On ongoing debate at our house during the winter . .
Vince: Can we sleep with the heater on tonight?
Me: NO! You know I can’t sleep with the heater on!
Vince: Normal people sleep with the heat on when it’s 12 degrees outside.
Me: We’re not normal!
Last night at dinner, we were talking and I was telling him about life at my grandma’s house. It was a very old farm house. Rattly windows, up off the ground with an old wood floor that had some pine knots that had fallen out so there were a few holes in the floor; no central heat or air and for a very long time, no indoor plumbing. When you walked through the front door, you were in the living room, to each side was a small bedroom. Walk straight through the living room into a dining room. To the left of the dining room was a tiny kitchen, where my grandma cooked the most amazing meals. To the right of the dining room was a third very small bedroom which was made into a bathroom when they added plumbing.
The stove was old, though it was electric, and it heated the kitchen/dining room when my grandma used it. There was a little gas space heater in the living room and a fireplace in the bedroom to the right of the living room.
The bedroom to the left of the living room and the bedroom to the right of the dining room — no heat! It didn’t really matter because they didn’t use the gas heater at night. They would build a nice fire in the fireplace and keep that bedroom door closed. There was a sofa in there and a couple of chairs so during winter, that became the family room/bedroom.
My sister and I would sleep in one of the bedrooms without heat; there were a ton of quilts on the bed. We’d crawl under the quilts, get our spot warm and not move the entire night! My parents would sleep in the other unheated bedroom and my grandparents slept in the “fireplace room”. The fire would pretty much go out by the time we all went to bed but there were still coals left but they’d open their bedroom door so I’m sure it got cold in there quickly. Of course, this was all before the days of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
My grandparents got up very early, would build a nice fire, then come get my sister and me, carry us into their room, put us in their bed and let us finish sleeping in the room warmed by the fireplace.
My parents lived in southwest Louisiana where it rarely got terribly cold but they didn’t use the heat at night either. The dryer . . I can’t remember if it didn’t vent outside but we could stand in front of the dryer and feel warm air so my sister and I would run to the dryer, turn it one (whether there were clothes in it or not), stand there in front of it and get dressed.
As I was telling Vince that story yesterday, I said “Hey! Maybe that’s why I can’t sleep with the heat on! I grew up sleeping in a freezing cold room during the winter.” Vince said “Maybe . . but can we sleep with the heat on tonight because it’s going to be 12 degrees?”
Seriously, he knows he can turn the heat on any time he wants. I’m not that mean . . but he also knows that every time the heater kicks on, it wakes me up and when I wake up, I usually remember something I forgot to tell him during the day . . which means: If I’m awake, he’s awake.
When the outside temps drop down to the 12 degree range, we do sleep with the heat on but as low as it will go – I think 55 is about as low as we can set the thermostat. That’s enough to keep the pips from freezing if we leave the cabinet doors open in the one bathroom that has pipes on an outside wall. We also left a light on in the well house. That will put out some heat and keep the pump from freezing . . we hope! 🙂
I guess the takeaway from this story is this: You may have to go way back into someone’s history before marrying them because you never know what may have caused some really weird actions.
I grew up in California, but I still leave the heat off and window open here in Alaska year around. I just can’t sleep if the room temperature is above 60, and the colder the better. I guess it must be in my Midwest genes!
My husband and I have a heated mattress pad. Each side has its own control, so it’s nice if one of us wants it warm and the other wants to be cool.
I DO love your stories but no heat when it is really cold….BIG NO here. Want it cool in the summer and warm in the winter and I love space heaters also just for me and electric blankets AND quilts on the bed. Hubby likes it way cooler in the summer so I sit outside a lot and read because it’s too cold in the house. Have to wear sweaters if inside. I can take heat way easier than cold.
Ranch Wife says
Similar story here…my grandparents lived in Germany and windows were always open at night – even in winter – because they said you slept better with the fresh air circulating through. We always had thick feather beds to snuggle under so we were toasty warm, but it sure was hard to crawl out from under them in the morning! I still have a few of those feather beds and I really ought to pull them out.
So tell Vince he;s been overruled…you’re not the only one who’s not normal. 😉
I laughed at “We’re not normal!”
Staying in a hotel with my husband, I prepared for warm temperatures, as he closes the windows as soon as it drops below 70 outside, no matter that it’s still overly warm inside. We’re not getting that heat, though, and I’m tiring of wearing the one really warm sweater I brought.
Best sleeping is temperature at 65 or below. So the experts say. For once I agree with experts. I grew in the country fireplace in living room and stove in kitchen only heat. So many quilts on bed you had trouble turning over during the night. My husband hate it but I turn the heat off Or real low at night. Bless his heart ( southern girl)
Linda in NE says
When I was little the only heat in the house was from the wood cook stove in the kitchen & a wood heating stove in the living room. The fires were out and the house cold by morning. Mom would start the fires when she got up, but it was still pretty chilly when us kids got up to get ready for school. We would stand in front of the open oven door to get dressed. There was no plumbing in the house so no pipes to freeze. Our furnace is set at 65 at night and that is just about perfect…..cool room, warm quilts….good sleeping.
Vicky in Bama says
Oh my Judy thanks for the memories. We lived with my grand parents. Same as you my brothers and I slept all in one room with no heat in the wintertime. Covered with lots of quilts and blankets (heavy ones). They had a fireplace and there was a coal burning stove in the middle room. I miss those days.
Nelle Coursey says
I grew up in a house that only had a fireplace. I remember when we got a heater and daddy put it in front of the fireplace. So we still only had heat in that room. We did have a gas cookstove in the kitchen and after a few years we got electric blankets! I still don’t use my side of the blanket even in winter! I would rather have all those quilts piled up on me. Have you seen the new “weighted” blankets they are selling? Says you are supposed to sleep better!! Guess things do come back around! Instead of all those quilts, now you only have to have one! I am going to get one for Pat because he can’t sleep most nights.
We neither one like to sleep with the heat on but will turn it on low–60 degrees–when it’s really cold. I too grew up in a house with bedrooms having no heat–we just piled on the quilts. Our bedroom where all three kids slept had a small propane heater which Mom would light when it was bitter cold in Arkansas. When I was 13 we moved to a brand new house but we still heated mostly with wood–cost too much to run the propane furnace!
No heat for us at night either. And we always open a window.
Theresa Taylor says
year round we have our slider door open about five inches at night even when it is in the single digits but we get up in the morning close the door and grab our clothes and dress out in the living room where it is warm.
Susan Nixon says
I grew up in west Texas and southern Arizona. I keep the heat on. =) However, when I went to Ohio in the winter time for a wedding once, they had the same kind of set up your grandparents did. We slept in the cold bedroom off the kitchen, and I was SO grateful for the pile of about 8 quilts on that bed! It feels nice to sleep under a pile of quilts, but the warming from body heat is not my favorite part. LOL Where’s my heated, flannel wrapped brick?