It’s January, and what should we be doing with our homes? Oh let’s see… checking our weather stripping, analyzing our heat loss, watching for ice damns. Ugh… such drudgery. Me? Cozy, cozy, cozy! That’s all I want. Wake-me-when-its-over cozy. Burrow-in-for-the-winter cozy. Puffy socks and sweet hot beverages and being glad the holidays are over and all that stuff is stored away. ("Nice to see them come, nice to see them go," as my father used to say about them.) Yes, balance has been restored and all is well after the anarchy of the season. I wish I could say the same for this wounded and wonderful country of ours.
Am I good at getting cozy? You bet! But not for myself of course. I’m the mother of four. I became an expert by getting cozy for them. I remember my oldest being sick as a child. He'd be on his bed all flushed and damp, and I’d swoop in and put my hand on his forehead, foof-up his comforter, and tuck in his special stuffed animal. Plumping his pillows up behind him I'd declare, “Young man, I’m going to get you some ginger ale.” And on my way downstairs I'd hear him call after me in a small wavering voice, "With a bendy straw?” Yup. Of course, I had them. And after he kept down some liquids and was dreaming of a world with calmer seas -- that’s when I knew I’d cozied him up but good.
So as we embark on probably the longest, deepest winter months of our lives, I am offering up just a few tricks of my trade.
Cozy tip #1: An undersized comforter cover. Sounds weird and lumpy and not right - but it’s the same trick designers use with couch pillows - we stuff a larger insert into a smaller case. Just trust me and try it.
I’m divorcing. And amidst the pain and disbelief of a failed marriage after so many years, there came one silver lining. My almost-ex and I were polar opposites on mattress goals. I think we both compromised over the years until neither of us was actually happy with our bed -- which is probably an apt metaphor for the marriage. But when I moved into my own place I got a Serta Pillow Top with the emphasis on the pillow top. No memory foam here. No it-expands-after-it-gets-delivered. This mattress came as a big poofy rectangle. And the top is deliciously soft. Couple that with a linen duvet cover a size smaller than my actual duvet….. and…. nirvana. Just ask my damn cats, because I can’t get them off my bed. Honestly. They tuck themselves into the folds and then somehow they triple in weight, so that when I try to shake them off, they just anchor in and roll with the punches. My marriage should have had some of that same commitment.
Cozy tip #2: be thoughtful about your couch blankets -- and this gets personal. But if you are using a discarded blanket from your daughter’s room, or a wool heirloom that needs to be dry-cleaned -- you are doing it all wrong. I’ll share with you my criteria -- but you will have your own. For me, I have lots of kids and lots of pets and lots of ins and lots of outs. My number one criterion is washability. Because, in my house, we are a messy bunch. We have happy hours at the coffee table and lingering coffees at the same place in the morning. And I see the spills and the lazy I-don’t-want -to-grab-a-napkin wipes. And so do they. And all of us need to know that these blankets are easily and frequently washed. My second criterion is based on tactile appeal. I’ve been partial to some high-quality fleece ones lately, but sometimes in the summer I swap them out with thin cotton quilts. I don’t worry for a second about color coordinating with the couch (I don’t particularly like that blanketed couch look anyway). I go for pure function, and stuff those blankets into a big basket, keep them clean, and just let it roll. But like I said, that’s me. You do you.
Cozy tip #3: and this is one of the few self-care regiments that I do adhere to: no cold feet. Slippers for everyone are available - even for my kids that don’t “live” here. And you know what else? Even though it’s awful for my floors and I’m sure not very Marie Kondo, I let the shoes stay on throughout the house. If that keeps the toes warm and the good cheer flowing, it seems a small price to pay. And as the head of household keeping all kinds of crazy hours sitting at my desk? Well, I splurged on a twelve-dollar hot water bottle. Sometimes I put it under my feet at my desk. Sometimes under the covers at night. It’s not exactly a husband, but it also doesn’t complain about my pillow top mattress.
Like I said. These are my tips. Yours will be different -- but you get the idea. Because no matter how you do it -- cozying up beats the hell out of installing weather stripping.