What a Man’s Gotta Do

It is 5° outside, so cut me some slack. I feel justified in doing whatever it takes to stay warm — and that includes my feet.
Even in this small room not 10 feet from the wood stove, my toes are cold. I’d swear, if they weren’t orange-red and yellow, that the licking flames were animated, upside-down icicyles. So I have taken the matter of cold feet into my own hands, there being no one else here to tell me I can’t do it. (And trust me: she WOULD!)
I have hung several heavy shirts along the lintels of each door, and in addition, across one, now hangs the white café curtains on the tension rod from the dining room window.
The new decorations keep more of the heat here where I live and less from the rest of the house that’s empty for the next 36 hours.
Yes, it looks a bit of a sight–like a guy lives here alone–but a man’s got to do a man’s got to do.
I feel warmer already.

It is 5° outside, so cut me some slack. I feel justified in doing whatever it takes to stay warm — and that includes my feet.

Even in this small room not 10 feet from the wood stove, my toes are cold. I’d swear, if they weren’t orange-red and yellow, that the licking flames were animated, upside-down icicyles. So I have taken the matter of cold feet into my own hands, there being no one else here to tell me I can’t do it. (And trust me: she WOULD!)

I have hung several heavy shirts along the lintels of each door, and in addition, across one, now hangs the white café curtains on the tension rod from the dining room window.

The new decorations keep more of the heat here where I live and less from the rest of the house that’s empty for the next 36 hours.

Yes, it looks a bit of a sight–like a guy lives here alone–but a man’s got to do a man’s got to do.

I feel warmer already.

Published by fred

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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8 Comments

  1. From the other side of the mountain (Peters and Potts) –Sounds like you could use a personal knitter who works with wool! A friend of mine can help in that department. As for in-house lounging…try layers: first long johns, then a full suit of “sweats”, next a cotton sweater; a dickie; a WOOL hat, a pair of heavy WOOL sox, add a wool bathrobe (looks funny as all get out, and it’s a bit of a challenge to walk around, but it works!) After that, you’ll have to begin deciding which chair you plan to burn first. (in pieces, of course!)

    E. McKenzie
    WV

    PS–Please do keep writing your blog….I’ve just had the good fortune of discovering it. I so respect and admire your artistry and your literary gifts!

  2. Greetings, Elora, but…

    Man, you must be really lost to have stumbled down this back road. Happy for the company. And you’d be proud, as I’m decked out pretty much as you describe, including the thick, WAY off white, terrycloth bathrobe. THe sun has come out, is streaming in the south window on my desk making me drowsy-warm. Life is good.

    Cheers…

  3. After suffering through a night of the low 20’s in a house not designed for those kinds of lows I can empathize. Even I who normally lounges around in shorts and tee-shirts all winter while my better half tells me how cold it is…I am layered up and in thick wool socks myself this morning. Shorts and tee-shirt still there just covered by sweats and Henley.

    Don’t have the pleasure of the dancing flames…just the vision of dollar bills burning as I listen to the heat pump run…Stay warm…Anyway you can.

  4. Hey, Fred, ya’ do whatcha gotta, right? When it comes down to survival, there’s no such thing as tacky. I’d be hangin’ shipping pads, blankets, anything I could get my hands on to bottle up those doors.

  5. here this morning -3 F.
    I received two spectacular gifts
    this holiday season
    a part of calf high
    sock occasins
    and a large
    bamboo yarn bathrobe
    which is the softest WARMEST thing
    I now own
    my feet haven’t been cold since the mocassins arrived
    (from Land’s End in case you need to order)
    and I’m knitting an afghan
    (the Adult Blankie)
    for a dear friend in far Northern British Columbia
    it’s now over 6 feet long
    so the [partial] whole of it
    keeps my legs warm while I knit
    it weill no doubt be
    the largest adult blankie
    in the world
    by the time I finish

  6. Then again some of us went ice fishing all day long yesterday. With a high temperature of a whooping 9 degrees and a low of -5 with a twenty mile an hour wind it was , to say the least chilly!

    Layers and layers, drilling 10 of those holes with a hand auger, clearing the holes every 20 minutes to keep them from freezing the tip-ups in place, and a bright blue sky with a dazzling sun kept our spirits high. Six hous later we had caught one bass but had a million laughs and more fresh air than you can imagine.

    The best part? Sitting by the woodstove when I got home and thawing out.

    Stay warm!

    Bill

  7. The secret to warm feet is good liner socks. I’ve got about 2 dozen pair of them, purchased over the years at REI, the Wigwam Gobi brand. They last forever, still have the first pair I bought 20 years ago and I wear liners every day, winter and summer. Finally wore a hole in one sock last month. They say hand wash but I use the machine, just pull them out of the dryer while still a bit damp.

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