Monday, February 2, 2009

potato wedges - on slippers & hats...

After enjoying and featuring "..Kraft Dinner.." by the colourful blogger, Potato, over at Blessed By The Potato, we thought we'd sign him to a temporary guest column series contract with the moneygardener for an undisclosed sum... This post series promises to be unlike any other consumer reporting/ offbeat commentary you've ever read. John Stossel eat your heart out.... This series will be a change of pace, and we're calling it potato wedges. Enjoy...

On Slippers and Hats and Warm Woolen Mittens

Energy costs are crashing, and we're probably going to be due for a credit/adjustment from Union Gas before the winter is out – but for the moment, we're paying through the nose for our heat. Roughly 30% more than last year. So conservation is big in our minds at the Potato homestead, for both financial and environmental reasons.

Making changes to your home to make it more efficient are great steps to take. Since we're renting here there's a certain limit to what we can do: we've put plastic wrap over the windows and caulked the cracks we could find, and we have opened and closed registers so that most of the heat is flowing in to the kitchen and the bedrooms (where we spend most of our time).

The next step, and one that is sometimes overlooked, is to bundle up. Heat yourself, not the house… that actually reminds me of an amusing anecdote often shared at conferences: at one point shortly after the miracle of microwaves was discovered (and apparently more recently, too), it was proposed to use them to heat people. Yes, people -- a microwave/millimeter beam would heat you up in your own living room, because as long as you were warm it wouldn't matter how cold the room was. But I'm not here to talk about the mad science of the 1930's.

As much fun as it is to run around the house in a T-shirt like I do at work (oh, they waste so much heat at work), I can turn the heat down a few degrees by just throwing on a sweater. Of course, even more important than a sweater are slippers. Keeping your feet warm is key to staying comfortable in what is otherwise a frigid house. Not just because they're the furthest part of your body from your heart so they go numb and cold quickly, but also because they make direct physical contact with the cold floor.

The slippers I have right now are really crazy warm. They're Darth Vader slippers, and his mighty head is pretty much solid stuffing which is just oh so toasty warm. Of course, I don't know if it's the fact that I tend to drag my feet when I'm wearing slippers or what, but they freak the hell out of the cat. Ah well, a small price to pay for energy savings (and though the cat doesn't have slippers, she's fluffy and doesn't seem to mind the cold).

The next step for me is going to be hats and gloves. So far I've held off because I want the house to be warm enough that I can type without gloves, since I spend so much time on the computer, but a hat makes perfect sense. I mean, ok, it does seem kind of goofy to run around the house in a toque, but they do always say that a large part of your heat loss is through the head…

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