Throwing Down

The gauntlet, that is.

It’s fall. There’s no denying it. I’ve started wearing sweaters all the time, our winter coats have seen a little sunlight, and Jared & I are watching the weather forecast carefully to know when to bring our finally-producing tomato plants indoors. What clinched it for me was when the parking-lot-view from our sunroom went from nice to drop-dead gorgeous.


It’s about this time of year that many of us start taking advantage of that lovely advantage called Central Heating. Our power bills shoot through the roof, but we grin and bear it, glad for the literal degrees of separation between us and The Outside.

But there is another way.

It’s also about this time that my idol i mean role model the Yarn Harlot begins engaging in the Furnace Wars. Basically, this is a competition among the various households in her family to see who can go the longest without turning on the heat. In Toronto, the McPhee family base, if you make it ’till Halloween, that’s pretty impressive.

Well, I think this is a super idea. Why?

1. I am not poor, but neither am I rolling in cash. Putting off those huge heating bills can only be a good thing, and maybe some early cold exposure will make me more willing to keep the heat even lower throughout the season.
2. As the YH says, this is a time for knitters to shine. All those hats, mittens, scarves, sweaters, and blankets that have gone unappreciated all year? All of a sudden everyone in your family is begging for more of your craft.
3. Less energy use is good for mother nature.
4. You won’t have as many layers to take on or off when you go inside or outside. What a time saver.
5. After a certain point you can probably just turn off your refrigerator. More energy savings.
6. You will be suddenly inspired to do a lot of baking, leaving the oven open after the bread is done to add to the ambient temperature with the dissipating heat.
7. No prizes, but you get honor and glory at the end. And even if you don’t place, if you’ve made an attempt and denied yourself at all, you’ve done a good thing worth doing (assuming you don’t crank up your heat to 90 degrees until June just to compensate).

The only trick is making it a fair competition. It’s not fair for me to compete with folks in Toronto, where they may already be breaking the ice in their toilets. After giving it a bit of thought, and studying the temperature maps for about 3 minutes, I’ve decided to let mother nature herself make the categories. Your category is based on whatever your HIGH temperature is TODAY (that’s Oct. 14th if you’re not paying attention). (All temps are in F.)

If today’s temperature is below 20 degrees, you are in category A.
If today’s temperature is in the 20’s, you are in category B.
If today’s temperature is in the 30’s, you are in category C.
If today’s temperature is in the 40’s, you are in category D.
If today’s temperature is in the 50’s, you are in category E.
If today’s temperature is in the 60’s, you are in category F.
If today’s temperature is in the 70’s, you probably think this whole thing is stupid.

You may think this is unfair if your high for today is like 30.5 degrees. Well, suck it up. It’s like the difference between heavyweight and lightweight boxing competitions. The line has to be drawn somewhere, and if the lightest guy in the heavyweight category wins, he gets all the more glory. For the record, that puts me in category D.

Here are the rules:
1. You have to get everyone in the house to agree to do this.
2. You may not compete if you have folks in the house whose health may be affected by very cold weather (babies, ill, etc. You know how to use your brains.)
3. Central heat must stay off at all costs. If you turn on the heat for a dinner party so your guests don’t suffer or think you’re weird, you’re out.
4. Fireplaces are allowed. Wood stoves that heat up your whole house are not.
5. Filling up every room in your house with space heaters is cheating. The idea is to use less energy.
6. Baking, extra exercise, wearing winter coats inside, etc. are all fair game.
7. All rules I haven’t thought of will be made up as we go along, or decided on a case-by-case basis. It’s the honor system, folks.
8. Know your limits. Don’t do anything dumb; if you do, you can’t sue me.

If you want to compete, leave a comment here on Xanga or on facebook or click the email button below, by October 31st, with your category (A-F) and your Zip code.  Then once you turn your heat on, post again with the date you did so.

So consider yourself slapped in the face with a large manly glove. I dare you to try.

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