Maybe it’s because I still get and pay bills the old-fashioned way – open an envelope, look at a sheet of paper, have a heart attack – but the big muscle in my chest fibrillated a little when I opened up my January bill from Oklahoma Natural Gas.
It was the highest ever. And a chart in the “explanations” part of the bill showed why:
My gas usage last month was off the chart – literally extending beyond the top line of the chart of my monthly gas usage over the past year.
It’s bowling me over.
See, my bowl usage was also off the charts. I’ve eaten out of bowls so much lately, I couldn’t run the dishwasher often enough, so I actually had to buy more bowls.
Everyone else’s gas usage was up in Oklahoma, I imagine. It’s one way we’re all paying for an actual winter.
It’s been winter all winter this winter, for a change. And I like it. The hot bowls, too.
Give me steady cold, gray days in January and February, some fun snow, maybe even a little sleet, and a hot, steaming bowl of something – just keep the freezing rain and ice, please.
Come summer, give me sunny days with blue skies and big, puffy white clouds. In between, I’ll take spring and fall, unpredictable as usual.
I could get used to this having one season at a time.
So, I’m not complaining about the cost of natural gas, per se – just noting how much we’ve spent on it lately. It’s worth it. Paying a chart-busting monthly bill in the dead of winter is OK when gas bills shrink to less than the cost of a dinner date in the heat of summer.
It’s hasn’t been that hard to swallow, a bowl at a time.
Two or three bowls of chicken-and-dumplings.
Three or five bowls of chili.
Bowls of stews and bowls of soups and bowls of beans.
I even had a bowl of lentils.
And this winter, more bowls of hot cereal than I can remember.
I’ve had oatmeal for breakfast off and on for years. This winter, hot cereal became so necessary that I headed back to the hot cereal aisle for variety — and rediscovered Cream of Wheat.
Makes me feel better as an Oklahoman, you know: Wheat country and all.
But wait: The hard red winter wheat we grow here goes into bread, rolls and all-purpose flour, probably not Cream of Wheat.
Cream of Wheat comes ... Googling ... from durum wheat, which goes into pasta. puddings and other comfort food. Hmm.
Durum wheat is grown mostly in ... Googling ... North Dakota, where they do winter every winter.
Huh. Cold winter. High gas bills. Hot bowls. Cream of Wheat. Durum. North Dakota.
It makes perfect sense, eh? I knew there was a connection.