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28 January 2014 @ 06:35 pm
In which I complain about the weather  
Not the actual weather outside. Sure, there's a polar vortex and it's colder for longer than it's been in decades, but...I live in Chicago. Being cold in the winter is kind of part of what I signed up for when we decided to move back here instead of to Seattle.

No, it's the weather inside. Back in Japan, our house was basically an uninsulated concrete box where we'd wake up to ice inside the shower room in the morning. On the other hand, we had a kotatsu with two electric heaters that we could huddle under after we woke up and made it downstairs, and we had a combo aircon/heater unit in our bedroom that was minimally effective. It actually wasn't that bad when you were under the kotatsu, other than the risk of burning yourself on the grating around the heater. Or getting minor burns from the electric heater if you put it too close. Or how the side away from the heater always froze. Or the aforementioned ice in the shower. Did you realize olive oil can freeze at relatively common temperatures? I didn't until I moved to Japan.

Okay, perhaps it is nostalgia that makes me not hate it.

There isn't any ice in our shower, but the temperature in our bedroom in the morning certainly feels water we left out would freeze, though I admit that's probably just the contrast from the pile of blankets we have. The advantage of having a wall aircon unit in both our living room and our bedroom is that summers are fine because it's really easy to cool the entire apartment when we need to, and the disadvantage is that it's very drafty in the winter even when we seal up the inside side of the aircon unit with professionally-made sealing kits mixed with duct-taped garbage bags. At least our apartment doesn't face the lake or it'd be even worse.

We have radiator heat, which means we don't pay for it and so have a criminally low electric bill compared to Japan (something like one tenth of what we paid there), but the radiator is not particularly effective at times like these. I practice city-dweller indifference toward my neighbors, but softlykarou does the laundry and occasionally talks to people, so she's heard several other people complaining about the lack of heat as well, which in classic human fashion makes me more secure in my own annoyance at how cold it is inside when I wake up. I'm too stubborn to actually buy an electric heater to deal with it, though, since we're probably going to be looking for a new apartment come the summer and it might not have as much of a problem.

I have no greater point here. I'm just annoyed that they won't turn up the heat.
Current Mood: coldcold
Current Music: Nothing
sabinae_sagasabinae_saga on January 29th, 2014 01:07 am (UTC)
Usually, you lose the most heat from bad weather stripping around windows and doors (windows getting old, etc.). So, have you tested around your windows and doors? By tested, I mean simply hold the back (or front) of your hand about an inch or so away from the edges of your windows and doors. If you feel a breeze or a touch of cold, you may want to stuff towels/washcloths/old shirts into the cracks or set a rolled up towel along the edge. I've found this to be easy and cheap to do. However, be aware that if you have lots of moisture in your apartment, you'll probably end up with ice in or on the towel. Also, this method isn't the most effective.

Alternatively, you can get one of those plastic window sealer kits from TrueValue or any hardware store for under $20. All you need is scissors, measuring tape, a hair dryer, and patience. You may be able to use some other plastic based product, but you'd have to look online. A third alternative (but I don't recommend it) is using duct tape to seal your windows. This last option will keep it sealed beautifully, but you'll rip paint up from edging and walls. Then again, when the weather dips to -40F... Desperate measures.
dorchadasdorchadas on January 29th, 2014 03:55 am (UTC)
Our windows have actually already been sealed--we mentioned the cold to the landlord and he had one of the building maintenance guys come around and put plastic sealant on our windows, which did help some but not a lot.

Part of the problem (and why our bedroom is so cold) is while the living room aircon unit has a wooden wall mounting that it sits in, the bedroom one was apparently just shoved into a hole in the wall that makes it almost impossible to seal all the cracks in. We mostly just kep the bedroom door closed and stuff a towel in the crack when it gets too cold, but that doesn't make it easier to get up in the morning. :-\