A few years ago we bought a century-old house. It’s poorly insulated. There are many windows. There are cracks under the doors. As you might expect, it’s cold. To conserve energy, we use a programmable thermostat to keep the temperature at 54 when we’re not around, and at 64 when we are. Still, that’s chilly. We’ve gradually been making things snugger but it takes time and money. Meanwhile, we’ve developed a couple of coping mechanisms.

For one, it’s amazing how much difference socks and slippers can make. Our floors are cold. The fiberglass insulation in the basement does little to keep the cold air from chilling our oak floorboards. But in socks and slippers (and especially on an area rug), my feet are toasty.

Other pieces of armor include hats and sweaters. I pick up cheap cardigans at garage sales and thrift stores, and wear them around the house. They’re cozy and fashionable. (That’s sarcasm, for those who missed it.) Since I wear a lot of hats, there’s always a piece of headgear around to help me retain heat.

A final piece in our arsenal is the fleece blanket. We have several scattered throughout the house. Weekday afternoons often find me sitting in the parlor before the sunny windows, cloaked in a cardigan, socks and slippers on my feet, hat on my head, and my lap filled with a blanket, a computer, and a cat (or two).

Very warm, indeed.


My MacBook Pro’s built-in camera documents a cozy afternoon

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