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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Why it really gets cold in Southern California

Yes, I don't care what you think west of the Rockies and north of Half Moon Bay. It's cold. It's especially cold here, in the urban village. It's 54 degrees. Now I realize, my distant relatives in the Midwest who no longer return Christmas greetings (they seem to have taken some sort of religious right offense at the "Peace on Mars" card we sent several years ago. I'm on Larry Flynt's mailing list, you want to see an offensive Christmas card?) feel that this is some sort of winter heat wave caused, in no small part, by the Los Angeles Dodgers, but it's all relative. Ha! I pun. Serves you all right. Remind me to brush up on my spoonerisms, that'll get me off your bookmarks.

At any rate, I, in a fit of pique, decided to rip the carpet out of the apartment. It seemed infinitely more satisfying than cleaning it. Besides, has anyone had any sort of intimacy with apartments and the carpet that is so generously provided? All walls are painted Navajo white and all carpets are nylon, seamed right down the middle, attached with at least six of the finest staples money can buy and are a perfect match for the Feline Pine litter in the cat box.

Since my house was unceremoniously and abruptly removed from my ownership I'm having control issues. That's what the known control freaks in my life tell me, anyway. My house had hardwood floors under the carpet, so I yanked it out. The carpet, not the floors. I saw no reason not to do the same here. My downstairs neighbors beg to differ. This is only indirectly related to the cold but watch me, I can actually pull this all together.

My unit is the front upper. Okay, the upper part was probably obvious. However, because it's the one people see from the street the owner actually put a bit of style into it. The living room and dining room have great big windows. Combine a lot of glass with the sudden lack of carpet and nothing on the roof but Direct TV dishes and it gets cold in here.

So, two weeks ago I lit the pilot on the furnace. Yes, I did. However, that was all that ever turned on. The building manager, upon hearing of our lack of heat, appeared on my doorstep in a dizzying two weeks. Upon closer inspection ("oh hell, look, it came off in my hand") it was determined that the thermostat was broken and a work order for repair or replacement would be issued. The workmen would be here on Wednesday. That's our day for repair here. Wednesday. Of course he told us this last Thursday. Wednesday dawned and waned. No repair. On Friday, the gas man showed up in response to our previous request to light the pilot. Having ascertained that the thermostat was broken he got out his magic flashlight and overrode the system, and there was heat. It's been so cold in here that I barely objected when the gas man got out his magic flashlight. Normally I would probably protest such behavior but I wasn't home at the time. My husband assured me it was indeed a flashlight as it had a light on the end of it. Yeah, like I haven't heard THAT before. A small price to pay though, as the heater was on. He failed to mention that, when we turned the heat off, we would not be able to turn it back on again, apparently his magic flashlight is a one time only performance. I've heard THAT one before too.

At any rate, the aforementioned status of this dump has combined to make it cold. There's something of a wind chill factor involved, as the bathroom window has been stuck in the open position since September of 2008. We wear sweaters and hats most of the time. Nothing else, just sweaters and hats. Now - try and get THAT picture out of your mind. We sign up for a LOT of "look how green we are" clubs though and tell them that we don't use the heat because we're trying to heal the hole in the ozone. We also tell people that we recycle all our glass and plastic because we believe in healing the earth. Well, okay, we do. But we take the money we get from recycling and pump it into our beer budget. Which not only stimulates the lagging economy but allows us to purchase more glass and plastic which will then be recycled into more beer.

It's a win/win if you ask me.

And it's most definitely cold.

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