Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Feeling the chill - no, REALLY!

Readers who are Northerners will find the following comments amusing - or maybe, it will just be like, "Stop your whining, already."

We are having a cold snap. Okay, it's much different in this near-Gulf-Coast area than the area where I was raised - northern Minnesota, home of the below-zero temps. Unlike good ol' Minnesota, this part of the country is NOT as concerned with insulation and other modern ideas such as heat, as it could/should be.

Case in point: the predicted low was around freezing, give or take a few degrees. All the local tv stations were telling us that yesterday, giving the usual tips on insulating/wrapping outside faucets and pipes, protecting plants and pets, etc. And we know the drill, having lived here 23 years plus. So Drummer dragged the hoses into the garage, covered the outside faucets with these dandy little insulated covers made just for this purpose, and moved my herbs from the front of the house onto a shelf in the garage. So the house is as ready as it ever can be.

But does my workplace do anything pro-active, to ensure the comfort of its employees? No-O-O-O! A few years back, in a fit of God-knows-what, the decision was made to replace the existing elderly HVAC system for a super-duper-state-of-the-art system. Which has failed. Miserably. When it was first cranked up, it was cooling season. Now it seems obvious that the salesperson for this HVAC system has sold my employers a bill of goods. At first, the noise behind the cooling, BLOWING air was deafening. We had to call in the installers (and later our own maintenance guys) and have them shut down, shut off, or in some cases re-locatate many of the vents where it was blowing the cold air - it was actually a wind tunnel effect, plus so noisy that you could not hold conversations. Truth. And the converse of this is that it also fails for heating. Because this damned thing can not seem to hover at a lower heating temp overnight, then swing back into a workable (meaning, a temp that we can comfortably work at) temp at a given time. WTF? Even my miserable HVAC system at home responds to a programmed cycle, folks. Not that difficult.

So this a.m. when I walk into my cube, it is 61 miserable degrees. Inside. As usual, the water in the chiller would feel right at home in Lake Superior, based on the COLD blowing air coming out of the system. And as with many days, I am sitting here, many-layered in clothing, knit top under a two-button suit jacket plus pants, knee-high socks, a jacket OVER the suit jacket (this outer jacket is zipped up, by the way) AND a heater at my feet, throwing out as much warmth as its poor little wattage can produce. Plus I have turned on BOTH of my under-shelf lights, in an effort to use anything which may provide/emit heat. My cube is now up to 67 degrees. Outside temp is 35. The fingers on both hands are white and here I am, bundled up and feeling like Nanook of the North. I also have two pairs of gloves within reach, should I need them.

Folks have asked me, "Well, what will you do once you are LIVING up north?" And my response to them is, "They know about insulation and heat up there!" When I'm living there, I can reach for the (programmable) thermostat and alter the settings for MY personal comfort.

Gotta go. I'm gonna drown my sorrows in dried cranberries. Now.

No comments: