Thursday, March 7, 2013

It's getting cold in here

Last week my landlady dropped off a bill for miscellaneous costs associated with my apartment. These include things like trash and recycling, as well as any excess utilities I've used over the last five months. I pay a set utilities cost in addition to my rent every month that is meant to cover gas and electricity, but it turns out that I've been using more gas for heating than is covered by these monthly payments.

The thing that startled me about this news is that I thought I'd been using my heat normally. When I'm not in the room, I turn it off.

This is as low as it goes
At night, I turn it to night.

Complete with cute little graphic
During the daytime when I'm in the room, I turn it to day.

Cute little graphic #2
And sometimes when I'm especially cold, I turn it above day for a while.

I have no idea what temperatures these numbers account for
I am not in the room from 7:30a through 1p Tuesday through Friday. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday see me in and out. During the months covered by the bill, I wasn't in Germany for nearly five weeks - more than a month - because I was traveling. And because my heater operates by radiating rather than forcing air, the general room temperature is never what you would call warm. Despite all of that, I managed to use close to fifteen euros extra of heat every month.

The Germans, I've decided, are an exceptionally warm-blooded or exceptionally stoic people. Probably both. Presumably they don't actually turn on the heater a great deal of the time during the winter. Do they use blankets? Bundle up in jacket, hat, and gloves? Grin and bear it? It's a mystery to me that they manage to be comfortable at home if my use of heat is extravagant.

I think my blanket and I will become close friends over the next few months, and I hope that the warmer weather is here to stay. At the end of the day I prefer to be warm rather than save a few euros, but it would be interesting to try staying within the German-approved limits of heat use.

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