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Sunday, December 03, 2006


i recently bought myself a condo -- hoorah! a very adult thing to do. i also recently broke up with my boyfriend -- boo! a very sad thing to do. the two are related, though not really, as you soon will see.

my new place has a lovely feature that sold me immediately -- a wood stove right in the middle, nicely sectioning off the dining room from the living room. it makes it so warm and homey, even when a fire isn't burning, and then when you add the smell of the wood fire, mmmm, how can you not imagine a hot cup of cocoa and curling up with a good book?

anyway, the problem is, i'm not so adept at building said warm, good-smelling, homey fire. in fact, i downright suck at it. some people are born pyro-wizzes; i somehow lack that gene (which i just know comes directly from my father).

so, i bring in help. person # 1: danielle, my sort of sister-in-law, helped me gather kindling today. we went to the patchen road dog park and did two loops around the trails. we gathered four armloads of kindling! got to get back there before it actually snows to stock up on some more. (plus it's great running and play time for ms. ella and her friends).

what i've been trying is this: i crumple up paper, i put kindling in, i get it going, and then i put the larger log on and i just suffocate it. ok, way to solve this problem: buy an axe and cut up larger log into smaller pieces that have rough edges. rough edges are key, apparently, to really get those flames ablazing.

person #2: derek, my brother-in-law (danielle's older brother, married to my older sister, jennie) comes over. being the good brother-in-law and teacher that he is, he does not show me how to do it, but he watches me do it and gives me pointers. everyone knows that the best way to learn is to do -- thanks D! but he did help using the axe (which is sharp & scary!). hooray!

warm, homey, comfy, good-smelling fire with flames warmed my new home as we (derek, danielle, baxter & i -- jennie was on-call and at the hospital) ate yummy broccoli mushroom pie. who doesn't love pie for dinner?

who doesn't love pie for dessert? as we were being entertained by baxter eating his chocolate banana cream pie (the kid had it all over his face and was sitting in the big boy chair, without his big boy booster seat, so his head just barely cleared the table. didn't stop him from shovelling it in though)... anyway, as we were eating, the fire alarm went off! beep beep beep. beep beep beep. beep beep beep. and baby paige was sleeping! luckily she went right on sleeping. unluckily, the fire alarm went right on beeping.

but there was no fire. no, it was smoke coming from the wax that had been candles that had been on top of my wood stove. bad move. very bad move.

we turned on fans, opened windows, opened doors, fanned the alarm (i accidentally whipped danielle with the towel), got on a chair and tried to stop the damn thing to no avail, took out the battery and it kept beeping! beep beep beep. beep beep beep. no quicker way than that to make your new neighbors hate ya -- "oh great, the new girl in #10 is using her wood stove..." all the while, paigey is still sleeping, and baxter openly admitted: "i scared. i scared. all done with pie." i mean, for that kid to turn away pie, it's got to be pretty scary. probably pretty scary too for him to see 3 of the adults in his life running around like crazy people.

finally finally, derek unwired the alarm from the electricity and the beeping stopped. though baxter had cutely picked it up down to the cadence and repeated: beep beep beep. beep beep beep.

crisis averted. smoke dissipated. derek and kids packed up to go. danielle stayed to continue writing her paper. and i was left to tend the fire. uh oh.

the fire had been blazing, but needed more wood! basically, all attempts to split the log were feeble and futile. the only thing i got was a knick on my knee from a rogue hammer edge and a cooling fire. however, i did discover something in my multiple whacks at the log -- while paul is no longer here to help me build a fire (which he and his manly self would have taken charge of immediately and i never would have had to worry about it), i can and will do this on my own. it might take awhile, but the whacks just make everything feel better, whether i'm imagining the log is a log or someone else...


Eva the Deadbeat said...

miss suzanne, i love it that we are both so fire oriented at the moment but i guess the recent cold chill makes it so. and i am SO impressed that you made such a lovely fire ALL by yourself! you are a strong fabulous capable woman and there will be many more "fires" in your future! xoxo

Q_Monroe said...

thanks eva dear. tonight i will make sure to link to your vlog of fire.