Life at 63 degrees

My partner and I would like to say we are hearty Midwesterners. We grew up in Wisconsin and weathered many gray skies and the bitter cold. But when we moved to Minnesota, after a significant amount of time south of the Mason Dixon line, we were challenged on that view point. We bought a house with an older furnace and essentially no insulation, a common occurrence in Corcoran. So being the hearty Midwesterners we believed ourselves to be, we settled on keeping the heat low so we weren't throwing money and energy out the window during the winter. We are fairly well educated and one of our goals in buying a house was to learn to live with less and try and live a purposeful low-impact life.

Well, you can imagine that the whole family, including the dogs and cat were frozen stiff that first winter. My computer programming partner worked from home wrapped in blankets, gloves, and a hat while working. The cat spent the whole winter (literally) on top of a laptop for warmth, and I had to pep talk myself to get out from under the blankets. It was cold but we survived and even thrived in our chilly home. To get warm, we spent a lot more time outside playing and running around. We drank a lot of warm beverages, sometimes with a dash of whiskey. Plus, I finally got to use the wool blankets my grandfather used when he slept outside during the winters in Wisconsin. We also became well versed in the best long underwear and base layers on the market!

In the following years, we did get our house insulated--which made a huge difference--but we still keep the heat at 63 degrees during the day and 58 degrees at night. Our bodies have adjusted and even our cat has gone outside to play in the snow. The electric blanket we needed on the bed that first winter is way too warm and now unnecessary. Our crazy family antics to combat climate change may seem small, or possibly not worth the minor suffering we endure. But our goals reach beyond the temperature of our house. We want to live happier with less. A slower paced life with more time for each other than our technology. As you flip the calendar this winter, think about how many degrees you can lower your thermostat to save energy and increase the fun.

(If anyone was wondering, we did try and lower our temp to 62 that first winter but it was just too cold. What a difference one degree makes!)

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