Have you ever noticed that for any given couple there is always one person who is hot-natured and one who is cold-natured? It seems like this is the rule in any pairing of people. I am cold-natured. I am like those old skinny people who wear long underwear and sweaters in ninety-degree heat. I can’t stand being cold. Winters in Ohio were pure torture for me. I hated being cold. I hated snow. I hated driving in snow. I hated shoveling snow. I hated scrapping ice off my windshield. I hated having frozen toes and fingers. I hated biting winds which took my breath away. I hated my farm animal rotations in the dead of winter. This is why the minute I graduated from the Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine I moved to Florida. In retrospect, I probably should have moved even further south, like to Miami, where the temperatures don’t dip into the thirties for even a day or two. But I don’t speak Spanish.
If it were up to me, I probably wouldn’t live or work in air-conditioning. (Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating slightly.) But it seems like every office, store, restaurant, or other public building cranks the air down to arctic in the summer. If the temperature is comfortable to me, I can guarantee everyone around me is roasting. I couldn’t wait to go through the “change” and have hot flashes. At least I would finally be warm! Alas, I didn’t even experience that! I sometimes think I’m part reptile in that I have to park my body in the sun to allow it to heat up my blood.
We lived in Indonesia for two years. Indonesia is right on the equator, so it is like August in Florida year-round. Like most places in a third-world country, our house didn’t have air-conditioning. The few air-conditioned buildings that existed were rarely cool, as they were serviced with third-world technology. But other than the rivulets of sweat running down my back while baking Christmas cookies in the 110-degree heat of our oven-warmed kitchen, I rarely minded the heat. It was just difficult rolling out the chilled dough quickly enough before it melted into a congealed blob on the kitchen counter.
People who live in the south and complain about the heat are an enigma to me. Why don’t they move to Alaska, live in an igloo, and be happy? And people who vacation in cold climates, like ski resorts, are just plain crazy, in my book. Vacations, by definition, should involve a sunny beach with warm ocean breezes.
So, of course I married a man who is always hot. I will be snuggled in my flannel pajamas, robe, knee socks, and wrapped in a blanket, and he, in his shorts, T-shirt, and flip-flops will say, “Is it hot in here to you?”
Silly question. If it is ever hot to me, I must be on the wrong side of Heaven.
“Uh, no. I was going to ask you to turn up the heat.”
Dual control electric blankets are a marriage saver for the incompatibly hot/cold-natured couple. My side can be toasty warm—even in the middle of July—while his control is never used. When my side is finally worn out, we can flip the blanket and I can use his side. This usually works great except for the times when the blanket gets put on upside down by mistake. I’ll wake up cold, turn on the electric blanket control and wait for the sweet warmth to envelop me. A few minutes later I’ll still be cold and I will crank up the setting. At this point, in my sleepy fog, I can convince myself I’m getting warmer. But it still isn’t quite enough, so I bump it up even more. Meanwhile, my poor husband, blissfully snoring away on the other side of the bed, is baking to a nice golden brown. Eventually he will realize he is being cooked alive, throw all the covers off, and bellow, “Did you turn my side of the blanket on?” Oops. Unfortunately, this happens more frequently than one might think.
There are a lot of ways in which a couple can be incompatible. But taking religion and politics out of the equation, I believe the next biggie is thermostat preference. Next time around I’m making sure I marry someone who suffers from hypothermia. If he’s also old, rich, and sick, I’ll take that as an added bonus.