Sunday, November 09, 2008

Grace Notes

Proving yet again that Andrea can obsess about anything at all, I finally have a new toy. It's wonderful, but it took me forever to actually plunk down the (small, actually) wad o' cash and get it done. It's improved my life so much I can't even TELL you.

Lacking a husband upon whom to warm my cold feet when I get into bed (never one of his favorite things about me, but surely a legitimate use of a husband!), I've been cold for AGES. I want to be warm and cozy in my bed. I have flannel sheets, which do take off that "oh my god, please shoot me now" chill when you first jump into bed. I have warm and pretty blankets. I was doing fine, I suppose, but still not really sleeping well.

And remember, this is a drafty large house. If I turn the heat up enough to be warm, I'd be paying so much for heat I'd probably have to not eat or something. (Question for the sages, why can't a women who actually likes to be hot be the one to have hot flashes?? Not a one. I suppose I should be grateful, but it does seem sort of backwards.) And besides, it doesn't make sense to heat the whole house when all that needs to be warm is my little space. It felt like I was being a greedy over-consuming American to have my house actually warm enough. On the other hand, it felt grim and mean to keep the heat at the suggested levels.

Then I noticed my massage therapist's trick of a heated mattress pad. Not the blanket, the pad. I thought you had to get one at some super-trendy massage therapist place. She looked at me like I was vaguely unintelligent. Nope, you can get one at Target.

Then I had to start worrying if they were safe and environmentally okay. As to safety, you can buy unsafe ones, so you have to be careful. But the wattage is much lower than an electric blanket. Some of them are on a thermostat and turn themselves off at a suggested temperature. Most of them are on a timer, so you can't forget and leave them on all day. There's the whole "sleeping in an electric field" thing... Anyway, suffice it to say I got the safest one -and paid a little more for that.

Then I started the "but is it a good idea for the planet" fretting. (Honest to God, it's a miracle I get anything at all done.) I'm not entirely sure yet, but here's my thinking. For one thing, it's better than an electric blanket, since all the generated heat stays in the bed. There's a sheet over the mattress pad, after all. And, so far anyway, I've been able to sleep comfortably with my furnace turned all the way down to 50 degrees (Fahrenheit) at night. So, I've added about 6 hours a day (as long as I have time to sleep) of not having the heat turned on. That has to be good for the environment (and my gas bill, I'm hoping).

Of course, the flip side is that I'm using more electricity and that bill will go up. But this is the frozen tundra, remember ;) Heat is a huge expense for us; my gas bill is just over $200 a month every month. This is the "budget plan". (Did I just hear WTF from the peanut gallery? That's what I say every month.) My electric bill is about $29 a month. Soon I'll be able to let you know if the one comes down more (or less) than the other goes up.

And... you know what, I'm sleeping really well for the first time in over a year. It's been getting better across the year, so some improvement is just getting over the emotional trauma. But there's been a noticeable improvement in the last week. And I think I've demonstrated to myself (ahem....again) that the small things matter.

6 comments:

Lisa :-] said...

We used to have one of those. Had to get rid of it when the hot flashes started... :P Believe me, you do not want to let nature take control of your personal heat level...

Michael said...

As an alternative, you could do what they used to do in drafty old castles and various Stately Homes (TM): tuck a warming pan with a heated brick inside it, or a hot water bottle, under your covers before you go to bed. Get it all nice and toasty before you climb in--and no worries about electric fields. Waterbeds are also nice in that respect--they're always warm.

Anne said...

I have one that's just a foot warmer, and I love it. I couldn't have managed in my old place without it (I used it as a mattress pad, as I was sleeping on a cot...) Here, I didn't use it at first, as the apartment is warmer and I'm no longer sleeping alone. However, I do have cold feet, and I do usually go to bed first, so... I recently hauled it out of the box, and I'm glad of it!

Yes - these "small things" are often the ones that really make the biggest difference in day to day life. I think sleeping comfortably is worth a lot.

Elisa said...

So what is the safest one? I love my electric blanket but it does make me a little nervous. From an environmental standpoint, it probably makes a lot of sense because you can turn down the thermostat and just heat your bed rather than your whole house.

Loretta_S said...

When I used to live where it is cold (and I was cold). I had one of those. It was great. Now I live where it's not cold and I'm hot all the time anyway. I relish cold sheets so I can cool my hot feet. But if I lived in the midwest, I'd probably get one again.

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