In Praise of Duvets

It’s amazing how many of my mother’s words and phrases find their way into my books and blogs.  In this instance the applicable phrase would be: Pride goeth before the fall.

After last week’s Thanksgiving blog about walking, Bill and I were stopped in mid-stride, as it were, struck low by a head and chest cold mess that took us right out of the exercise challenge.  Our trainer came by on Monday, listened to us hacking and sniffling, and said, “You’re in no condition to work out.  Rest and get better. Call me when you are.”  So that’s where we are at the moment, resting and waiting.

In the meantime, I’ve spent more time than usual in bed, wrapped in my down-filled duvet, and remembering exactly how duvets came to be in our lives.  Naturally it’s a long story.  Bill likes to say that with me there’s no such thing as a “short story.”

I suffered from cold feet for most of my life.  In high school my mother would make long flannel nighties for me, and I usually slept with the nightgown wrapped around my cold, cold feet.  When I married Bill, he complained constantly about my perpetually icy feet.  One touch of mine on his was enough to propel him straight out of bed.  That was in 1985.  I often slept with a robe or towel wrapped around the ice cube feet just to give the man a break.

Fast forward several years.  In 1993, we attended a PONCHO auction and bid on one item—30 days use of a BMW in Europe, insurance and mileage included.  All we needed to provide was gas.  It was early in the auction process.  The opening bid was $500.  We bid that.  Since no one else signed up, we walked away with the item.  We scheduled the trip for 1994 but had to cancel it when the pub date of one of my books was moved with no prior notice.  The BMW dealership guy told us, “You’re still good.  When you’re ready to go, let us know.”  A year later, in September of 1995, we finally made the trip.

Since we weren’t exactly swimming in dough at the time, we made the trip on Frequent Flyer Miles and stayed mostly in accommodations available through our membership in Vacations Internationale.  That’s how we ended up in the Alpen Sport Hotel in St. Johann Im Pongau, Austria.  It wasn’t skiing season, so non-skiers were more than welcome.  We stayed for the better part of two weeks where the only English programs on TV were daily updates on Sky News on the exceedingly slow progress of the O.J. Simpson trial.

The king-sized bed in our room was made European fashion by fastening two single beds together, and each bed came with its own individual duvet.  By then I was in the midst of that female midlife crisis—the dreaded M word, menopause.  For me, that meant night sweats.  During those, I would throw off the covers.  Then, when I cooled off, I’d be cold and wrap myself back up again.  The upshot of that was that by morning, Bill usually had no covers at all.  As in zero.

Sleeping in the Alpen Sport Hotel was a revelation.  Bill sleeps with his covers at mid-chest.  I sleep with mine near my chin.  This is what’s known as an “irreconcilable difference.”  In St. Johann Im Pongau all those difficulties went away.  We both wrapped our individual duvets wherever we wanted them—and they stayed there.  If I had a hot flash?  No problem. I flipped the duvet over, cooled off with the cool top next to me, and was already properly covered when the hot flash ended.  It was heaven!  We both slept better than we had for a long time.

We came back to the States, went straightaway to Duxiana, and bought our first twin-sized light-weight duvets.  Which we still use.  Every night.  We’ve purchased replacement covers any number of times, but the duvets themselves are virtually indestructible. When we travel, the duvets go along, if luggage permits, because when you’re sleeping in a strange bed, having a familiar cover helps, especially since Bill still sleeps with his covers on his chest, and I want mine chin-high.

However, one additional thing has changed since then.  Once menopause was over, my feet warmed up—permanently.  So now, when I sleep wrapped in my duvet, the top is at the bottom of my chin, but both of my feet stick out the bottom so they can stay cool.

In other words, this week, when I haven’t been walking, I’ve taken to my bed, and I’m incredibly grateful for our matching duvets. And if some of my readers are dealing with similar M-word symptoms, my twin duvet solution may supply a solution.

Sweet dreams.