Bundle up when you come inside!

Last night was our coldest night so far, because it got down to only about 5 degrees above zero (Celsius), which is about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. I still go jogging in short sleeves most mornings and leave the windows open most days.

I grew up in Pennsylvania, so I remember weather that hovered around zero Fahrenheit for weeks on end, but Pennsylvania homes are built for cold weather. Our thermostat and central heating kept our hours a toasty 70 degrees F, and every other part of our life was arranged so that it involved a minimum of actual time spent outdoors. Wood and carpet floors stayed pretty warm (and of course we could always huddle over heating vents if we wanted).

But the problem with Israeli winters is that Israeli apartments are built for summer. Tile floors are refreshing in summer and frigid in winter. We have drafty windows, heavy blinds that block out light (or let in cold air), and cold, thick cement walls. Heavy rains drench me as I run to the yarkan to buy veggies and fruit, and our laundry struggles to dry on racks in our cold "service balcony." (Most Israelis don't even own clothes dryers.)  Central heating? HA! Our only built-in heat source is the "heat" function on our air-conditioning unit, which has one setting: power-guzzle. In fact, our apartment is so good at keeping heat out that it's usually warmer outside than inside in the winter-- I huddle inside wearing four layers of clothing, then step outside and peel almost all of it off.

This winter, we finally broke down and bought several little space heaters. Now life is good. :) (To be fair, I'm also wearing two sweaters and a scarf.) We've learned to place slippers strategically close to the edge of the bed, sleep under down comforters, drink tea, and wear lots of layers. I've also discovered that it actually isn't a good idea to rest my crocs on our space heater... they melt:

Apparently sweatpants melt as well. Don't ask me how I know this.

Of course, our cats have found other ways to stay warm, which mainly involve mauling each other and sitting on various electronic devices around our house. Pixel spends hours every day curled up on top of our HOT cable box (I think he likes hot appliances more than HOT guys), and he recently took it upon himself to compose two separate blog posts while sitting on my keyboard... isn't he talented? I'm keeping his posts up, partly because I'm fascinated by how linkwithin calculates posts related to "xc#2.s!"

Hope you're staying warm!


  1. While I can see the appeal of the hot cable box in the cold apartment, I think that is also a universal "kitty place." I often find a cat curled up on my cable box, even though in Texas we do at least have central heat. They just have a knack for finding the most comfortable places around. Here's hoping things warm up soon for you. Thanks for all the wonderful tips and tales of life in Israel.

  2. I disagree somewhat about how "Israeli apartments are built for summer" - most tricks to keep the heat out are about insulating the inside of the house, so they (double-camera glass, insulated walls, insulated floors) should work properly in winter, if not with the same results.
    Hope the things warm up soon - it's the almond-blossom season near? ;)

    The kitty-posts are funny & adorable.

  3. אני גר בבאר שבע.

  4. I am so proud that I could read that last comment. My 7 Hebrew classes have clearly paid off.

    !אני גר בבוסטון

    As for the post, mad-troll should be right. Most of the techniques that are effective in keeping out heat are similarly effective at keeping it in. But I think the space-heater method is much easier. It's easier than trying to keep the whole house heated constantly.

  5. I dunno... our apartments aren't exactly insulated. Rather, they're solid concrete/tile, which seem cold year round. (There's no drywall or insulator in our apartments anywhere.) Plus, no central heating makes it hard to get them warm in the first place. Maybe that's the real problem, but in any case, it's cold!

  6. bryan_z is most right when he points out that it's easier to keep warm the space you are spending (more?) time in rather than heat the whole house - and spend unholy amounts of energy to do so, regardless of insulation. =D
    But what is most felt by humans is the drafts - so even if you are "technically" warm in one room, the presence of air currents will still set off a perception of cold. This is why double(or triple) camera glass* > every other window solution.

    אני גרה באיטליה,לכן אני צרכה לדעת ההגנה אל קר ואל חם.. :[

  7. Brrrr. I'm also from Pennsylvania (now in the great warm south of Maryland) and I know exactly what you mean about being cold all the time; even down here, it's still nippy all the time. Hope it warms up in Israel soon.


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