Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Thermostat War

My mother has recently completed menopause. In the process, I think she's completely lost her ability to feel cold. It really doesn't make any sense. She's very thin, with no extra fat to warm her, so theoretically, she should feel the icy air that pervades the house. Strangely, she doesn't. While she stomps imperviously around the house in a thin turtleneck and jeans, I will be layered under piles of blankets, shivering with numb fingers and toes, desperately trying to cull some of my own body heat. My nose is so cold I'm starting to feel like a lost little puppy. My daily shower has become my only relief from the Antarctica I'm living in. I think that maybe she has phantom hot flashes, memories of them seared into her DNA, like an amputee who feels their arms or legs long after they are gone.

I have taken to turning the thermostat up whenever she leaves the room. I sigh contentedly as the heat starts to permeate my frozen limbs, and pull myself out from under the heavy mass of blankets. What a reprieve! I am lulled by this cocoon of warmth, and that's why I don't notice until it's too late. It starts with an unsettled shivering in my chest, which extends out to my fingers and toes. I unconsciously pull a few blankets on top of me, and then I realize what has happened.

She's wily, my mom. She has snuck into the room when I have gone to the bathroom or fallen asleep, and turned down the thermostat! I am shocked by the precision with which this has happened. It's as though she has an internal thermostat, which signals her whenever the temperature has been modified by a few degrees. C'mom Mom! Can't you give me a few degrees?!?

Since my father and I are united in our desire for normal room temperatures, you'd think we'd be winning this war. But alas, we are not. We are soldiers fighting a losing battle, dwarfed by the awesome power and discipline of my mother.

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