ASSOCIATES (2005, November, v. 12, no. 2) - associates.ucr.edu

*Library Life:
A Column Of Eclectic Rantings*

by

Katie Buller Kintner
Winneconne, Wisconsin
msm00@yahoo.com

Winter has just arrived with a bang. It is snowing, blowing and darned cold up here in the east central regions of Wisconsin. It is so cold that the little wooden cardinal spinning his wings on a pole attached to our deck is attempting to free himself to join the geese flying south. It is so cold that the wind chimes froze in mid-B flat. It is so cold that I found a state legislator with his hands in his own pockets.

Ok that last one was pushing it. Let us suffice to say itís cold.

As Iím sitting here in the den writing this, Iím wondering whether moving to a farmhouse in rural Winneconne was such a ďhotĒ idea. It now strikes me as being a rather cold one. We got our statement from the gas and electric company and even on the budget plan, we found ourselves having to ďcatch upĒ from last winter. This means that we had a $365.00 monthly bill to pay for six months. Now that it is caught up, the bill should drop almost $100.00 but Iím on a campaign to make it drop much further. In order to facilitate this, I have closed the door on the den and turned its gas heater off permanently. Instead, I have a little ceramic heater blowing directly onto my feet. It helps but it is still a frigid 42 degrees in this room. Yikes!

Hubby has gone around to all the doors and put in better insulation to help too so now even with the thermostat set at 67 degrees, itís still more or less comfortable in the rest of the house provided you wear a couple of sweaters, long johns and thick socks. Donít forget your woolen Packers stocking cap. Of course, now that electric heat is cheaper than gas, we have brought in a couple of electric heaters to help keep the furnace from going on. One sits in the living room, not far from the thermostat and the other one is in the bird room.

Yes, I said bird room. Those of you who have known me for a while may remember that I have a pair of parrots, both descended from African ancestors. Now before you start thinking bird flu, you must remember that I have had both of these birds since they were babies and on their last health check, they were both in good shape. The oldest is about 12 years old and the other around 10, and I fully expect them both to live to ripe old ages.

But back to the heating businessóbeing African birds, they expect their room to be in the 80 degree range or so. Right. Theyíve had their heater on since mid-October though, so if you want to warm up, be my guest and go sit on a folding chair in the bird room. It is very comfortable in there but itís not 80 degrees. Sorry, birds. But I do have sympathy for my plucker, who is closest to the window. Iím debating whether to cover the window and deny him his precious view outside or to leave it uncovered and knit him a little birdie sweater, which he would dismantle immediately, thread by thread.

So the cold has me rethinking our decision to move into this rental house. Maybe it wasnít such a great idea right now, but wait until spring and Iíll change my mind. There are four different kinds of lilacs in the front yard, a full acre of grass and trees and the kind of quiet you can only get in the country. Sitting on the front porch and being nose to beak with a hummingbird checking me out is just this close to heaven. And tonight, if the clouds are gone, you will see Orion filling the sky with majesty and the Pleiades twinkling above. So rethink I will, but Iím sure Iíll come to the same decision. It may be cold now but in the spring, the sun will warm us up enough to last us through another winter.

Happy holidays to everyone and make sure you stay safe. Weíll be cuddled up here together in front of the electric heater!



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