Welcome to The 12 Days of Thatz Not Okay, a special holiday edition of a regular column in which I school inquiring readers on what is and is not okay. Check back tomorrow for our next seasonal installment. As always, please send your questions (max: 200 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "Thatz Not Okay."
My wife and I have a large family and a fair amount of friends. During the holidays, our house becomes a central gathering place, as well as a place for out-of-towners to spend the night. We both love the company, and it makes my kids happy. The problems occur when some of my guests, family especially, prefer the house temperature much warmer than we'd normally set. To save energy, I usually keep the thermostat around 64 degrees and supplement with a wood stove in the living area. When guests come over, I often end up walking into rooms that are steaming hot, only to find someone has cranked the thermostat to over 70. This irks me, especially since nobody ever asks first. I'm not sure how to confront these people (or if I should). Right now my plan is to set the child lock on the thermostats and let people approach me about turning up the heat—a request I will happily oblige. Is that okay?
These are the things you should not fuck with in another person's home: their pets, their spouses, the way their toilet paper unrolls, and their thermostats. Depending on the sophistication of the lock and the sophistication of your guests (Are you colder than a 5th grader?), a child lock may or may not be effective. You are well within your rights to implement one, though, if it is necessary to help you regulate the temperature of your own home.
That being said, you must acknowledge that 64 degrees is a pretty fucking cold. That's not even room temperature. You are literally making your room colder than a room.
If you'd like to avoid having to lecture your guests on house rules like a host father opening up his home to a pack of French exchange students ("Luc is not allowed in Meredith's room after 10 p.m.; 3-on-the-floor rule at all times; ne touchez pas les thermostats"), you might consider anticipating their need to live in conditions that support human life. Part of being a good host means making sure your guests are comfortable. That's why we don't walk around naked when our aunts and uncles and cousins are over, Luc.
A person who walks into room that is 64 degrees will say "Brrrrrrr!" and rocket the heat up to 85 because they want to warm up as fast as possible. (That this is not how thermostats work, as any dad will be happy to lecture you on request, is immaterial. They have lost the ability to finely differentiate between degrees. There is only cold and un-cold.) A person who walks into a room that is 68 degrees might notice they feel a little cool, but not uncomfortably so. Conspicuously arranging some cozy blankets, comforters, and burnig sticks of fire in common areas will wordlessly convey your desire to save energy (I assume you mean the energy required to pull out your checkbook and pay your gas bill) to your guests. It will also make you look like you recently read an issue of "Martha Stewart Living" in the ophthalmologist's office, which is classy.
By the way, if you're just planning on cranking the temperature to 70 anyway anytime someone asks you to adjust it, don't bother with the locks. The little thrill you get from being magnanimous ("Why, good sir, I would love to share of my bounty of natural gas therms!") will not be worth the constant annoyance of being pestered for the lock codes.
Submit your "Thatz Not Okay" questions here. Art by Jim Cooke. Previously in 12 Days of Thatz Not Okay: 12 Bucks for Jim Fucking Beam; 11th Hour Bonus; 10 Dollars, Split Three Ways; 9 Christians Fretting; 86ing Grown-Up Christmas Cards.