Maybe like me you have wanted to conserve energy (and home heating costs). But how workable, really, is lowering the thermostat? Is a chilly living room about as popular as a hair shirt?

I had to find out for myself. There’s little enough guidance—the typical ten tips include “get a programmable thermostat and set it low at night.” Pikers. Downright timid advice. What’s so hard about lower daytime temps, too?

First pass
When I got the bug to conserve, I lowered the daytime setting to 67 degrees. Dressed a tad warmer. In a few weeks we got used to 67 and I started feeling self-righteous. Found excuses to mention our virtue to friends, neighbors.

Sixty-five degrees or bust

Thank you, Geraldine, for not snorting or even cracking a smile when you answered, “My husband is from Europe and 65 is normal there—that’s what we’ve used for years.” A challenge—I love it! So it’s been 65 daytime all this winter.

Aiiee, everything you’d touch was cold. No Bob Cratchit gloves, but I put on everything else. Long underwear, of course. A mid-weight wool sweater topped by an Icelandic wool sweater in the coldest months. (Why does the same setting feel colder in January than in May?) Bill, too, was wearing outdoor jackets. More layers actually is pretty comfortable except for food prep–in a long-haired sweater it doesn’t feel quite sanitary. Maybe it’s not the itchiness that made “hair shirt” a catch-phrase.

OK, but any potholes in this road?
Cool toes? Mom’s crocheted lap blankets took care of TV watching. But a couple of things have seemed a bit much. Every time I go out, I have to change clothes. Meaning, even remove my shoes to get the longies off. Because every building I go to in town is much warmer than our house, leading to major sweats if I don’t debulk.

And how about this. My filtered water pitchers. I don’t recall they ever grew green moss before. Are we alone? Shade and moss inside as well as outside–We’ll be outdoing the Bloedel reserve moss garden.

Go ahead and lower your thermostat. But you know you’ve gone too far when your shriek wakes the household just because your buns touched the toilet seat.

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