baby, it's cold inside.

We woke up this morning, and it was cold and rainy. We are used to cold by now. If you asked me this week how I was finding married life, I would say, "Cold." Since we got back home, we haven't had heat. There are worse times of the year to not have a working HVAC, but that doesn't mean we're enjoying our chilly house.

But the rain presented a different problem. Because that meant that our woodpile was all wet. Besides the copious layers of wool clothing and the snuggling, our source of heat has been the fireplace. Before this week, the fireplace was something we used on cold nights to add a bit of atmosphere. I would ask Josh to build us a fire, he would do it, it was great, and then I'd get irritated because he spent more time poking at the fire than snuggling in the light of it. I don't like to make generalizations, but in my experience, men like to poke at fires.

But now, the fireplace has become crucial to my existence. After a shivery afternoon spent trying and failing to get a fire going, I had Josh show me how to properly set up the logs, kindling, and newspaper to start one. And then he taught me how to poke it so that it kept going. I learned that it's not just about some caveman desire to mess with the fire; poking is necessary.

We had some store-bought logs and kindling, which is the kind of nonsense that happens in the suburbs. A plastic-wrapped armful of logs had lasted all winter, yet suddenly they were gone in a day. The kindling lasted two days. Luckily, we happened to look outside and realize that kindling does in fact grow on trees. Sometimes it even falls right to the ground where it can be collected in your own back yard. The process of collection is only complicated by the presence of a pitbull who has been trained to think of sticks as toys.

I already told you that we have a woodpile. It's made up of logs from the tree that died and killed our car. If we are talking about the bright side of the loss of our heat pump, I will say that it is very satisfying to burn that particular tree. After discovering that the suburban grocery stores do not sell firewood and kindling in March, we dug deep in the woodpile to get the logs that were only a little wet. I created a makeshift tarp out of trash bags to sortof protect any dryness that remained in the woodpile. The pile of kindling I collected yesterday was completely soaked, so we had to resort to things around the house. After eyeing the pile of books to be taken to the used book store, we made do with an empty beer box instead. We'd rather not burn books, and I promise that if it comes to that, we will only burn the really terrible ones.

I guess we're learning appreciation. I appreciate that it's only the heat pump, so we are still able to take hot showers and cook a pot of chicken soup and complain on the internet. At the end of the month, I will appreciate our greatly reduced electrical bill. And I have appreciated my husband, who knows how to build fires and is very snuggly.

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