Thermostat set on toasty

 Maybe the carmakers are onto something with those new individual climate controls.

You know the ones—the driver’s side can be set at 72 degrees and the passenger side at a nippy 68.

We have one car with controls like that, my wife’s Nissan Altima. I’m not sure having dual settings really makes much difference in the temperature, although it reduces the discussion about whether it should be set for my comfort or hers. 

But it would be even better if we had a gadget like that at home.

Around our house, we’re in the “Battle for Thermostat Control” season. It happens every year when cold weather arrives.

My wife’s a wonderful person and I’m sure I don’t deserve her (Jenny reads this column; can you tell?), but she sure does like a cold house. It’s a constant discussion. It goes like this almost every time I come home:

“I’m home. Boy, it is cold in here.”

“No, it’s not; it’s just right,” Jenny replies.

I stop in the hallway on the way to the kitchen and move the thermostat from 68 to 72 or 74. In a few minutes, she’s complaining that it’s too hot to breathe.

We go back and forth. During the evening I sometimes have to slip back and readjust the thermostat because it has mysteriously slid back under 70.

She says I must be getting old. But I tell her that the difference between us is that when I was a young child, our family only had a pot-belly stove for heat.

Unless we were within a few feet of it, we always were cold in the winter. Ever since then, I’ve opted for being “toasty.”

It’s not just about the inside temperature, either. Jenny likes to be outside when it’s cold, walking the dogs or working in the yard. She doesn’t mind a cold day at a football game.

Before I go to a football game in cold weather, I’m searching for my thermal underwear. I would be happy if it were summer year ’round.

I worry about our relationship if we ever were to retire. Her idea of perfect retirement is a quaint village in Pennsylvania, where people meet in the winter to skate on the frozen pond in the center of town. 

Mine is watching the sun set on the desert in Arizona or New Mexico.

She prefers to dress in layers and thinks we should wear a sweater or two in the house in cold weather. I hate the L. L. Bean look.

She remembers President Jimmy Carter urging Americans to turn down their thermostat and wear a sweater to save energy. He even gave a speech from the Oval Office wearing one, she said.

“He didn’t get re-elected, either,” I replied.

She just rolls her eyes and gives me that “Yes, dear” smile. It says a lot.

I’m ready for spring.


T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached at 662-534-6321 or by e-mail at