Sunday, December 28, 2008


Our house is so cold that I kept my big black faux-fur coat, the one I only roll out at Christmas, and usually then, when a party is in the offing, wrapped around me after our dinner at the London, as the whole family propped itself in front of Law & Order, and my mother and I dozed gently. Even with tall boots, thick black tights and a t-shirt under my dress, the furry coat hardly does the job. The Smiths house is toasty, with a big fire roaring in the grate. The Peters house is a lovely furnace of a place, fires in every room. If there were Jones's in our canyon friend collection I'd want to mention them too. Our house is freezing and J wants to keep the effing thermostat at a sensible 66, which means about 48 when you have to factor in the sliding glass door at the back which is kept open about 14 inches for the puppy. My mother is the lucky one. She has the only space heater in the house in her room, and she keeps it on all day, but cleverly says things like "Oops I forgot to turn off the heater" when I visit her out there in the little guest house. I looked down surreptitiously. The setting says "HI 80". She also has a blanket over the duvet (this from a woman who has proclaimed her whole life "I'm a Norwegian -- I'm never cold in bed.")

Our house is so cold that when I get into bed, I have to leave my dress on and take it off once underneath the covers & throw it on the floor by the bookcase, with my bra, like a street-walker, because the walk across the slate tile in the bathroom is something Scott or Amundsen might undertake with huskies. Yesterday I asked Dotsie to join me too, under the covers, so I warmed myself that way, spooning my Dalmatian like a homeless person. J wears a beanie on his head and a puffy down vest and asks us what we're complaining about. I asked for furry slippers for Christmas and received two pairs. Southern California houses circa 1970 are not built for the cold. They are not insulated. There is a liberal, wily-nily use of glass. The heating sytems suck. There are too many skylights. They don't face the right way. And we all have a passion for wooden floors. Oh for a cheesy ski-cabin in Mammoth with shag-pile carpet for toe-wiggling bliss. Or a warm beach and a good book and a skimpy bikini. Or a large mug of hot chocolate in a sauna.

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