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The war wages for control of coveted thermostat

Burt's Eye View

Burton Cole

Terry snugged the hoodie around her head and burrowed her hands deep into the pockets of her quilted vest.

“You look comfy,” I said as I zipped my parka and pulled on ski gloves.

“It sure has gotten cold,” she said. Puffballs of steam rolled across the frigid air with every word.

“That’s November for you,” I said. “Makes a guy feel alive.”

Terry shivered. “Are you sure we can’t turn up the thermostat?”

“Not until at least December.” I tried to turn on the TV but it’s hard to push teeny-tiny buttons while wearing thickly padded ski gloves.

Every year it’s like this. Being prudently economical — Terry calls it cheap and stingy — I hold out as long as possible before waking the furnace from its summertime slumber.

Every year, something happens that convinces us that yes, we will — it’s when the coffee comes out of the microwave iced.

“OK, OK, I’ll turn it up,” I said as Terry held a frozen chunk of brew in the palm of her mittens. “But just a couple of degrees. It’s dangerous to thaw all at once.”

Terry flapped one of the old newspapers she’d wrapped around herself. “Read this.”

The headline blared, “Study proves women perform better at work when warm.”

According to research published in the scientific journal PLOS One, women score better on math and verbal skills as office temperatures get warmer. Logic test scores remained the same for both genders whether polar or perspiring.

Study author Agne Kajackaite concluded that women winning the battle of the office temperature is best for business.

Terry wrapped a sock around her red nose. “Why do you think we keep pulling on more sweaters at the office?”

“Isn’t that better than smelling us when we get all sweaty?” I scratched my head through my wool cap. “Or sitting at our desks in socks and boxers?”

Terry grimaced. “We don’t need knights in shining armor. We need considerate gentlemen who will stop fiddling with the shiny thermostat.”

The study claims that for every one degree Celsius — 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit — increase in temperature, women scored 1.76 percent better on math questions and 1 percent better on word tests. For every degree cooler, men’s scores dropped by 0.6 percent on both tests.

“We’re not at the office,” I said. “We’re at home. No math or verbal skills required.”

“Nope, not for a cold shoulder,” she said. “I hope you enjoy your Popsicles for supper.”

“I thought we were having hot dogs.”

“They’re frozen dogs. On sticks.”

I did the math in my finely tuned air conditioned brain. Letting the furnace sit in silence would save me lots of money. Letting my wife frost over in silence would cost me…

I skated across the living room to the thermostat. “Good news, Sweetheart. The forecast says there’s a home front heat wave coming on.”

Terry unwound her winter scarf. “About time that you pulled your logic out of the freezer.”

“But if any math problems pop up tonight, you’ll have to do them. It’ll be too hot for my brain to work.”

“That’s probably for the best.”

— Chill with Cole at burtseyeview@tribtoday.com, on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or @BurtonW Cole on Twitter.

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