Captain’s Log 5,228
I ordered an electric blanket. I surrender. I can handle 55 degrees in my house when I am awake, but trying to sleep is another matter. Using the heat at night would raise my monthly bill by $200 or so. The blanket cost $42. I see that as a wise investment. I looked into heated mattress pads, but they start at $250. WTF?
I learned to use electric blankets from my mom. 30 minutes before bed, turn the blanket on medium. Turn it OFF once you get into bed. You will be toasty warm all night because your body heat takes over. When I was a kid growing up in Iowa, I slept in an unheated upstairs bedroom. I would scramble up to my room about 9:30 every night and turn on that blanket. By the time I went to bed around 10:15 or so, I was uncased in a lovely cocoon of blessed warmth.
I have been called miserly for my views on things like this. That doesn’t bother me at all. I’ve been called worse. The fact of the matter is I don’t mind not having creature comforts. I don’t need the best of everything. I don’t need a $60,000 car and I don’t need to order $40 entrees in a restaurant. Nor do I want those things. I am happy with very little, and if that makes me miserly……so be it. I grew up emotionally and physically tough. I grew up knowing how to survive and take care of myself. I didn’t cry over everything and I knew better than to even tell my mom when a horse kicked me so hard it left a shoe-print on my thigh for months (just missed shattering my kneecap). I wasn’t supposed to go near the horse, so I couldn’t tell her about the injury (since I was still able to walk). I wore pants to cover it up. It was suck it up or disappoint my mom, and I just could not disappoint her.
So more about the miserly thing……
When I was a touring musician, it was either feast or famine. I got paid when I worked. There were flush times and lean times, so I learned to manage my money wisely to make it stretch when things were slim. I also worked odd jobs (putting together catalogs in a bindery, working as a server for a catering company, doing odd jobs for my sister’s home-based business, giving guitar lessons, etc.) When those are the circumstances you choose, the benefit is learning how to manage your money wisely. You become adept at discerning need from want. I also learned to be generous during those times. For some reason, poor people understand the joy of giving much more than people of means, and that was true for me.
I have the need part figured out. I have everything I need. And the want part seems to be disappearing. The older I get, the less I want. Basic needs seem to fit the bill. I have a job, a car, a house, friends, family, a full fridge, books to read, cable TV, and a paradise patio that allows me to connect with nature whenever I want.
But about that electric blanket – the piece that started this whole thing. I both need AND want it. The blanket arrives tomorrow. I know it will make winter easier to deal with, and I am grateful. I don’t need to heat my entire house, just my nice bed when I am ready for sleep.