Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Bed Socks & Bottles


It was bitter last night. That's how my father would describe a cold day in Cork when it hovered around 1 degree Celsius. Last night here? It was -5C but that "RealFeels" sticker, because of the high winds, had it at -17C.

Electricity costs a fortune here so alternative energy supplementation ranges from propane to wood. I have wood in conjunction with electricity in the upper reaches of the house. To use electricity exclusively would see me in the poorhouse or not eating. Ever. The plight of many senior women living on their own doing an eke. My ongoing gig as writing instructor sees the fees I collect weekly from that paying for another load of wood next week. Local economy at its finest. Black economy too. It has to be. The guy who is presently lumbering my wood and is cutting and cleaving it, was laid off from his iron ore job in Labrador and is eking too. He had to return here, at the age of 50, to live with his mother and subsist on a union pittance when his EI ran out.

When one gets cash out here on the Edge, it is socked away and never sees a bank. We all do it. Chatting with a banker in town, I discovered that he does it too - on the QT. Collect cash for banking advice on the side, disburse cash to handyman for new bathroom. We all live under the table to a huge degree. And none of us live extravagantly. I hated myself when I had to go to online Walmart for free shopping deliveries but I had no choice. Funny how we can preach for years but when the wallet is thinned right out we have to bow at the altar of the corporate enemy. But I do shop local too. I love my wee local grocery store.

But to these elder arms, nothing beats coffee and dog-food and flour and sugar and paper products in bulk delivered free right to my door.

Which brings me back to the title of the post.

My mother would send me off to bed on cold nights or with a tough period, warm, with a hot water bottle, especially knitted bed socks and a crocheted bed jacket when I was a teenager.

So last night? Under the duvet, I reverted to these comforting items.

Toasty, warm and safe from the howling blizzard outside.

When many aren't.

14 comments:

  1. I use my hot water bottle
    from Amazon
    nightly
    Been using about 5 years
    and put in my bed about 1 hour before I go to bed.
    Such a comfort
    and thinking of ordering another one.
    In years past used heating pad
    no more
    so drying on skin...

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    Replies
    1. There's something about the heat source. I know I despise electric blankets as my skin would crispen. I'm so glad you're blog visiting again. You've been through so much in the last while.
      XO
      WWW

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    2. I wish I could send you some of our warm free and abundant electricity,all solar. A lot of people here are hanging on by their fingernails too,though.

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    3. Ah thanks Hattie, my wee tigeen up on the hill is completely solar. To convert the house? I wouldn't live long enough to reap any kind of benefit. Yes more are doing the eke as the world tumbles more into unsustainability.

      XO
      WWW

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    4. How much is wood per cord there? If that's how one measures wood in Canada.... My heating bill, electricity and gas, is around 150 US per month, but perhaps being away often is responsible too.
      I confess to opening my bedroom window an inch or two almost every night, until it gets down to minus 10F or so.
      Butte has it's share of homeless, most can find shelter at night if they want at the mission, though Ithink they have to sit through prayers before eating.

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    5. It varies with market demand, Mike. Right now I'm getting it at $100 per half cord and ordered 3 cords which will do me approx. 3 months. Until the end of winter. I've got some "green" in the barn which will be ready in the winter. Your energy bills are waaaay lower than mine and I keep the heat off in most of my rooms.
      Yes, I was thinking of the homeless as I wrote the post and so grateful for what I have :)

      XO
      WWW

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  2. I wish I could help you out (financially), WWW. Alas this minute I can't, digging myself out of a mega hole by the teeth of my nails. At least there is now light at the end of my personal tunnel. No, not the proverbial train coming towards me. Though that, maybe, too.

    Yes, electricity. Winter is expensive. I pay between £4.50 and £5.00 per day. A pittance really. A bloody fortune at the moment.

    Hot water bottles? I share your enthusiasm. For some reason though I never have cold feet or cold hands (unlike most women I know) in recent times I feel dead cold between my shoulder blades. Strange. So, when sitting at my desk I tuck a hot water bottle (the original design) between a cushion and my back and I am as snug as the proverbial bug. Which is the reason it gives me the shivers wondering what I'd do on a cold desert island with no kettle to boil the water to fill the bottle.

    Hug,
    U

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    Replies
    1. Aw - thanks for the kind thoughts Ursula. I was never cold until the last few year, growing up in wet damp and cold Ireland toughened me up, I believe. Now it's elder limbs. Fortunately the temperature has climbed in the past day up to plus so it's a day I'm not counting the coin :)
      Sympathy to you too Ursula, I wish you also didn't have to worry about bills for basic needs.
      XO
      WWW

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  3. As I read your post, I was thinking about a good friend and her thirty-something daughter, now clinging to each other and trying to keep their heads above water. My friend was let go from the hospital job she'd held for decades after a new corporation swept in and bought the hospital where she worked, trimming personnel. Two years later, two years before Medicare, she had cancer surgery. Our state did not elect to do the Medicaid expansion, so she had no insurance. Her daughter was paying her bills, but the daughter has since suffered a health setback of her own. They're now sharing a one-bedroom apartment, combining my friend's social security and her daughter's disability payments. They both worked hard all their lives. It shouldn't be like this, should it?

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    1. Oh lawd Linda, how dreadful and I know, and you too probably, so many with similar tales. It is a multi-layered issue, I was a single mother raising two kids, always paid 1/2 what a man would earn in an equal position, then I free lanced, no pension, apart from CPP and OAS and I recently was rejected for an Irish Pension (pitiful but still)as they've lost my old records and I'm frankly too tired to pursue it. I channel my current energy into getting any kind of work to supplement, hospitality in my home, writers' courses and I had to take on tax work again. Another friend, my age, single mom all her life will be working in a local drugstore until she drops. She's 75.
      It should never be like this. And it's always the women who are impoverished.
      XO
      WWW

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  4. Some heart-rending comments there. Many Brits are also hanging on by their fingernails as the Tory government screws up the economy and cuts every welfare benefit in sight. Meanwhile the rich get even richer and crack open another bottle of champagne on their million-pound yachts.

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    1. And feel so entitled and honestly put it down to their "skill" and "hard work", Nick. I've known too many. And seriously, they never give a thought to us "lesser" beings apart from contempt.
      I wish I didn't know that.

      XO
      WWW

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  5. I send you wishes that you always are toasty, warm and safe from the howling blizzards outside.

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  6. I have recently added a toque to the ensemble. You'd be surprised how much heat you lose through your balding grey head. So I see another venture here for you. Newfie Nitted matching toque, socks and hot water bottle cover. We'd buy.

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