You Know Its Been Cold When…

…23 degrees seems tolerable.

Heaven Is Down

I am not making a theologic argument about the juxtaposition of Heaven and Hell– though that would make an interesting post.

Down today is not about direction but the warmth of goose down. Some nights it becomes more critically important than others. Such as last night.

Let’s take another angle to this story.

54 degrees in December in Chicago. Most times that would mean an unusual confluence of atmospheric anomalies occurred to provide Springlike temps in Winter. All true if I was referring to the temperature outside. Nope. That was a frigid 23 degrees yesterday.

It was 54 degrees INSIDE MY HOUSE. Things were toasty when we left the house at 4 pm and frigid when we returned at 6:30 on Saturday night.

Yes, I am cheap and I keep the thermostat at a lower setting than my wife and son prefer– I claim it is my part to slow global warming; always a matter of perspective. But no, I do not keep the thermostat at 54 degrees. Typically 68.

Every two years or so the electric starter on our gas boiler goes out. Almost always on a weekend. A time of double or triple rates for service calls. So our idea was to tough it out until Monday morning.

So we put on several layers of clothes and pulled our down comforter tightly around us. I was actually comfortably warm all night. I even took off my sweatshirt and slept in a T-shirt and shorts.

The upside of this adventure was that we stayed in bed until 10. How decadent. Neither of us wanted to get out from under the warmth of the down. While there was lots of snuggling, that is where that activity ended. Neither of us was willing to take off any additional layers. Oh well.

By Sunday morning we knew we could not make it 24 more hours without heat regardless of the cost. I cursed the technician who had installed the electric starter. When we first moved into the house, the boiler had a 24/7 pilot light. If that ever went out, I could relight the boiler myself.

Fortunately the first technician that returned my call (I tried 3 places) had no more desire to come to me that I had to pay the $250 for the service call (a premium of $150 over normal office hours). He talked me through some options though most of the time he was speaking a foreign language– someone will need to show me what the damper looks like. Finally he let me know that it was OK to relight the furnace. I will have to do that several times today since it is only a temporary fix. That should however get us through until tomorrow.

The temperature is climbing slowly. After 3 hours we are only at 58 degrees. I think it is time to take a nap and get back under that down comforter. Ahhh.

Winter Hath Arrived

On Thursday I cleaned snow and ice off my windshield. Then flew to a more moderate climate for a day.

On Friday I could see my breath as I stepped off the plane and onto the jetbridge.

It was the 4th of December, not the 21st of.

Despite the date, Winter has landed in Chicago.

It’s Still Dark At 4:30 In The Morning

I love the summer months for many reasons. The weather. Spending more time outdoors. Biking. Going to outdoor festivals.

One thing near the top of the list is the number of hours of daylight. It is depressing in winter to wake up and then to drive home in the darkness. Yet in the summer there is usually light when I awake at 5;30 and it is still light even if I do not return home until 8.

Today I have an early flight. The alarm went off at 4:30 AM. 4:30 is the winter of the day even in July. The house is silent. It is pitch black. I have to feel my way out the bedroom hoping I do not trip on an errant pair of shoes lying inconveniently in the middle of the floor.

I am tired to the core at this hour. Yet I am flying to sell work. Need to keep moving.

Between 5 and 5:10 the dawn breaks and bits of light seep in through the windows. I move around in the  shadowy light.  By the time the cab pulls up at 5:30 the day has clearly arrived.

If only I could get back under the covers.

Spring Blues

March 29 ???

March 29 ???

What is it with Chicago weather? Spring officially arrived a week ago. And yet…

First on Saturday I sat for 2 1/2 hours in 30 degree weather watching my son’s home baseball opener. It took all 5 layers of clothing to keep me warm through seven innings. Too bad the game went eight.

Then we wake up Sunday to this.


The number of feet in a yard.

The number of people in a ménage à trois.

The number of Obama cabinet nominees that had tax problems.

The number of kids born to the lady with octuplets after the first five came out.

The number of degrees when I left the house this morning.

I’m Dreaming Of A White…Sand Beach

A white Christmas is guaranteed here in Chicago. Plenty of snow covers the ground. If the temps stay in the 20s like today I won’t mind it too much but Winter has hit with a vengeance here in the Midwest.

Over the last week, starting Tuesday December 16, still officially autumn, we have had 3 major snowstorms and most days the temps have been single digits–some with a minus sign. The first snow came during rush hour and my 45 minute commute took over 3 hours followed immediately by an hour of shoveling snow.

The second storm was accompanied by high winds and single digit temperatures. The storm last night also hit at rush hour but apparently I was one of the few idiots still working. The driving was challenging, where was my dog team and sled when I needed it, but with few cars on the road the commute only took an hour and a half.

It is only December with months of winter to go. Yes I am ready to get away to warm weather and sandy beaches. Something like this.


In the meantime I will settle in my warm house, light Hanukkah candles, and sing Hanukkah and Christmas songs. Here is one of my favorite Christmas ballads.

(BTW. Der Bingle first sang the song White Christmas — written by Irving Berlin, a good Jewish boy– in the movie Holiday Inn not in the copycat movie White Christmas. A common misconception. One story claims Berlin wrote the song in early 1940 while sitting poolside at the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa in Phoenix, Arizona. Another says he was in his home in upstate NY. I like the former story better.)