It's such a minor, insignificant thing, but for some reason, it is damn near impossible for me to turn on the heat in my house for the first time.

It was 9:04p and I was ready to lay down for the night. I knew it was going to be quite cold in the overnight, quite possibly flirting with freezing temps. It was freezing in the house the last couple times when I woke up. I stood in front of the thermostat and stared at it for at least 45 seconds, debating whether or not to fire up the furnace.

I woke up to a freezing cold house this morning.

Why didn't I turn on the heat? I knew what was going to happen, yet I still couldn't bring myself to do it. Even though I felt dumb while lurching around the house shivering like Gollum this morning, I felt good about my decision. Why? Because turning on the heat would've made me feel like -- and keep in mind that I know this is stupid -- I had surrendered.

You see, turning on the heat feels to me like I'm officially recognizing that winter is here, and I can't be the first one to do it. Again, I know this is dumb. By not turning on the heat, I feel like I'm refusing to admit that my least favorite time of year has arrived. I'm fully aware that the imaginary game of chicken I'm playing with my thermostat is not recognized by Mother Nature, yet I still play it. I know I'm not the only one.

Imaginary grudge matches aside, there are some real reasons for holding off on the heat. We get such little time between "run your a/c non-stop" season and "I'm freezing! Turn the heat on and leave it on" season here in Michigan. It's nice to have those couple of cheap Consumers Energy bills... especially with Christmas shopping season closing in.

Plus, my wife pays that bill, so I'm always worried about this happening.

The weirdest part about it is that I'm actually kind of looking forward to turning on the heat. At the ass end of the season last year, my furnace gave out and we got a new high-efficiency one. I think we only had to run it for a week or so, so we're interested to see how much cheaper it is to run than our old 1970s model that was half as powerful and double the size.

Regardless of my excitement, I know I'll be standing in front of the thermostat again tonight, having the same internal tug of war over whether or not to press "heat" and wake up comfortably or to freeze my ass off for the moral victory.  It will either end with me telling myself "just one more night" or caving in and then my wife being like...

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