Morning all:

My morning java mug is a bright red with the words ‘Red Hot’ angled across; maybe so for the coffee, definitely not for the outside temperature as it is in the low teens. This week I had with me some folk born and raised in southern California. As we traveled around in mid-Ohio on snow-slicked roadways, with multiple accidents about us, it became obvious that the white knuckles I was seeing on them did not come from some circulatory disorder.

Late last year it was announced that natural gas costs were going to increase by 50%. This week I noticed that the gas portion of our latest utility bill well exceeded the mortgage payment on our first house. Years ago there was a time when some homes were heated using “modern electricity” and many of us chuckled and considered this a negative since gas was so much cheaper. Now I am not so sure, in that the electric portion of this month’s utility bill is less than a quarter of the total. In any case, it probably is not too good an idea to swap out our three-year-old furnace with electric. “Marcia, go ahead and wear two sweaters and grab an extra afghan as you watch ‘queer eye for the straight guy’, I have only turned down the heat another four or five degrees.”

In line with my whining about heating costs comes my brilliant suggestion for this evening; let me explain. This evening our home is stop number one for our neighborhood “Progressive Dinner” party. Ours will be appetizers and drinks for nearly sixty people. Since the temperature is in the dark-blue frigid range of the thermometer Marcia raised the question of what to do with nearly sixty coats. Here is where brilliance absolutely shines. I suggested that we should turn our thermostat waaaay back, this way we’ll not only save massively on the heating bill with the front door opening and closing all evening, but folk will want to keep their coats on just to stay warm. Voila, problem solved. Actually, we should have a great time. Marcia says the house is nearly ready and in fact the place does look great. Her birthday gifts came and have been installed and the main rooms look beautiful.

All well is with our family, as everyone appears to have settled back into the routine of things after the holidays. As a writer (Livy) once wrote: “Toil and pleasure, in their nature opposites, are yet linked together in a kind of necessary connection.” In that sense, we’re all back experiencing pleasure to the fullest.

Have a great week.



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