Winter weather arrived in mid-November, and soon the temperature was in the single digits. My house’s thermostat had been preset to 55 degrees. Wearing a T-shirt, sweatshirt, sweatpants and a light coat, I found I was reasonably comfortable when I was under the covers or up and moving. But sitting at my computer, my hands were always half numb.
I remembered reading in Darwin’s “The Voyage of the Beagle” about a tribe he encountered in Tierra del Fuego called the Yaghan, who wore few clothes and by all reports were comfortable, despite living in a region where the annual mean temperature is 42 degrees. If the Yaghan could do it scantily clothed, couldn’t I do it well clothed? I did the obvious thing, and put on fingerless gloves and a hat. And after just a few days, a colder-than-normal house seemed, well, normal. I decided to go colder.
The lowest the thermostat would go was 45 degrees, which I figured was good because I had to make sure the pipes wouldn’t freeze. At first it was fairly unpleasant. I wore two pairs of wool socks, thermal underwear, a thin pair of pants, sweatpants, a wool shirt, a sweatshirt, a light hoodie, a light jacket, a big poofy winter jacket, two winter hats and those fingerless gloves. Yet I was still having trouble typing because of my numb hands. That’s when I pulled out my down sleeping bag, and decided to wear it whenever I was sitting. With the sleeping bag, now that my core had been warmed, my extremities were warming up, too.