The Day the Heat Died

Winter Attire

On the coldest day in two decades our central heat expired. Under layers of underwear, outer wear and outdoor apparel, I paced while waiting for the repairman. A quick glance in the frost covered mirror confirmed my observation that mature women do not look fetching in cold weather attire.

Female television journalist wearing down filled jackets, fluffy wool scarves and chic berets goad us into believing winter attire is wonderful. If you are but a wisp of a thing, bulk from winter attire is negligible. Unfortunately the shelf life on my wisp expired long ago and I looked like the Hindenburg draped in fleece.

Mid afternoon weather forecasts warning to prepare for the coldest night of the year followed the repairman’s announcement that he had performed last rites on our heating system. We could expect installation of a new system the following day.

A vision of the neighbor discovering our frozen carcasses energized my efforts to find an extended stay hotel nearby. The reservationist was gracious as she rattled off the amenities that would keep us comfortable for as long as we needed to stay. (February in Dallas during an arctic blast tends to create hotel vacancies).

I threw provisions for dinner, some brandy and comfort food into a quasi decent grocery bag. In a final attempt to make myself presentable, I scrunched my hair, grabbed my sunglasses, and threw on my trench coat, fluffy wool scarf and knock off Uggs. Given the amount of clothing I was wearing, the trench coat concealed tacky, but not bulky. I hoped our new luggage would overcome any suspicion that I was a bag lady.

I was wrong. My spouse looked fairly decent, but I looked like a cast call reject for one of the peasants in Dr. Zhivago. As we entered the toasty hotel lobby; the receptionist observed us, our accoutrements and failed an ill concealed attempt to suppress her horror.

We received keys to our room in an obscure corner of the hotel and a swift escort to the express elevator. I believe I created a new definition for dressing for success.

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