We moved to Ohio from Tennessee about eleven or twelve years ago. The first few winters, I went outside as little as possible, usually in a full snowsuit. I got a lot of weird looks, but it kept me warm.
When we lived in the city, we had a huge house. Over 2000 sf, two stories plus attic and basement. A nightmare to heat. One year, thanks to the soaring price of natural gas, we kept the thermostat below 60 and lit two kerosene heaters. Our gas bill was still over $450 for a single month. We wore a lot of layers and slept under electric blankets.
When we moved to the country, our home here had originally had floor heat (buried inside concrete). Those pipes had long since rusted out, so no warm floors for us. We spoke with several heating contractors. The one that suggested we jackhammer up the floors and replace the pipes was probably the least helpful of the many that were here. The house has no basement or crawl space underneath and no attic, and also had no duct work. Most of the contractors weren't even interested in the job since it wasn't a plug-it-up-and-go type thing.
We finally ended up with a lovely forced air oil furnace and custom duct work. It put out wonderful heat, and the first winter here wasn't too bad. But we did run through the oil trying to keep the house comfortable.
Then the price of oil started going up, and up, and up. We relied more and more on the wood burning insert in our living room, and stopped buying oil. We learned to cut firewood. We learned which wood burns best and how to season it, etc.
Still, the back of the house was cold. We all use electric mattress pads, which seem to work better than electric blankets, but getting up at night was uncomfortable. We all wore heavy flannel pj's and socks to bed. Big Sis' room felt like a meat locker. I swear you could see your breath in there.
We decided this year that we would install a second wood burner. Due to the layout of the house, it had to go in the kitchen. We rearranged the kitchen to make room, bought the wood burner, and then bought the stovepipe and accessories (which ended up costing as much or more than the stove did).
Finally, my new stove is in. I am warmer than I have ever been (in winter) since I moved to Ohio. I am wearing short sleeves. It is so toasty in here that I may have to open a window. If I do, I'll shout to the world that IT'S WARM IN MY HOUSE!!
So warm, in fact, that the butter is melting. This is a wonderful thing, as just last week the butter on the counter was no softer than the butter in the fridge.
Tomorrow, we expect a wind chill of -17F. The new wood stove will get it's first real test with temps like that. I expect to still be toasty warm. ;)
Last Christmas, I got a new living room floor. This year, I got heat. Real heat. I just don't think it can get any better!