“Why is it so hot here?” my husband complained. While wiping a bit of sweat off of his forehead, he walked over to the thermostat.
“It’s 80°!” he exclaimed once he saw the thermostat reading.
“What are you talking about? 80° is the perfect temperature,” I said. “Just lower it to 75° or something.”
“I’m lowering it to 70°.”
“Fine,” I relented and then took a sweater from the closet and reluctantly wore it.
Winters in San Francisco can get chilly going down into the 40s. This may not seem that cold to people who live in the East Coast of the US or other places where it snows. However, the wind chill makes up for that. There’s nothing like waiting for the Muni bus in downtown SF, wearing a thick long coat, with hands in my pockets, scarf wrapped around my neck while the wind blasts it’s cold breathe onto me. As my mother says “ang lamig nang hangin, pumumunta sa buto,” or in English, the wind is so cold that it gets into your bones, is the closest thing to describing it. The temperature dropped significantly in the past few days so the last thing I would want is to go home to a freezing apartment.
Growing up, my family would rarely turn on the central heating in order to save money. To combat the cold at home, my brother and I would dress in layers wearing fleece sweaters and sweats and socks. My mother wore a puff jacket over her vest, on top of her sweater, on top of her shirt along with long pants with socks. And to complete the outfit, a yellow beanie with a pompom at the top. My father would wear the same thick black jacket everywhere around the house. You would think that we were spending a weekend skiing at Lake Tahoe if you saw us.
Although we wore layer upon layer upon layer just to feel comfortable at home, it wasn’t enough. Thankfully, we could use space heaters so my mother, brother and I each had our own. My mother had the Presto Heat Dish Plus brand bought from Costco that resembled a fan but without the rotating blades. It would change colors from a dim orange to a bright glowing orange to indicate each setting from low to high. The high setting would be too hot that it felt like it was burning your face so it would have to be adjusted to the medium setting. But, the medium setting wasn’t hot enough so it had to be readjusted back to the high setting. It was a viscous cycle since there was no comfortable in between. However, it was good enough for her so she would transport it around the house to each room that she would be occupying. My brother, on the other hand, would just keep it in his room. My father didn’t have one but would on occasion share the Presto when his thick black jacket wouldn’t suffice.