I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
July 20, 2011
When I married my husband nine years ago, I obviously hoped for the best.
Realistically, though, I was pretty sure that any breakdown in our relationship over the coming years would be the result of the usual marital problems- money woes, infidelity, hobbies or jobs that took us in vastly different directions- that kind of thing.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think that something else entirely would be responsible for the bulk of the strain on our relationship– something so ridiculously ordinary, and yet so vital to our joint contentment:
I’ve written about our our ongoing thermostat problems before, but in a nutshell, it goes something like this: Hubs likes it hot, I like it cold.
My ideal thermostat setting in winter, for example, would be a comfortable 68 degrees. That’s warm enough for comfort, yet cool enough for me to run around the house mopping/folding clothes/vacuuming/playing ring-around-the-rosy without working up too much of a sweat. And if anyone complains of feeling chilly, I have a simple, cost-effective solution:
Put on a sweater! PROBLEM SOLVED.
Hubs, on the other hand, prefers to keep the thermostat set on 74. Seventy-Four, People. That is two full degrees above room temperature!
That is practically equatorial!
Last year, we somehow “compromised” on 73, which meant that I spent a very long winter waking up each night in a sweat as hot air from the overhead vent blew down on me and I tossed and turned in misery. I endured this discomfort for one reason only: Summer was approaching. And to be honest, I’d much rather be too warm in winter than too warm in the summer, when I’ve already been sweating all day long.
“I hope you remember this six months from now,” I told Hubs one night last January as he bumped up the thermostat another degree. “I hope you remember that I let you keep it like a sauna all winter without complaint. Because come June, it’s payback time. And I don’t want to hear one word out of you then!”
Hubs, strangely, didn’t seem all that upset. I couldn’t understand why at the time, but now I’m pretty sure I know the reason. ‘Payback time’ has arrived and, wouldn’t you know it, the thermostat is still set permanently on 74. Hubs wanted 75, I wanted 72. This is our ‘compromise.’
I hate our compromise.
I tried for a while to content myself with turning down the A/C the moment Hubs left for work each day. He’d come home and silently turn it back up, but I’d wait for him to fall asleep and then turn it right back down to 73 before going to sleep myself.
But this has become exhausting. I am tired of expending energy thinking about the damn thermostat. I’m also tired of sweating. I am 36 years old, dammit, and I’ve accomplished some things. By God, I have a right to relax in my own home without sweating! (Cue cane waving.)
And beyond my thermostat fatigue, a new problem has arisen. Apparently, Hubs is just as dissatisfied by our uneasy temperature truce as I am, because he’s taken the battle one step further: to our cars. He now insists that we will get “better mileage” if we keep the air conditioner on ‘Normal’ instead of ‘Max.’
Did you hear that? That was the sound of my head exploding.
I don’t know how it is where you live, but here in Nashville in July, when the temperature is 97 degrees and the relative humidity is at 99%, the ‘Normal’ setting just doesn’t cut it. When I married, I did not sign up for lukewarm air to blow on me in the summertime in my car, I know that much. It would be one thing if we were barely making ends meet, but we both make a decent living and already live fairly frugally. I THINK WE CAN AFFORD THE ‘MAX’ BUTTON IN JULY, HUBS. In fact, I’ve used it my whole life and still somehow managed to put food on the table. Crazy, right??!
I’m left in these situations with an uncomfortable dilemma. Do I complain about the ‘normal’ setting and risk getting into a minor skirmish, which inevitably will create a small raincloud that hangs over us for the rest of the day? Or do I instead say nothing and simply sweat in seething silence? (Alliteration! Hee!)
I’ve actually come up with a third solution. I wait until he’s not looking, and then I quickly hit the ‘Max’ button.
And while I may seem to be triumphant, somehow this is not how I envisioned my married life after nine years. I thought that at this point, Hubs and I would be completely in step. Our likes and dislikes would have had plenty of time to blend and mellow, and compromises would be easily reached.
I was wrong.
So, so wrong.
And now that you know my embarrassing tale, I ask you: Is there such thing as a therapist who specializes in the thermostatically challenged?
Image via Jenna/Flickr