Jenny: Cottage Saturday: Four Dog Night and Broken Cookies

It’s cold here, and I don’t have a furnace. I do have a terrific fireplace insert going in next Friday when the temperatures will be in the forties–irony, ha–but for right now, I’m praying that space heaters, electric blankets, and four dogs that radiate heat like little furnaces will get me through this bad patch. Yes, I put insulation around my pipes and a space heater in the basement, thank you for asking. Yes, I know space heaters are ungodly expensive to run and can be dangerous if not plugged into dedicated circuits (mine upstairs are) and sited on non-flammable floors with clearance (yep), but I’m stuck with this for now.

And it’s not all bad. For example, one third of my space heater/electric blanket/furry heat-radiating animal solution is really cute:

Four Dog Night

But the best thing about all of this is that I’ve moved into Krissie’s bedroom for the duration of the winter, except when she comes to stay. Which means I’m finally in a finished room. Okay, I need to finish some decorative painting and hang some more pictures, but the walls and woodwork are painted, the floor is done, there are blinds and curtains on all the windows, and there’s no wood stacked on the floor or power tools on the dresser. This must be the way normal people live. I like it.

I think staying in the unfinished part of the house was kind of a broken cookie thing. You know how you always eat the broken cookies so the other people can have the perfect ones? I really do want my guests to be comfortable, so it made sense to finish the front bedroom first, plus it was the easiest one to finish, no building anything, but then to stay in the back bedroom when I could have been in a nice room was just broken-cookie knee-jerk dumb. Every now and then I look up from my computer and think, “It’s really pretty in here,” and then I go back to work. HUGE improvement over looking up from the screen and thinking, “Damn it, I have to sew those curtains and get those shelf supports painted and get everything hung up and add the shelves and do the woodwork and hang that mirror . . .”

From now on I’m eating the whole cookies. Even if it’s seven below outside. ESPECIALLY when it’s seven below outside.

31 thoughts on “Jenny: Cottage Saturday: Four Dog Night and Broken Cookies

  1. Excellent choice – and I have every faith in your furry heaters. I’m sitting in my mess of a workroom, feeling overwhelmed – so I absolutely know what you mean, although I’ve only got a couple of rooms to reorganize.

    But Mum and I are planning to do the big sort-out of linens and bedding this afternoon, after which I should have a bit more room to manouevre.

    Hope you stay warm until the fire’s installed.

  2. Oh, those sweet faces! Isn’t it fascinating the way we automatically deny ourselves without even thinking about it or recognizing it? It’s the Bad Wolf sneaking one in.

    We’re about to hit single digits here (haven’t we already done this?) as well. Brrrrr. Out here the day is just beginning and there’s a light snow coming down. But, hey, the Keurig makes hot chocolate and I’m in the Laz-Y-Boy with a flannel quilt on my lap, and my own furry beast is relaxed on the floor. (Australian Shepherds are supposed to be one of the most energetic breeds of dog — our super mellow guy skews the curve). Life is good.

    Oh, and for anyone who missed it, I have some bookmarks for a giveaway on my blog in case you’re interested and (at least on occasion) a 3-D reader.

  3. Kelly S says:

    Very smart move. You remind me of Agnes, sleeping in the pantry despite having a fantastic room upstairs ready for move in.

    We ordered new cabinets and a counter for the master bathroom last night from Menards as they are having a 11% off everything sale. The sale ends today. The 11% however is in the form of a rebate & Menards money, which we’ll use for plumbing & lighting. This is the big project. Going from 1 sink to 2. Taking down a 90″ long mirror. In a few months, I should have before and after photos.

  4. Lola says:

    The not using the perfect bedroom for your own use sounds familiar. Isn’t that what Agnes did in AATHM?

    Dog pics! 🙂

  5. nightsmusic says:

    That picture is adorable! They all look like, “Well? We’re ready. Lift the covers, climb in and we’re right behind you!” 🙂

    I’m glad you moved into Krissie’s room! It’s really your room (you pay the mortgage) so though I understand how you feel, you need to be warm when she’s not there. What will your fireplace insert run on? Pellets or wood? They’re wonderful things, inserts.

    I have one doberman draped across my lap between laptop and tummy and the other is laying across my feet. I’m sitting in front of the fireplace after having piled enough wood on it to fill the hearth, we’re having a heat wave here of 20 degrees out and I’m still freezing. But we just got done with 0 degree weather so the house takes a long time to warm up (another reason we’re moving as much as I love it here) so it will warm up just about the time the temps fall back in the -7 range on Sunday night again. Too bad it doesn’t hold the heat as well as it gives it away!

  6. I could cry salty tears.

    I suddenly remembered, Hey! Jenny has that other blog over at ReFab. How did I lose sight of that? (And here I’ve been rolling my eyes every Saturday at Argh Ink when yet another National something day comes round. And I haven’t really watched Dr Who since the Tom Baker days.)

    Oh dear, oh dear. I’ve got a ton of reading to catch up on, to find out how things have been going in New Jersey.

    Jeez, and quilts too!

  7. A fireplace insert will be good. Why don’t you have a furnace? Will you be getting one? With the colder weather (and probably continued colder for a long time), will the insert be enough to heat your whole house? Just don’t want Our Jenny to freeze. I had a furnace-rated gas fireplace in my last house, inserted into the unusable fireplace (because there was no room for duct work). It did an awesome job heating most of a 1300 sf ranch-style house.

    I like the dog heaters. It’s good you have enough of them to compound the heat: they are like boosters on electrical circuits or radio signals — they build on each others’ heat and thus have even more to give off. More than the sum of their parts!

  8. That photo is so inviting. Nothing like four dogs and an electric blanket, except maybe three pair of socks and a hot chocolate with marshmallows. Stay warm. Love that you are treating yourself to the finished room and the good cookies, because that means a contented lady, which means someone is writing. : )

  9. Ah. Broken Cookie syndrome. Also known as “Burnt Toast” syndrome in Teri Hatcher’s book. A common issue for lots of us women I think–to give the best to others & take the worst for ourselves.

    Only as Teri points out in her book, she witnessed her mom always eating the burnt toast & one day had the epiphany that she didn’t want to model that same behaviour for her daughter so she was making a conscious effort to break the cycle. The cycle we women seem to pass down from generation to generation.

    I applaud you breaking your Broken Cookie cycle. Bring on the pretty cookies. And puppies. And proper heat hopefully soon.

    May you enjoy your lovely room in your lovely house in peace & comfort:)

  10. ruthie says:

    Well, hell…I’m not sure what happened there…I was trying to ask what kind of space heaters you have. Are they the DeLonghi radiator kind? I wondered because of the non-flammable floors and clearance thing. We’ve been using them for years in the I guess you’d call them vacation places, places where no one lives so they don’t stay heated year round. The electricity can be expensive, but they’re totally safe and heat up a room, and a small house/cottage, pretty quickly. I think it’s more a matter of getting the wet out of the air, which takes the chill off fast.

    Anyway, stay warm, enjoy the furry heaters and the finished bedroom. I really hate being cold, so I can’t imagine (don’t want to either 😉 what you’re having to deal with.

    Happy 2014!

  11. Good plan! It might be easier to get things done in the back when you aren’t living in there, too, and even if it isn’t, now you are feeling cozy and can wake up happy… you’ll eventually get the back room sorted and be able to enjoy the warmer weather and beautiful light in that room again.

  12. I have a working furnace and a well-insulated house, but I’m habitually stingy with the heat, so it’s extra blankets and heavy sweaters around here. A foster puppy (for a service dog organization–this is his socialization period) is living with me this winter, and, yep, dogs make good heaters!

  13. The basement and the kitchen have DeLonghis. They pull a lot of electricity, but they’re great.
    The living room has a quartz heater. The bedroom has a little Sunbeam because it’s not on a dedicated circuit.
    It’s not toasty, but it’s not awful, either.

  14. The furnace this is a long, complicated, not very interesting story, mainly about finances. I have to get the fireplace done first because I need a form of heat that doesn’t depend on electricity. If the power goes out, I can sit by the fire and not freeze even though the blower will be off. The insert I’m getting is supposed to heat a 2000 sq ft house, and this cottage is about 1000 sq ft. so I should be could. If I can last until Friday. Argh.

  15. Fireplace insert is wood-burning. Which makes me happy for other reasons, too. There’s something really atavistic about hearing wood crackle.

  16. Leigh says:

    I hate being cold too. Right now I’ve got a temp of 102.5 and cats on the bed. Add in it the odd hot flash and it’s steamy in this bedroom. I wish I could bottle the heat and fedex it down to you. Hang in there. Btw, you deserve the perfect cookie. But you’ve already figured that out.

  17. Michelle says:

    Such sweet babies. Don’t forget to try to drink hot liquids, helps warm you up from the inside out. Also thermal underwear.

  18. Sending heat your way form way down south. Snow storms in the US were on the news and it looked bitterly cold. Keep your fury heaters tucked around you. Fearing she was becoming overheated, she was panting so fast, I sponged our dog down a couple of times yesterday.

  19. Micki says:

    That’s right. In 2014, the good stuff gets used! (Besides, it’s extremely practical to spend a few months in your guest room — you get to know the space well, and anticipate the needs of future guests better. You can chuck that to the Bad Wolf if he’s growly.)

    We are experiencing unusually warm weather for January BUT, it’s still damn cold. I bought a water bottle that I use at the office to keep my lap warm, and it also helps me warm up my fingers in the car. I think I’m going to need it when school starts again.

  20. I think you can get a battery backup for the minor amount of electric the blower uses, too. (I keep thinking I should do that for my pellet stove, since it won’t run without electric.)

    This is NOT the winter to have heating issues, that’s for sure. Stay warm, Our Jenny.

  21. I have a friend who uses EdenPure heaters and swears by them. Says they don’t even draw a lot of electricity, although I’m not sure how that’s possible…

  22. Jane F says:

    You do deserve whole cookies! Thinking back to when you moved in to the back porch it seemed to be a liberating feeling and enjoying the tree house feel. If you aren’t getting that there’s no reason not to move in the charming a complete bedroom you already have. Stay warm.

  23. I think the season has a lot to do with it. In the summer, the back porch was heaven, even unfinished. Now it’s just cold and the landscape is bleak. Up front, it’s warm and the bathroom is attached. Possibly I will learn to rotate bedrooms with the seasons, of course vacating this one whenever Krissie comes to stay.

  24. ruthie says:

    I know this is going to sound really nuts…but it works for me. I’ve alwayshad a problem, since I was a little kid, with getting cold and not being able to warm up, so I finally came up with this. At night, if you can do something to kind of shelter around your face so you aren’t breathing in cold air, that helps to keep you from getting so cold in the first place. I’ve got this frame they use in hospitals to keep the blankets off the patient’s feet, but I have it over the head end of my bed, over my pillow, instead, with a towel across it. Just a little while in my “tent” breathing out my warm breath, and the air in there is many degrees warmer than room temp. Keeps me from getting chilled in the first place.

    Also, reading Michelle’s comment about warming up from the inside reminds me of when I had a really bad case of flu with chills and fever. I’d start shivering and in minutes, I’d be shivering so hard it shook the bed! One afternoon I felt the shivers start just as I was about to drink a cup of tea (I keep an electric kettle in my room). I took it over to the bed with me, took a couple of sips, and, like magic (it really was at that point) it stopped the shivers before they got going.

    The trick is to not get so chilled in the first place. 😉 That’s hard when you can’t keep the air heated as much as you’d like, but there are tricks if you don’t feel too foolish using them.

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