Is That a Banshee Shrieking or…?


Happy New Year, one and all!

After spending most of the holidays bemoaning the fact that I’ve gained at least 1,000 pounds due to the 10,000 pounds of butter, sugar, and alcohol I’ve ingested for the last month or so, I woke up this morning determined to start the new year off on the right foot – both feet actually – by going for a nice long walk.

It was then I gazed at the thermometer outside my door and remembered why weight gain ain’t such a bad thing here in the Great White North – at least in winter.  My new rolls of fat provide much-needed insulation in this weather.   Still, the horrible  reading on the thermometer was enough to quell any thoughts of walking.  Not even the bright sunshine will tempt me when the numbers are well lodged in the negative.

Sadly, the house doesn’t feel much warmer than outside.  Our furnace, huffing and puffing as best it can at its advanced age, can only do so much.  The outside thermometer reads -15 celsius which is not that bad until you stand still and listen.  That shrieking noise isn’t a banshee; it’s the wind whistling through our thoroughly uninsulated dwelling and making it feel more like -25.  Brrrrrrr.

Situated where we are in southwestern Ontario, we either get swept by winds that shake our house from the north – around Georgian Bay, off Lake Huron OR we get them off Lake Ontario to the south.  Sometimes I swear we get it from both sides as my house is buffeted back and forth with gusts so fierce the entire structure moves.  Our 1970’s era windows, installed by someone who was possibly blind and blind drunk, allow staggering amounts of air through even when they’re shut tight.  The wind doesn’t really whistle through but howls like a pack of hungry wolves.

Right now, as I sit at my kitchen table, I can feel a steady gale blowing around my ankles as the wind pierces the thin skin of our westerly kitchen wall, blitzes through the pots and pans in the cabinets, chilling the kitchen (with it’s tile floors) down to a positively frigid temp.  I keep checking to see if someone left the freezer open.  Our kitten is curled up like a sled dog in the Arctic, her tail wrapped around her head. 

So, what to do?  The current financial climate is chilly as well, all but eliminating the chance of a reno that would allow for a full-on insulation assault.  Am I the only homeowner who huddles under a mound of down duvets dreaming of spray foam insulation?  Oh, if only…Maybe I will call for estimates on blown-in cellulose (apparently the cheapest option) just to get an idea.  In the meantime, I’ll follow the advice my mother always gave us when we were growing up in our 1787 farmhouse that was similarly insulated:  go put on a sweater, girl.

At current count:  2 sweaters, a turtleneck, tights, socks, jeans, scarf and fleece-lined booties.  Ah, winter in the north…


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