When we moved into our house nearly thirteen years ago I was excited to have a fireplace. We had plenty of trees to fuel the fire. Chopping wood is great exercise. Before our first full winter I was looking for a good used fireplace insert. I looked at one not far from our house. The family had it sitting out on the car port. It was a cold day and so we stepped inside to talk a little.
Once inside I noticed gas logs in their fireplace. I asked the man why he decided to switch to gas. Without a word he raised his hand to eye level and made a twisting motion with his thumb and forefinger. I guess he recognized the puzzled look on my face and repeated the motion while stating “It’s just a whole lot easier to do this” once again demonstrating, “than this” followed by a chopping motion. I got the picture.
I thought the price on his used insert was a little high and so I left without it. thinking to myself, “I hope I’m never that lazy.” A couple of weeks later I found a good buy at a home out in the country. That man was proud to say he had paid cash for his gas logs and the first tank of propane. “What’s wrong with this world,” I thought.
With the help of Larry McQueen I got the monstrous hunk of steel moved to my house and installed. I did enjoy it. It felt good to split logs into the right size using an ax and maul. It was also great seeing the electric bill go down during the winter. One fall the heat pump went out and we decided to not replace it until we could pay cash in the spring. I heated our whole house all winter long with the wood burning fireplace insert. Now that’s something a man can brag about.
I only had one problem with the insert and Cheryl had another. Cheryl’s recurring issue was the mess that was made bringing wood in and taking ashes out. My problem was worsening allergies. The chimney wasn’t built properly so that when the winds blew small amounts of smoke were forced down into our house. It was never enough to see, but always enough to smell.
Five or six years ago I agreed to put a ventless gas fireplace in the basement. It made for a cozy environment and allowed us to better control the temperature without wasting heat when we weren’t down there. I thought that would get Cheryl off my back about the messiness of the wood-burning insert on the main floor. Self-induced naiveté is a comforting delusion for the stubborn male ego.
A couple of years ago I finally acquiesced and agreed to purchase a set of gas logs. I did my best to not like it. I wanted to grumble about the cost of the gas. We all know it just ain’t natural for the logs to never burn down into a warm glow of embers. But, Cheryl pays for the gas and glowing embers aren’t all their burned down to be. I have come to recognize the wisdom in owning up to the timeless truth that it’s easier “to do this” than “to do that”. Now-a-days I get my exercise in the basement where it’s cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
That’s the news close to Polk County.
November 22, 2010