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Tracy Beckerman column: It’s not the heat, it’s the frigidity

Tracy Beckerman
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The Chronicle Express

Columns share an author’s personal perspective.

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There are some exotic breeds of tropical fish that need to live in an environment where the temperature cannot fluctuate more than one or two degrees or they will die.

I’m kind of like those fish.

While I am not likely to go belly up and float to the top of our tank, I will become extremely cranky and whiny if I get too cold, or if even my fingers and toes are cold, or even, sometimes, just the tip of my nose.

My husband is the exact opposite. He’s a hot rock. He likes the house to be just a little bit nippy and is happiest if he can see his breath when he sleeps. Because of this, we have nightly bedroom wars. He opens the window wide. I slam it shut. I pile on the blankets. He throws them all on the floor. I crank up the thermostat and he drops it down to freezing.

“You should live in an igloo,” I barked at him as I shivered. “You’re a Yeti.”

“Well you’re the Heat Miser,” he shot back. “It’s like the Amazon in here. We could grow orchids in this room.”

I gave him an icy stare … the only kind of stare I could give him in a sub-zero bedroom.

You would think that after 28 years together, we would have come to some kind of thermal compromise, but that’s not the case. I should have seen the writing on the wall when we first started dating. When the subject of a vacation came up, I suggested the Bahamas. He wanted to go to Iceland. When I let him pick the destination for our honeymoon, we ended up in the Canadian Rockies. In our marriage vows, he asked me to love and honor him, and teach our kids to ski.

I soon realized I didn’t marry a man: I married a polar bear.

In my defense, I did follow him to the Canadian Rockies and I did teach our kids to ski. I even learned how to ski myself, although I wear so many layers and have so many heated accessories that I leave a trail of slush behind me when I ski down the slopes.

Willing though I am to vacation in the arctic, I prefer my own home to be more tropical. Especially in the bedroom.

So, there we were, glaring at each other … him in his shorts and me in my flannel footie pajamas.

“Look,” he said. “It is healthier to keep the room a little cooler when you sleep, AND it saves us money to turn the thermostat down. Can you try it for one night?”

“Fine!” I agreed reluctantly. I added two more blankets to my heap of comforters and prayed for a peri-menopausal hot flash.

I got into bed and lay there shivering. My husband immediately dropped off to sleep, or maybe it was a state of frozen suspended animation, I’m not sure.

Even with my 16 blankets and three layers of pajamas I was cold and I could not get my toes to warm up. They were like 10 little piggy ice cubes. Tossing and turning, I finally figured out the only way to warm them up was to put them on something hot.

So, I stuck them on my husband.

You can follow Tracy on Twitter @TracyBeckerman and become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LostinSuburbiaFanPage.