When Can You Complain about the Cold?

Living in Maine, I’m fairly used to the cold. By this time, I know how to handle most of it. I dress in layers, and my wardrobe has plenty of thick, warm clothes to keep me toasty. Generally speaking, I’d rather be too cold than too hot. My house is mostly set up for the cold, with plenty of insulation. So the cold doesn’t usually bother me.

With a couple of exceptions.

The first big one is frozen pipes. There are two spots in my house where the pipes can freeze if it gets below zero at night. The first is where the pipes head to the upstairs bathroom. As long as we remember to leave the water dripping at night, that usually isn’t a problem, but if it gets cold enough, they’ll freeze anyway. We hope to fix that when we renovate the bathroom in March. More insulation, and sending the pipes in a different route should take care of it, along with ensuring we have no drafts.

The second place we thought we’d fixed when we renovated the kitchen. The dishwasher line sometimes froze. Even with all the insulation we added, it still froze, but we’ve added some more to stop the drafts, and that seems to have taken care of the issue. (Drafts = frozen pipes. They’re much worse for the pipes than just cold.)

The other issue I have is when it gets extremely cold. For me, that’s in the 15 below or more range. The other morning, it was -22F while I was walking into work. (I park at the far end of campus on purpose: I like to get some forced exercise each day, and it helps to clear my head before and after work.) How cold is -22F? It’s so cold, I realized my forehead was cold.

My forehead is not a part of my body that gets much attention. Usually it’s just there. Sitting around. Doing it’s thing. Covering my skull. It doesn’t complain, and it doesn’t really do anything positive. I take it for granted. So you know things have to be going seriously wrong when suddenly my forehead is putting in notices like, “Excuse me? Could I get a little coverage here?”

So that’s my new bar for “too cold.” I see if my forehead cares about it. If not, then we’re good. If so, then people can complain freely about the temperature.

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