I gasped when I opened it -- my latest oil bill. It doubled since last month, and I've already lowered the thermostat to 60 at night and 63 during the day. I'm not ever home, and I wince when I think of the cost to heat the house if I were in it all day. I'm actually losing sleep trying to figure out how to live within my means, knowing that as long as there's unrest in the Middle East, and little incentive for American oil companies to open new oil fields or for banks to make it easier to borrow money to invest in green energy, staying warm will be an issue.

What more can I do? I invested $5,600 in attic insulation and completely sealed the house with soy goop last summer. A few years ago I installed energy-efficient windows and an insulated garage door and I wear two sweaters, a muffler and a hat when it's time to watch TV. I bought a down comforter labeled "extra, extra warm," and I invested in a "bladder" for the fireplace. (This type of bladder is supposed to keep hot air from escaping through the chimney -- it has nothing to do with water retention.)

I also bought a half-cord of wood for when guests come and I want to show off how cozy my house can be once the fireplace is lit. Glowing embers also mean only one sweater -- no muffler, no hat.

I don't want to move down south -- my family is here -- children, grandchildren. Let's face it, when it gets really hot, one can suffer through the heat by pouring a cold drink, grabbing a good book and heading for the shade. But the opposite works in sub-zero weather. If you aren't in constant motion to keep your body temperature above the freezing point, you just get disoriented, which leads to hypothermia, which leads to a deep sleep from which you never wake up.

Cold weather requires bundling up, drinking plenty of hot fluids, putting flannel sheets on the bed, and then just climbing in between them once the sun goes down.

I don't know about you, but I'm fed up, and I think I'm sick with a new syndrome called Saver's Fatigue. I want to spend, spend, spend on fun things like dinner out, a trip to New York, a present for my grandchild, a new outfit, and not on something mundane like car washes to get rid of winter's grime, and especially not on heat. When you really think about it, money spent on heat is like money spent on underwear: You need it, but you get no satisfaction from it and you can't show it off.

"¢ What You Should Know: Did you know the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce website has a Job Center where you can get information on seminars, internships and an occasional job posting? Go to www.fairfieldctchamber.com to post your job or to get information on how to find one. On the home page, look at the left side of the page and click on Main Menu, then Getting It Done, and finally, Visit our Job Center. You will find information on the Fairfield Public Library job series, and a request for services if you are looking for something specific. If you can't find what you need, give us a call at 203-255-1011 and we can guide you through it.

"¢ Final Mention: If you still have not reserved a place for the Spring Fling wine and food tasting at the Burr Mansion, from 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, there is still room. Call the chamber office at 203-255-1011 and for $60 per person, we will save you a place. Be there or be square.

New Chamber of Commerce member: Law office of Lawrence B. Eisner, Esq., 44 Valley Road, Bethany, CT 06524.