THE BLOG
02/28/2012 11:35 am ET | Updated Apr 29, 2012

The Battle Over the Thermostat or the Winter of My Big Hot Flash

Dear Reader,

I've taken to signing my emails and other correspondence "Warmly, Nancy." Sadly, it's all too true. Even though it is cold outside, I am warm much of the time. Hot, actually.

Mostly, it is my own internal midlife climate control that is hopelessly out of whack. I'm in what my mother's generation called "The Change of Life." For a few months I had a wonderful reprieve with few hot flashes, however they have now returned with a vengeance.

It isn't helpful that my mother keeps the temperature in her apartment set firmly at 85 degrees. She's not the only one. Mummy resides in a very nice senior housing complex with 30 other residents. They all like it hot. Since the heating is included in their rent, they merrily crank it up without a second thought.

The building is like one huge claustrophobic walk-in Swedish sauna.

When I get to Mummy's, the strip begins. The coat comes off. So do the gloves, muffler, hat and shoes. Next is my sweater and sometimes even my socks. The undressing is completed with care. You see it is so hot and dry that the mere act of removing a layer of clothing produces prodigious amounts of static electricity. One false move and I could spark a fire.

I can see the headline now:

Menopausal Woman Spontaneously Implodes at Retirement Center. Her Pitiful Cries of "Mummy, I'm begging you, please turn down the heat!" Had Gone Unheeded. Residents Respond by Turning Up Their Thermostats.

So there I am, barefoot, wearing only lightweight pants and a tank top -- sweating profusely.

Luckily, Mummy has one of those reusable ice packs that she uses on her back when it is acting up. I've taken to liberating it from her freezer, wrapping it around my neck and cooling down as it sizzles. Then we play cards.

Such is life in rural Minnesota. How are things where you live?

Warmly,
Nancy