Winter Time: Thermostat Wars Raging Between Husbands and Wives

It's winter time. And that means one thing in my household: Thermostat Wars.

Yes, the thermostat power struggle between husband and wife is being waged in many households. This winter the heat setting debate is currently raging, and of course the air conditioning setting dispute will be here before you know it.

Like a Murphy's Law, it seems that most of us marry a body temperature opposite. What that means is that due to internal temperature, one spouse needs the house a certain temperature to be comfy, while the other struggles at that temperature. In winter, one is lounging around in a tee shirt, and the other is in a sweatshirt, sweatpants, and heavy socks with a blanket wrapped around.

Normally, the husband adjusts the thermostat to cooler internal temps, with the wife jockeying for warmer positions on the dial.

That's how it always USED to be in my household -- I was always F-R-E-E-Z-I-N-G, especially in cooler internal temperatures in the winter, and ALWAYS in over-air-conditioned restaurants and stores in the warmer weather. That lasted until a weird recent phenomenon took place: Middle age, oh and that other M word that was the subject of this previous blog.

Now, with my body running very, very warm (make that hot -- burning HOT) I want the coolest temperatures possible in my home. An Alaskan winter is looking very good to me right now because I want my home temperature as cool as the average igloo according to my husband.

My husband on the other hand has a thing with his age and thyroid situation where he has been getting chilly all the time. He has to literally bundle up to be comfortable in a cooler home. This was never the case before middle age. Now HE is the one with the sweatshirt, sweatpants, heavy socks and a Snuggy wrapped around him.

We are opposites in body temperature but the situation has completely reversed from before.

Way back when, it was not uncommon for me to be okay with the thermostat on 80 degrees of air conditioning in summer months along the aid of ceiling fans. Air-conditioning was always too cold for me to feel comfortable, and I had to bring my winter woolies to restaurants, malls and other over-air-conditioned places in the dead of summer. The thermostat at 80 was way too warm for my husband and he would sneakily creep it downward into the 70s. And I would freeze and complain, "It's too cold for me." Rinse, repeat.

Similarly, I used to put the thermostat high up into the 70s in the winter during the few cold fronts where we required heat in Houston. My husband would push it down a bit, always with a lecture about energy conservation and costs.

Now the conversation goes more like this:

Husband, as I am tiptoeing out of bed to the thermostat to push the temperature downward: "Don't touch that dial -- I already adjusted it to 68 degrees and it is freezing in here!"

Me: "It is burning hot in this house! Put another blanket on!"

Husband: "Put your bedside fan on and leave the thermostat alone!" (As he erects a huge pillowed wall between us on the bed.)

I previously bought a bunch of tiny fans at a store at the end of summer when they were on sale. All I can ask now is, am I the only human that uses a small nightstand fan on full blast in the wintertime?

I think that answer would be no.

I know one guy who purposely installed a new unit with a space-age type thermostat that his wife can't figure out. (And of course she cannot read the instruction manual.) So she is unable to even try for a comfortable temperature.

Passive-aggressive behavior, if you ask me. One is always grumbling about the house temperature. It doesn't seem possible for both to be comfortable.

Another friend was visiting our area from the North in the wintertime and kind of laughed about our mild temperatures compared to his winter. He was walking around in a tee shirt even with a cold front and some cooler temperatures in Houston, explaining that he loves cool air and that it was always a struggle with his wife wanting too much heat in the house until she turned middle age.

Friend: Oh, I love it now. The house is really cool, and I just put some blankets on while my wife kicks them off.

So wives and husbands take note, I am here to tell you that those thermostat wars waging right now are one day going to be reversed. Husbands who like their house a bit chilly -- just wait till middle age and you will finally get your way, just when you may want it a bit toastier.

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