Monday, December 27, 2010

Diary of a Cold Day

Monday, December 27

7:50 a.m. - Chilly this morning.  Frost on the rooftops, a relative rarity in Dallas.  Fortunately I'm wearing the lovely vintage jacket that Beloved Spouse gave me for Christmas.  Still, I'll be glad to get into my heated building.

7:55 a.m. - Wow, it's cold in my office.  They must have turned the heat down over the long Christmas weekend.  Crank the thermostat up.  That should do it.

8:00 a.m. - Wasn't going to make coffee today.  Too much food and drink the last few days, and tummy doesn't need a bunch of caffeine dumped on top of it.  Worth the nervous stomach to wrap my hands around a warm mug, however.  Just a cup or two until the heat kicks in.

8:15 a.m. - Is the heat even on? Is that what that sound is?  Could be the fluorescents humming, or traffic from outside.  No, it must be the heater running.  Sure is taking its time to warm up in here.

8:30 a.m. - Send e-mail to property manager re: extremely cold office temperature.  Hard to type with stiff fingers.  Coffee in mug is already cold.

8:35 a.m. - Property manager says she will send the building engineer down to check out my "issues."  Issues rhymes with tissues, and I think the ones in my body are beginning to ice over.  Also, making silly rhymes may indicate the onset of brain freeze.

8:50 a.m. - Building engineer arrives, tinkers with thermostats in office.  Says ominously that although there are four of them in my small suite, only one of them actually affects the temperature.  I think that's what he said.  Hard to hear over teeth chattering.  But it should get warmer now.

9:15 a.m. - This is not warmer.  Warmer would feel less actually cold.  My lovely vintage jacket apologizes for being ineffectual against the chill, but after all there wasn't an ice age on when it was manufactured.

9:16 a.m. - Probably shouldn't think about how cold it has to get to start having imaginary conversations with clothing. 

9:45 a.m. - Getting some work done.  Submit expense report, contact IT department.  Put coffee in microwave.

9:55 a.m. - Seriously, is the heat even on? That rumbling noise could just be glaciers calving.

10:15 a.m. - Screw the building engineer.  Crank up all four thermostats as high as they will go.

10:25 a.m. - Nothing.

10:40 a.m. - Start to feel paranoid.  Check with other offices on this floor.  They're cold, too.  Commiseration provides less warmth than expected.

10:50 a.m. - Realize that co-worker has an indoor/outdoor thermometer in his office.  It's up to 42 degrees outside - good news.  And inside it's...oh, no, no, no, no.  Fifty-one-point-four??  It's 51.4 degrees in here.  Seriously?  Fahrenheit?  Fuck.

11:00 a.m. - First pot of coffee gone.  Check coffee supplies.  Plenty, thank God.  Check frozen entree that I brought for lunch.  Sitting in my desk drawer, it has not appreciably thawed.

11:20 a.m. - Start thinking about Jack Nicholson at the end of The Shining.  He didn't have it so bad.  If Scatman Crothers were to show up now, I'd probably bury an axe in his back just to get my blood moving.

11:25 a.m. - Go down the hall to the restroom.  Marginally warmer in here.  Until I sit down.  Curse men and their equipment.  On the other hand, risk of frostbite down there too horrible to contemplate.  Call it a draw.

11:30 a.m. - Check indoor temperature again.  Fifty-three degrees.  Getting toasty now.

11:40 a.m. - Was that a sniffle?  Yes, definitely a sniffle.  Google "catch cold from chill."

11:43 a.m. -  This website says that colds are caused by a virus, not from catching a chill.  So does this one.   Stupid Internet.

11:47 a.m. - Stop Googling.  Keyboard is cold.

12:00 noon - Put lunch in microwave.  Envy lunch.  Look at framed poster of Monte Carlo on office wall.  Think about how Princess Grace perished in a fiery crash.  Envy Princess Grace.  Experience shame.  Wonder why they call it "burning shame" if it doesn't actually make you warmer.

12:40 p.m. - Call Beloved Spouse to complain about cold office.  As hoped, resentment over Beloved Spouse's complete lack of sympathy provides temporary warmth.

12:55 p.m. - Thinking about Jack Nicholson in The Shining again.  How he had to keep an eye on the boiler so it wouldn't overheat.  Mmmm...overheat.  If I knew where the boiler was in this place, I'd let that bitch blow.

1:10 p.m. - WTF?? Just brushed one hand against the other. Colder than a witch's tit. Interesting expression. Of all the things that another thing can be colder than, why that? What kind of sick bastard would even think about how a witch's tit feels?

1:13 p.m. - If I were a witch, I would certainly see to it that my tits were magically warm at all times. Just saying.

1:15 p.m. - What? Mind wandered for a minute there. Don't fall asleep, dammit. Don't fall asleep.

1:45 p.m. - Apparently the building engineer has gone AWOL.  Has anyone checked that snowdrift in the lobby?
2:00 p.m. - Thinking about long cold winters growing up in Wisconsin.  Look up current temperature in Milwaukee - 29 degrees.  Decide that 29 degrees and a nice warm cruller would beat the shit out of being in this office right now.
A cruller, like the kind we used
to get from Grebe's Bakery
2:25 p.m. - Check indoor temperature again.  It's actually dropped four-tenths of a degree.  Realize that madness is cold, so cold.

2:45 p.m. - UPS delivery provides a diversion.  A shipment of office supplies, including a small tool kit.  I momentarily consider beating myself silly with a hammer, or alternatively, trying to construct a space heater out of washers and screws.  Also, the corporate office has nice, a supply of company shirts.  Might they possibly be thick, fleecy sweatshirts?  No, just short-sleeve T-shirts.  Loyalty to company wanes.

2:55 p.m. - Wander over to the suite across the hall.  THEY HAVE HEAT!!  I don't have heat, but they do.  Paranoia was on target after all.  Friendly receptionist invites me to sit in lobby and get warm, but quickly becomes creeped out by my rocking back and forth and moaning.  Back to the icebox.

3:25 p.m. - Another trip to the restroom.  Spend a long time washing hands in hot, hot water.  Feels soooo good, it's almost a religious experience.  Are those stigmata or just blisters?

3:40 p.m. - Going on eight hours without heat.  Head feels like plate of chilled monkey brains.  Or so I assume, lacking firsthand experience with chilled monkey brains.  Or monkey brains at any temperature, really.

3:41 p.m. - What was I talking about?

3:45 p.m. - I grow philosophical, wondering:  Why am I here? 

3:47 p.m. - No, really.  Why the hell am I here?  There's no fucking heat.  Why am I still here?  Resist urge to slap myself in forehead for fear that my hand might stick there, like a tongue to a frozen flagpole.

3:50 p.m. - Check indoor temperature one last time before leaving.  Just in case the heat decided to come on after all.  In my semi-frozen state, the digital readout appears to say "Go home, you idiot."

I am so taking the day after Christmas off next year.

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