Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Lovestory

If you've read this blog for more than a minute, you've likely realized that we live in Texas (nice detective work!).  This means lots of both wonderful and miserable things.  It means that the weather will change in biblical extremes from one moment to the next.  The atmosphere will inevitably rise to inhuman temperatures, roasting the ground and cracking the earth like overbaked bread.  In the spring, (and winter too, apparently) the sky will inexplicably open and spew forth basketball sized balls of ice, drop twisters with the girth of small towns, and electrify entire neighborhoods.  We're either achingly, bone-dry here, or drowning in violent storm-induced waters.  It's either stifling heat or wiltingly humid.  There's no middle ground when it comes to Texas and weather.  The only extreme we rarely experience is cold.  Sure, sure - once every year we wake up to an "ice day" when temperatures hover just under freezing after a drizzly night and the streets become lightly coated in an ice that slushes by noon.  Of course, these rare days cause apocalyptic responses from the natives.  Roads close, schools shut down, work is cancelled, and lines form at the neighborhood Walgreens for water and canned goods.  In short: we get lots and lots of things here.  But we rarely get true, Northern cold. 

This reality makes our purchase of the wood stove a tad extravagant.  Originally we considered installing a more expensive fireplace, the cost of which led to serious discussions like, "We'll have to choose between a fireplace or a kitchen," followed by long moments of soul-searching silence.  That's how much we like fire around here.  Of course, by "we" I am very specifically referring to Jeremy.  Jeremy, God bless him, is a fire worshipping pyromaniac.  It's not his fault really.  He is a man and its inherent in his (their) nature to alternately set things afire or blow them to pieces.  I've embraced this biological truth.  And I've moved on.  So it's no surprise really that, although the temperatures have risen into the 80's during this mild January, the wood stove is constantly lit.  It's only been in our lives for a month, but the wood stove has become a firmly rooted, permanent fixture in our lives, and our life is divided into two distinct epochs: Pre-stove and Stove.  I really don't remember a time without it.  Jeremy approached his ownership of the stove with priest-like sanctity and levity.  He pored over the owner's manual for hours before setting the first bits of kindling ablaze.  He has purchased boxloads of indescribable gadgets and doo-dads for the thing.  UPS arrives almost every day at 5pm with a new box which Jer quickly scoops up and disappears with into his office.  "What's in the box?" I shout after him as he heads down the hallway.  But all I can ever discern is, "(mumble, mumble)...for wood stove....(mumble)." 

Note the unfinished (non-functioning) electrical next to the stove.  Yep.

In the evenings when the stove's lit, I roll out the sheepskin rug and sit with my back to the fire so I can face Jeremy who always sits on the couch in front of me.  We've had some really excellent, deep discussions on nights like this - or I've talked a lot while Jer appears to be watching me.  In my usual fashion, I tell long, drawn out stories about whatever I find titillating and revel in Jer's deep concentration on my storytelling.  His seriousness and interest always seem so genuine until he suddenly (and inevitably) leaps up and moves straight past me in order to tend to the stove or fire, then sits back down and says, "Sorry - I was worried about how the flames were getting higher on the right side but not the left.  Were you saying something?"  Sigh.

Pre-wood pile logs

This isn't a complaint, mind you.  The stove really has been a valuable investment aesthetically but also with our heating bill.  Although we really have had a mild winter, some nights have dipped below freezing and yet the heater still hasn't come on more than once throughout the season.  I'm not going to claim that the thing will "pay for itself" by reducing our electricity bill, but its coziness and boundless joy its brought to Jer are priceless.  Also, the happiness the stove elicits has caused Jer to create beautiful woodpiles of hand chopped logs, the sight of which make me feel scrappy and homestead-y in a very charming way.  The woodpiles sit in only a few corners of the property, but they look neat, tidy, and rustic, and anything that brings "neat and tidy" to our lives right now is most welcome. 

I'd be lying if I said I don't miss my husband who I've clearly lost to the sexy stove, in all her red-enameled, high heat glory.  But of one thing I am certain.  Her beauty and novelty will fade, and eventually he'll see that she's just a cast iron box that emits heat.  And, through boredom or disinterest, he will finally find his way back to me: his non-cooking, non-cleaning, non-heating, over-talking wife.  Just plain old me.  'Til then, it's a no-competition situation.    


fivejacobis said...

I love this! Perfectly stated! Hang in there girl, it's going to be summer soon and you'll be # one again! :)

FreeRange Pamela said...

It is gorgeous and let me say... if you live in a place (like us) that doesn't have natural gas (or propane), the heating system is likely a heat pump. We've discovered, to our dismay, that this type of heating is outrageously inefficient and expensive, meaning that we sometimes have higher energy bills in the winter than in the summer. Yes, in Texas. So, all the more reason for being thankful for a wood stove. We've had a few fires in our fireplace this year, but I think your solution is better!

No Name Farm/Ranch said...

We're extremely happy that we decided to get this guy instead of opt for a fireplace or smaller stove. It really did heat the place on the coldest days this winter (of which I think there were 2, right? Yep. Pretty sure we only had 2 cold days). It's terrible that your bills are higher in the winter!! I hope it's possible for you to install one of these at some point.