January 23, 2007

Brr... it's cold.

The sun has abandoned us. For the past three days, we have experienced some pretty cold weather. So cold that we are sleeping with four blankets on the bed, and we walk around the house in the morning with hats and gloves. How cold, you ask? Highs in the 50s degrees, lows … no idea, actually. Now you’re calling us wussies. Yes, yes, we heard… it’s snowing in Portland. A lot. And in Seattle. And even in Tucson!

But we have no heat in our house. And since our house consists of tile floors and brick walls, it is actually colder inside our house than outside. Brilliant for the hot summers, but right now it stinks. We bought an electric heater, and it helps, but the house is incredibly drafty. One window in the kitchen leaks so badly that when the wind blows, the curtain blows out 2-3 inches (yes, with the window shut!). We have taped up the cracks in the windows in the bedroom so the heat from the electric heater does not escape so quickly. There is also no heat at school. In fact, very few places around here have heat, not even so much as baseboard heat. So, although where we are it is much warmer outside than where you are, inside I would bet it’s much colder. There is little escaping the cold other than taking a brisk walk or run, or curling up in a ball under the covers – and neither is a sure thing.

PLUS we don’t have hot water.

Just kidding. We have hot water, one of the few blessings we can count for warmth.

But one small electric heater, plus drafty windows and no carpeting, makes for a cold night. It also gives us chilly feet, fingertips and noses during the day if we’re sedentary too long. So don’t envy us too much for being in sunny Mexico while you’re freezing your butts off in the snow. We’re freezing our butts off, too.

What’s more is we can’t even cuddle to get warm. Not only is our bed actually two twin beds pushed together (which makes it hard to cuddle to begin with), but Brady has severely bruised ribs right now due to a blow he took during his soccer game two weeks ago. He is playing on a men’s league in Guaymas, and having a lot of fun, but that game was brutal on him. He was not able to work two days last week. He can barely sleep, he’s in so much pain. And cuddling with Natalie is dangerous sport, as she’s not terribly gentle by nature, even when she tries extra hard, so cuddling is out.

But Brady’s bruised ribs have led us to bless the heat-retaining abilities of rocks. Brady wanted an electric heating pad for his back. Well, they don’t seem to sell them anywhere within a 45-minute drive of us. So, we have resorted to rocks. We collected eight flat rocks from the beach. We put them in the oven for 20-30 minutes, then put them on top of a towel on Brady’s back to loosen his muscles and speed the healing process in his ribs. And the discovery led us to realize a hot rock under your sheets by your feet as you’re going to sleep feels about as close to luxurious as we will likely experience all year.

This is Natalie working hard on an article, a rather sedentary activity that last week required a fleece hat, a fleece sleeping bag wrapped around her from the chest down, two pairs of socks plus a jacket wrapped around her feet (and her feet were still cold until she made Blondie sit on them), and hot tea readily available from a thermos.

Time to go take a hot shower then jump under the covers with some hot rocks.

p.s. – We were invited to a wedding Saturday night, the mother (mexicana) and stepfather (minnesotan) of one of Brady’s students. Here is a picture. It was a very nice wedding in an old, quaint church in San Carlos.

Check our our flickr page for pictures of Christmas in Tucson, plus some beautiful pictures off our balcony and from a boat tour we took of San Carlos in early December.
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R Falconer said...

So sorry to hear that your place is so cold, however it sounds like you've come up with some good alternatives.

I'm really glad that you're having such a wonderful time in Mexico, and I can't wait for your return to Portland. We all miss you!


Anonymous said...

How's the Mexican mail system? We would send you a heating pad if you think you would get it.

Smart idea with the hot rocks! Just looking at your picture makes me cold! Hopefully the weather has gotten warmer like it has here. I was actually driving in snow in Scottsdale on Sunday!

Love Christie

Randy said...

We have a thing that Sara always uses, because we are not allowed to turn on the heat, that I think is just uncooked barley in a bag (a sock would do) we microwave it for a couple of minutes and it stays hot for about an hour, just in case you get tired of cooking rocks! I guess you all are just getting a little dose of home to make you homesick, is it working? Good to hear from you, hope the warmness finds you soon. It is supposed to be sunny here for the next couple of weeks, some sort of weird El Nino reversal?

O'Sherm said...

Sooo, can you microwave the rocks? Or just in the oven? Mmmm, reheated rocks.

Miss you guys! Can't wait to meet up again soon. Eat some Okra, etc.

Peter and Travis said...

Hey Bennons! I can second the advice about microwaving a sock or pillow case with barley in it. When I had jaw surgery, I used to microwave a sock full of uncooked basmati rice as a heat compress. Works great, but the basmati smell, which I love, got old after a while, so stick with plain arroz, 'kay?

Your balcony view is gorgeous! We miss you guys.

peter and travis

Michael said...

I'd recommend baking potatoes as an alternative to the rocks. Not only do they serve as great pocket warmers and heat compresses but they make a yummy snack when they cool down. Granted, the rocks are reuseable but, since you'd be heating the potatoes to eat them anyway, you'd be saving energy with that method. True also though, you can only eat so many potatoes. Perhaps you could experiment with other foods and mix it up. I could send earmuffs too if you want...

Emmie said...

what an adventure you're having!!

just in case you need one more heating idea, have you tried the hot nalgene near your feet while in bed? It's a marvelous treat actually, we used it a lot on my snow camping trip. just fill up your nalgene with boiling water and stick it in bed with you, it stays hot a long time!

We do miss you guys!

Anonymous said...

Don't you know the government tracks you every time you comment on a "blog"? - Jason (Natalie's brother)

Ann Bennon said...

Wow! Government tracking blog comments. That would really be a fun job. Already I have learned so much about keeping warm. NOW - does anyone have any great ideas about keeping cool in 105 degree weather in Arizona's summers??? I could really use that information in a couple of months. Jeff and I are hoping that your cold experiences will urge you to move to nice and warm Arizona, along with all of your friends. It is wonderful being able to run, bike, fish, sunbathe, etc. in December. Try it, you'll like it. (Brady's Mom)