnecessary on an island where the daily high temperature averaged about 80 degrees Fahrenheit and the daily low temperature averaged about 65 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lacking a thermostat, there were no arguments about the temperature.

Our climatic harmony evaporated after we moved to the state of Washington in July of 2002.  As fall approached and the temperatures declined, the marital warming debate started to heat up. I preferred the Hawaiian nights and fought to keep the temperature at 65 degrees.  Kellie preferred the Hawaiian daytime temperatures and wanted to keep the house at a balmy 80 degrees.  

So began a running battle over the control of the thermostat.  She covertly raises the temperature and I clandestinely lower it.  The fight has spilled over into our automobiles.  When we're in my car, she turns up the heat and warns me not to touch the setting.  So, I just crack open my window to bleed off the excess heat, and, in turn, she angrily raises the temperature setting even further.  We repeat this tit-for-tat until the sound of the rushing wind from my fully open window drowns out our bickering.  

The situation in her car is only slightly better.  Kellie’s car has dual climate control; she sets her side to 80 degrees and I set mine to 65 degrees, creating a storm front right between our seats.  Kellie drives a Lexus SC 430, and it’s ludicrous to think that a car with an interior volume the size of a small coffin could actually maintain two separate temperature zones.  While we can each set our own temperature, there is only a single control for the fan.  Kellie likes to have the fan blow hot air on her feet, while I like to have the cool air blowing in my face.  These two options are mutually exclusive.  When we’re in her car, the battle shifts to a fight over the control of the fan. So, I just crack open my window to bleed off the excess heat, and, in turn, she angrily raises the temperature setting.  We repeat the tit-for-tat until the sound of the rushing wind from my fully open window drowns out our bickering.  

Today, wherever there’s a thermostat there’s an argument.  Sometimes it seems just like World War One: both sides are fighting fiercely, but no one is gaining any ground.  Fortunately for me, menopause has started to shift the battle lines.  Today, if Kellie raises the thermostat, I don’t immediately lower it.  Instead, I just wait for the next hot flash, which occurs with blistering regularity.  Every 45 minutes, sooner if she pushes the temperature up too high, a hot flash whips her into a febrile frenzy; she frantically sheds layers of clothing, opens windows, and starts screaming at me to lower the thermostat to arctic. 

It seemed as if I was finally going to win the climate debate.  Just as victory was within reach, Kellie overcame her pathological aversion to doctors and obtained a prescription for estrogen.   The battle continues.

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