Hi, there, Dear Reader. It’s mid-morning here in my corner of the Tampa Bay area on Wednesday, December 1, 2021. It is a chilly day. The current temperature is 56˚F (14˚C) under sunny skies. With humidity at 92% and the wind blowing from the east-northeast at 3 MPH, (5 KM/H) the wind-chill factor is 54˚F (13˚C). Today’s forecast calls for partly sunny skies and a high of 79˚F (26˚C). Tonight, skies will be partly cloudy and the low will be 49˚F (12˚C).
Well, today is the first day of meteorological winter – astronomical winter, or the winter solstice, begins on December 21 – and, as I said earlier, it’s chilly here by Florida standards. It’s not too bad in the house, although I don’t recommend walking barefoot on tile floors now. But were I to venture out today, I would either wear a jacket or wait till it warms up a bit in the afternoon. It’s that cold.
Not that I feel like going out for a walk now. Last night I fell asleep while watching a Netflix documentary about terrorist attacks that were thwarted before they could be conducted. I don’t know when I drifted off to Dreamland – thankfully I had enough presence of mind to put my eyeglasses on my desk and turn off the TV set beforehand – but it must have been well before 10 PM because when I woke up to use the “loo” it was 1:37 AM Eastern time. I felt as though I had slept for a while; that’s why I’m guessing I nodded off between 9:15 and 9:30 PM and not at my usual hour of 11 PM.
While I was up, I turned off the lamps in the living room and the kitchenette, which my various housemates had left on all night. Two lamps in the living room and one in the kitchenette! If there’s one thing – besides her issues with drinking – that annoys me about the Caregiver is how casually wasteful she is, especially when it comes to electricity. In my house, where Mom and I both lived on fixed incomes supplemented by my writing gigs, we were conscientious about turning off lights when we weren’t in a room. We also turned off the air conditioner when the temperature dropped and opened the windows to air out the house and further lower our electricity bill.
Here, though, the dynamic is 180˚ different. In this house, I’m the only adult (of seven) who cares about the electric bill. For instance, instead of turning on my Samsung smart TV so I can at least hear the news in the background, I rely on the Internet to scan the latest headlines and keep informed. That this is an unsatisfactory way of getting the news is an understatement; I used to live in a house where we had a subscription to our local newspaper – The Miami Herald – and watched local and national news on TV every day. Now? The Caregiver said “No’ when I suggested we subscribe to the Tampa Bay Times – she didn’t want the nuisance of people – namely me – putting newsprint-colored fingerprints all over her place. And since I don’t have control over the TV in the Common Room, I can’t watch the news or Jeopardy!
But I digress. In sharp contrast to the frugal lifestyle I was used to when I lived with my mom until she died six years ago, the folks here live as though money grew on trees and can’t be bothered with such things as turning off lights when they aren’t needed.
After I turned off the lamps and trudged off to bed again, I faced a dilemma. It wasn’t yet 2 AM, so should I go back to sleep or stay up? Getting up on cold nights usually means involuntary wakefulness, depending on how cold it is. On the other hand, I didn’t want to turn on this computer that early in the morning; I spend way too much time at my desk as it is, and being on Facebook or watching YouTube videos in the wee hours of the morning held no appeal for me.
I opted for the “Go Back to Sleep” option and got back under the covers. It took me a long time, but eventually, I dozed off again. I don’t think I fell into a deep sleep; I remember tossing, turning, and even muttering a few curses about the chilliness. But at least I wasn’t fully awake or killing time on social media. I “slept” until 6:37 AM, then got up to start this chilly, quiet, and a rather humdrum Hump Day.
I don’t have much in the way of other news, Dear Reader, so I’ll close for now. Stay safe, stay healthy, get vaccinated, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.