Electrical Anxiety Syndrome

Hold on a minute, no need to run to Google to look this up. It’s not a real thing. At least I don’t think it is. I just invented it, and will now, moving forward in this post, refer to it as EAS because I love acronyms.

Living in a brick apartment building during the summer of 90+ degree days was actually tolerable. I told myself the brick helped to insulate from the heat. Does it? I don’t know, but the idea sounded plausible. Never had an inkling of EAS during August or September. I just kept my blinds closed when not home and never had to even think about turning on any heat.

Living in a brick apartment building during the autumn and coming winter may be another story as it relates to insulation, but again I must look at the idea that if brick insulates well in the heat then conversely it would stand to reason to insulate against the cold… wouldn’t it? If my reasoning here is way off base please excuse me. I leaned much more heavily to biological sciences rather than climate science. Honestly, I’m not really ready to blame the brick for my EAS. I think I need to put the blame squarely on really old single pane windows, two of which don’t seem to make sufficient contact with the aforementioned brick, and god-awful zone heating- aka: individually operated base-board heaters.

What is she talking about, you ask. In lay terms: I think that I’m going to freeze this winter and in the process run up a large electric bill. Thus the creation of my electrical anxiety syndrome (EAS) after a summer of almost non-existent heating bills.

My heaters are designed to be turned on when needed for the room I am occupying at the time. If I leave that room and go to another room, say the bedroom for some reason, I will likely encounter temperatures much, much, much colder. Energy efficiency is not a hallmark of this type of heater, and if you have these heaters in your own home you know that they are typically put in under the windows. Mine sit squarely under my woefully inadequate single pane windows with those blinds that do nothing more than keep the neighbors from glaring at me when they walk down the sidewalk.

As I have no control over changing either the windows or the heaters I have tried to take measures that will help to insulate the inside and prevent losing tons of heat to the outside. I purchased and hung thermal curtains. Pulling them during the day means living in cave-like darkness. I’m having a hard time with this as it’s autumn, the days are sunny, but not warm, and quite frankly I need to SEE OUTSIDE. Cave dwelling isn’t high on my list of fun activities. I also have those door draft snake things stuffed along the windowsills where the cracks are.

As long as I dress warmly during the day when I’m home (that means long sleeves, sometimes even a sweater, heavy-ish socks, or light socks with slippers, then I’m okay. The heaters may be turned on for a time at night, and I heat up my bedroom prior to going to bed.

“So Deb, why don’t you just turn the damn heaters on and live like a normal person?”

Great question.

The reason I am not simply just turning the heaters on and watching my meter wheel turn willy-nilly is that I have no basis for just how much electricity these things use. My local power company, in every newsletter they put online, describes these heaters as energy wasters, or as I think of them- the root cause of my EAS. I have no experience with these things, coming as I did from a natural gas/forced air furnace set-up over the past 24 years.

But I have a plan. I always have a plan. October is my test-out-the-energy-usage-of-these-crappy-old-heaters month. I can run these babies for a time each day while trying to keep the EAS at bay and then see what my bill runs at the end of the month. I can use some not very scientific calculations based on temps now versus expected temps in the coming months plus some hefty algebraic formulas that will allow me to calculate things like HRT (heater run time) / OTV (outside temperature variation) / WPA (weather pattern analysis) against more impractical options such as STSR (sock to slipper ratio) / EB&QC (extra blanket & quilt costs) / and UOOAH (use of oven as heater).

Simple right? I think so.

Or I could just get up, move around to warm up my body and find a better use for my time than filling blog posts with silly acronyms.

*Seriously though, helpful readers- if you have any experience with this type of heating system I am all ears and would love to here what works, suggestions, heartbreak versus triumph over these things…whatever you’ve got. Many thanks!

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Whirlwind

For some time there’s been nothing much to tell. Plodding along each day, waiting. Then, with one phone call, one meeting, the wheels begin to move, things start to take shape, and the to-do list is seeing more checks than empty boxes.

I hesitate to go backwards here, with my words. The working relationship between myself and my soon to be ex-spouse has been congenial. We have a shared goal now, one that ironically has made even simple conversation easier to come by. I have witnessed a willingness in him that previously was buried under mountains of obstinate refusal. One thing that has not changed however, is the very way we approach the getting things done part of all this. Simply put, we live on opposite ends of the spectrum in that arena.

Saying “I told you so” is counterproductive, but with all the good happening, I fully admit that lurking underneath any positivity, those words were ready and waiting to bubble to the surface. They have, but quietly and directed more to myself as an affirmation that, while outwardly some things can appear to change, the core of who a person is stays steadfast and real.

Being trapped in the immovable  sludge of “let him do it his way” was killing me and so, (here’s the I-told-you-so part) I jumped in, took responsibility once again, and within the past week we have a listing agent, a newly painted interior to our home, clean vinyl siding and deck, and are now only waiting on some landscape bark. Do I want to point out that I have been waiting for all this to happen since… oh- April 1st? I do, but pretend that I didn’t just write that, because you know- positive thoughts and shared goals, right.

My now very real expectation is that this home can finally be listed for sale within the next 7 to 10 days. Our agent is out of town (with my blessing) for vacation, but upon her return we will be ready for pictures, signage, marketing, and offers, offers, offers. I think that I mentioned the house two doors down in a previous post, the one that was listed well above what I thought might apply to our home. I just found out yesterday that it sold (less than 24 hours after listing) for almost $15,000 over asking price!

Real estate is crazy here- too many buyers and too little availability of homes on the market. Fingers and toes crossed that this means an upcoming happy dance for us.

happy-dance-animated-gif-image-46-2

 

Extraction

You (we) live in a world of silence. Stopped up ears that block all but the most high-pitched, whirring din. Gummed up mouths filled with cotton fluff making speech, when attempted, a dry and raspy chore. Flopping tongues, lax and numb that can only mumble incoherent phrases. 

The dark and empty cavities that fill our souls cause a throbbing ache that can’t be overlooked. Temporary numbing belies the painful neglect growing deeper year after year. We have become empty shells, ready to crumble and break. Every structure that once firmly anchored us and made us stable now stands diseased and putrid.

What little remains of our past grinds together, forcing a misery that erupts in a white-hot starburst of agony. The answer is clear. These remains must be removed, cleanly and carefully, but soon. Trying to hold these bits and pieces in place only reflects upon greater damage. 

Even with this knowledge denial remains. Oblivion must be easier, safer, maybe even less traumatic than the wrenching and twisting that will come as each hollow part is released and removed. Logic shows that the time to save is long past. What needs to be done to convince you that the only answer is to part ways with each and every offending fragment and look ahead to the day that we can smile again.

The proceeding words were not planned as a beginning to this blog post. I had intended to ask for help, for someone who might hopefully explain a mystery to me. I honestly was looking for anyone to toss some thoughts around that might help me to understand how an adult can live in a world of silence, pain, and misery and yet exhibit, time and again, no clear intent to change or evolve or leave.

Then, without warning, some weird part of my dental past crept to the forefront of my brain and I began the odd metaphorical ramble you see above. Let me explain.

I know that my spouse has no idea that I plan to end our marriage. I know that factually because I have given no forthright verbal statement of my plans. Not yet. I have to get this eye thing figured out and moving. Not an excuse, simply a necessity. That piece of my life has to be in place first.

We have lived as separately as two people can (under the same roof) for months, years really. I think that I’ve stated that before. I am still flabbergasted when, without warning, I am confronted by an offhand comment that speaks to some sort of future- as in this marriage continuing ahead in some sort of quasi-normal form.

As in planning for the possibility of a major purchase “after the house is paid off.”

As in assuming that either of us is content to live this way for another year while we await the final payment on our mortgage.

As in my brain screaming out in an imagined conversation with my spouse “are you truly fucking telling me that you have no clue how awful and stupid and ridiculous this situation is and you are really willing to continue to live like this indefinitely?”

These offhand comments don’t happen often, but when they do I am knocked flat by the fact that this man seems to truly have no idea, not even a sneaky hunch, that perhaps the woman he has been married to for just shy of 34 years is ready to up and say goodbye. Is he truly oblivious, or just the best damn actor on the planet. And, even if he believes me to be holding onto some crazy contentment in this living arrangement, it is even more alarming to me that he may very well be content to live this way indefinitely.

I know this man is broken. I know that he has long-standing emotional issues, familial issues, unresolved issues; all of which have gone a long way in contributing to the failure of our marriage. I also know how hard it can be to come to terms with endings, and change, and uncertainty. I get that. I am guilty of that and waited far too long, but even though I waited and had to work through my own steps, I was never uncertain, nor did I kid myself about the future. I haven’t spoken about a future in years because there isn’t one.

Dear readers, I am finished. I apologize for this long and likely disjointed ranting post. You have once again been my sounding board. You are all the best of friends, the ones I can call to come over, sit across from and me and listen to the latest complaint. The ones who will let me vent when this life overwhelms. Thank you for listening.

 

 

 

I Thought He Was With You

It was a welcome change to spend the day yesterday- NYE -out of the house. Many in the family have been sharing some sort of virus over the week between Christmas and January 1st. I will spare you the unpleasant details, but suffice to say, it wasn’t a respiratory virus to be sure.

Alison and I decided to do some antique browsing, something we haven’t done in quite some time. We both had actual items in mind to look for- mine a gift, and she was searching out picture frames. She had some beautiful photos of Snowflake printed that need frames.

In our area we have vintage stores, a few antique stores, but mostly large antique ‘malls’ as they are known around here. Huge old buildings that are divided up into stalls that vendors rent and fill with their treasures, or junk, or both. I’ve written about these places before and the feeling of overwhelming age, claustrophobia, and sometimes the genuine fear for your life when you enter them and begin to make your way into the deepest corners. We’ve come to realize just how imperative it is to map out exits before we get lost in browsing. Fire is always on our mind.

Alison and I hadn’t been looking for long when two things caught our attention. One, a youngish boy, probably about 7 or 8, darting in and around stalls. His parents were in the vicinity, each in their own areas searching for whatever treasures brought them into the store. The other, and for Alison a definite bright spot in her day, was the encounter with one of two store cats. We rounded a corner and there on an old carpet was a HUGE black long haired cat. Clearly very old, and having a hard time moving, he did manage to come over to her for some love, then as cats will do, went back to his spot on the carpet and laid down with his back turned.

She was fortunate enough to also have a personal encounter with the other black store cat later, who was on his way to a couch placed strategically in a front display window that likely got little customer traffic. Smart kitty.

We meandered, and browsed and as per our usual, found many items that we could daydream over. Always just around the corner was that family with the young boy. As we kept running into them it was becoming more and more apparent to us that the parents were finding it easier to be lost in their own heads dreaming of some perfect find while the young boy was getting more and more bored with spending his time among the antiques. He was also becoming more and more distracted and careless. We watched him darting here and there, touching and exploring while often holding our breath and waiting for a crash. Nearby, his parents were engrossed in everything but their kid.

Coming close to the end of our search we entered a stall and there again was the mom, heading toward dad who was a few stalls away. Clearly, a female voice was heard saying, “Where is ____? Isn’t he with you?”

“No, I thought he was with you!”

Thus began the loud calling of the child’s name, and the frantic darting of two parents who have lost their kid in a huge, messy, even dangerous old building that was surprisingly filled with many customers when you consider it was New Years Eve.

Now Alison and I had seen the boy minutes before this in some stall quite a ways away. We looked at each other, sort of nodded in unison because I think we both had anticipated this situation, and as I began to move in the direction I thought the parents had gone we heard clearly, “There you are! Where did you go?”

Alison and I turned and walked the other way, still shaking our heads. We weren’t surprised that within 20 minutes we came across the parents again, alone in separate stalls, no child in sight.