Dec 5, 2006

On Dogs, Teenagers, and Winter Heating Bills

Two dogs on a couch (Toledo, OH) My two loveable mutts have found a way to cope with the austerity measures we have enacted to keep our heating bills down this winter.

We have set the temperature down to 62 degrees during the day, and placed a tamper-proof box over the thermostat to keep the kids from jacking it up to 80, or something equally outrageous.

Of course, my hooligans have learned that opening a window near the thermostat is a quick way to get the heat turned on, but we can't eliminate every teenage heat scam.

These, mind you, are the teens who would rather be beaten than wear winter coats to school, run around barefoot in the house, and glare at you in their shorts and T-shirts, whining about the cold.

My dogs Candy and Jimmy are the wise ones. They nestle together for extra warmth, scoot themselves under blankets, and frequent the heating ducts for an extra blast of warmth.

And when they need to go oputside, the dogs quickly get their business done and return to the warmth of the house. This is unlike my 16-year-old son, who decided to string some outdoor Christmas lights last night wearing only a plaid cotton shirt.

Then, while rubbing his bare, frozen hands together, he wanted to complain about the 68-degree setting we barbarous parents inflict upon the children of the house.

Sigh. One day, children, you too will get monthly heating bills, and all will become clear, and you can continue the tradition with your own progeny.


Lloyd said...

Ah, to be young and not have to worry about bills anymore...

I used to complain about the cold when I was younger too. My mom would not turn the heat on in the car, and would even drive with the window open occasionally.

The funny thing is that when you grow up, you turn into your parents despite your most aggressive attempts to resist.

I now complain when people turn the heat over 69, and typically keep it around 64. That is an improvement from last year, I used to keep it at 62, and lower it to 58 when I was gone.

Also, when getting the car started in the morning, I have to blast the air conditioning right in my face.

microdot said...

I like it cold, my wife likes it hot.
The digital thermostat started to screw up on my Central Heating and I found that to replace it would cost almost 250 Euros! For the last week, it's been,"Warm enough for you dear?"
I hear the furnace roaring away through the window and watch Euros burn! So I'm sneakiing around the house at night, turning things off, she's getting up before me and turning it back on. Luckily we have a huge fireplace and I have been cutting wood for months. I am obsessed with the price fluctuations of heating oil and try to plan when strategically it would be the best time to order far I've been hitting the down slides on the money....Ahh, if I could easily rethink the heating system of this house....more insulation!!!!!
It is the new holiday season of ZAPPADAN at thebrainpolice, if you are interested....

Hooda Thunkit said...

On the balmier days 68 deg F seems to be too warm for me. But, let the wind pick up or the temperature drop into the twenties and I check the thermostat to see if someone has fiddled with it.

Oh, to have the luxury of a fireplace...

Lisa Renee said...

I need to get one of those boxes, one of mine is notorious for turning up the heat to beyond the extreme. Yet she is the one who is still wearing flip flops and attire that I think would be more appropriately "beach wear" rather than winter wear.

Calico Jack said...

Get the kids winter jobs as missionaries in Africa, or somewhere around the equator. For my part, heat is included in the rent. Plus, my Mom's got two fireplaces at her house. Nice!

-Sepp said...

My Mom called the thermostat a "fingerbreaker" since she promised to break my fingers if I touched it. I had no idea how to set one until I moved out of the house since I had never touched one.

My 5th grade teacher used to put a wet paper towel over the thermostat in our classroom and the heat would crank up to about 80 and she'd open a window.

Peahippo said...

Mr Brooks, what do your teens think sweaters are for? Movie props?

Firstly, you can use things called "tools" upon other things called "screws" in order to make sure said near-thermostat window can't be opened.

Secondly, if they'd rather be beaten than wear warm clothing in the house during the winter, than that can be arranged. I charge very cheap rates, Mr Brooks: a base $5 per child per beating, plus $2 per beating if I have to yell out justifications while the beating progresses. No blood; bruises and extreme pain, only. Hence, with 2 kids, you can take care of the mess-with-the-thermostat problem for only 10 to 14 dollars. If your kids end up laying on the floor, moaning in pain, and still don't realize what sweaters are for, then I offer a warranty on my services -- a re-beating for the same issue is only half-price. The little bastards will eventually realize that Dad can just wave a ten-spot and some whuppin' will happen, so perhaps Dad's arguments have some merit.