Seasonal Switcheroo

Earlier this week I was wearing a T-shirt. I wasn’t wearing shorts although my shorts were still in the shorts drawer, which is the drawer directly under the one with the tank tops and sleeveless Ts.

Daylight Saving Time ended last weekend. Sunday morning I woke up just before 6 instead of 7 and Sunday afternoon (evening?) Trav and I went walking in the dark at 5 instead of 6. Still, Monday I was not only wearing a T-shirt, I was working with the front door open. The light was November but the temperature wasn’t.

I wasn’t exactly in denial — I’m actually looking forward to the first ice disk of the season! — but I hadn’t made any preparations for the cold-weather season.

Then the temperature dropped, and after two days of breezy 40s and 50s I decided the time had come. Yesterday was the day.

Storm insert in waiting

First step: Swap the screen insert in the storm door for the heavy cold-weather one. First I wrestle the storm insert out of its narrow, cramped storage space downstairs. It’s heavy, bulky, and inflexible, so I bring it around the outside of the building instead of trying to navigate the tight corners of the inside stairs.

My studio apartment is on the second floor. On the first floor are my neighbor-landlord’s studio and my bathroom. I use the inside stairs when going to the loo.

Step ladder in place. Photo bomb by Trav.

There’s a door to the outside at the foot of those stairs. I use it when sneaking out of the house while Travvy is busy with the peanut butter bone I give him so he won’t notice I’m leaving. It’s been many years since he worried about me leaving, but now it’s our little ritual so I give him a bone anyway.

The inserts are held in place by four plastic doohickeys (technical term). Settling the insert into position so that the doohickeys can be snapped into place challenges my virtually non-existent DIY abilities, but I’ve been managing for 10 years now so I can do it.

The step ladder, by the way, is a new addition. Until this fall, I’ve stood on my office chair, which has wheels. This adds a little suspense to the process of snapping the top doohickey into place.

Selfie with door and screen

Once the storm insert is firmly secured, I spray it with Windex and scrub it with a paper towel. In addition to its cleanings in the fall and spring, I do touch-ups in the months between when the canine noseprints start blocking the view.

The photo at right turned out cooler than I expected. The screen insert behind me is ready to go downstairs for winter storage. In it, just under my left elbow, is the west-facing window at the other end of my apartment. Somehow Trav did not wind up in this picture. He was probably asleep on my bed.

I was on a roll, so I proceeded with the second half of the seasonal switch: replacing the shorts and tank tops in my drawers with longjohns and jeans, and the lightweight dresses, skirts, and shirts in the closet with turtlenecks, flannel shirts, and sweaters.

Some years this takes a couple of days. I drag my two storage boxes out of the closet and trip over them for a couple of days before I start emptying drawers. This year I did it all in about 45 minutes. Trav helped by positioning himself so that I had to step over him every time I passed from one half of the apartment to the other, usually to get a swallow of tea. This keeps me agile.

I haven’t turned the heat on yet, but since the temp tonight is supposed to hit the mid-20s F, that may be about to change. Whatever, I’m ready.

Clothes in transit

Travvy supervises.


About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has been preoccupied with electoral politics since 2016. She just started a blog about her vintage T-shirt collection: "The T-Shirt Chronicles." Her other blogs include "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories," about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, and "Write Through It," about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
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5 Responses to Seasonal Switcheroo

  1. Sigh! Why is it the Winter Prep thing seems so much less fun than Spring Cleaning? (It’s CLEANING for God’s sake…)


  2. Jennie says:

    Okay, Susanna. You have me motivated to finish getting ready. Still have the storm door to put in and the last of the raking. Not today, as it’s brrrr and windy. Heat is on! LL Bean wicked good slippers are on, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That reminds me — I need a new pair of slippers! Today I drained the hose and turned off the water to my outside shower. I hope the 23-degree temps predicted for tonight don’t settle in for a long visit.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jennie says:

        Oh, nooo. I have one last hose to drain. Thank you! We’re supposed to be 16 degrees tonight in Groton. MA, not CT. Susanna, the money-saving and careful spender that I am has to tell you that L.L. Bean wicked good slippers are worth their weight in gold. A bit more expensive, but a ton more warmth. Best to you!


      • My current slippers were made by a local craftsman who I’m afraid isn’t making them anymore. I’ve got to find out for sure. Twice he’s restitched a seam that was starting to unravel with wear. If he’s not still making them, I will most likely go Bean. That’s where my ankle-length fleece robe came from — talk about worth its weight in gold!


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