Staying warm and other metaphors

16 Nov

KM- “Did you get a package from me?”  Me- “No, was I supposed to get a package?” KM – “I felt bad that you have been cold so I ordered you an electric blanket – it should have been there by now.”

A down comforter, a space heater, a fluffy white blanket, a coat, ski gloves and nearly an electric blanket…the list of things my dear friends have bestowed on me in the past seven weeks is long.

This is odd because I am not a cold-natured person.  My husband used to refer to me as “the furnace” because of my tendency to radiate.  I used to relish the feel of cold tile on my feet in the mornings as I padded bare-footed into the bathroom.  I loved the chill of crispy cold sheets and have been known to flip my pillow over just to feel the cool side of an untouched pillow case. Cold is not usually what I am – in any sense of the word -at least not until recently.

In early October when I became the tenant of my dear friend in her 100 (+) year-old house in Hillsborough, North Carolina, I expected my first night to be sleepless.  I thought I would struggle because I had said good-bye to my darling for what was an unknown length of time – at that point it was looking like three months; but in reality, I tossed and turned all night because I was freezing.  No husband, record low temperatures, and a drafty old house added up to no sleep for me.  The next day, I told a friend I had been chilly and she loaned me a giant fluffy blanket to put on my bed.  That made things better mostly  because I realized that I am not really on my own even though I am.  On night two my new landlady/old friend came home and I mentioned it to her.  We both laughed when she realized that the heat in the house had actually been off.  She felt terrible and gave me free reign over the thermostat.  With that, I was ready to snooze the night away. Fluffy white blanket weighing me down, thermostat adjusted,  so imagine my surprise when night two found me freezing again.  Extra blankets, adjusted thermostat, still cold…what the?

At this point my husband had been gone a full two days.  He had flown away to live in London and I stayed behind having decided to enjoy a period of simplicity. Well, the real reason I stayed was because I was too nervous to leave.  We have one son who is a brand-new freshman in college and the other who moved into his first house with roommates, bills, and pets to deal with.  It seemed like a good idea to stay on the continent at least until the dust settled.  And alas, my life did get pretty simple.  I went from 2500 square feet to 125; from a family of four to just me; from well over $200 a week in groceries to next to nothing; from five loads of laundry every weekend, to one point five.  My new place is simple.  It has a computer at a small desk, a bookcase, the remnants of our liquor cabinet (providing a definite college dorm-feel) and my bed.   My bed is cozy if small, a little twin flocked with a girly quilt and extra pillows. By all accounts, my life is so much simpler and I am enjoying it.   It’s just that I am cold – unimaginably and inexplicably cold.

Obviously, I keep talking about it and my friends keep trying to fix it.  During a visit with another friend, she also commented on the temperature of my room and the next day, she delivered a space heater.  My friend/landlady saw it, felt terrible, and dragged a down blanket into the room dropping it on my bed.  Okay already, no more excuses to be cold!  I have all the accoutrements to stay warm and obviously a cadre of excellent friends looking out for me.

The truth is sleeping alone night after night is lonely and cold.  It makes my heart ache for the countless military spouses who sleep alone for months on end, knowing their other half is doing the same far away.  I fear this is not the kind of cold that can be solved with blankets and a space heater, though I deeply appreciate the gestures and kindness of my friends.  I’m cold on the inside, homesick for a home that existed between four people who are no longer calling the same place home.  I loved raising my kids and do not wish to do it over, but right now in this moment in time, I am unsure about what to do next as a wife and a mother and it just feels like winter.

2 Responses to “Staying warm and other metaphors”

  1. Greg Goth November 17, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    My metaphor for the by-myself phenomenon was not about temperature, but about time. When my first wife and I were newlyweds, she tended bar, and would get home most nights about 4:20 AM. I would stir and go back to sleep for a couple hours before I had to get ready for work. Later on, when she was in grad school and our marriage was dissolving slowly and painfully, she stayed more often at a friend’s place in Syracuse than in our apartment 15 miles out of town…and I awoke nearly every morning at 4:20, only I couldn’t get back to sleep.

  2. Florrie Huffaker January 13, 2013 at 6:40 am #

    i always use electric blanket during the winter times to get more comfy at home.^

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