Multigenerational Temperature Control – when is 78 degrees not 78 degrees?

It is entirely true that older people feel temperature in a different way.

My parents, who live in the lower level of our home “feel” the change in temperature more than we do on the main level.  My house is a 2,100 square foot ranch with an additional 2,000 square foot lower level – plenty of room for this multigenerational family.  However, on the main level, we have 20 foot ceilings while below is the normal 9 foot.  I am sure you can anticipate the problem?

It is easy to see, then, how air conditioning and heating are diffused on our level and intensified on theirs.  The result: my father predictably skulks up the stairs in both winter and summer to adjust the temperature.  This drives my husband and me into orbit.  And what pushes us over the edge – he claims not to do it!  As if we do not hear the heat or the A/C mysteriously turn on or off seconds after we detect his size 12s on the stairs!

My mother mentioning how cool or warm it is, however, gets my attention fast because she NEVER complains about the temperature in the house.

Last week, Boulder, Colorado had a record-breaking day of heat – 94 degrees.  I know my Arizona friends will think this a mild summer day but for CO, it was hot.  We had not turned on the A/C yet, but in my book, hitting 90 is the go-ahead to close windows and crank down the air.

At 10 pm, as I lounged in my cotton nightie, cool and comfortable, watching a re-run of Frasier (miss that show!) I heard footsteps on the stairs.  Anticipating my dad, I was shocked to see my mom – in her full-length mink, neck to knees – bound up in fur.  (please don’t take offense, this fur has been around for decades…)

She asked in her gentle, unassuming way, if perhaps I had the A/C on too low?

In between my bouts of  hysterical laughter, I checked the temperature and it was accidentally set to 68 – not 78.  After walking downstairs, I agreed with my dad – you could have hung meat down there.  We quickly warmed it up by opening the windows and doors and turning off the air.

My parents have since taken cardboard and duct tape and sealed their vents shut so they only get a trickle of cool air.  And I have agreed to only adjust the temperature in the house with the hall light on.

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