Ever since the first winter I've been coming to Blair's Grove, I have begged the boys to put on a nice woodstove fire for me. They refused. There was always some excuse - the ashes haven't been cleaned out, D doesn't know how to start a proper fire, the chimney will catch on fire, we don't have enough wood, it's not cold enough outside, you didn't bring your bikini, etc. Well, yesterday when the power went out thanks to the 70km/hr winds, I got my wish.
I'm accustomed to the crackling warmth afforded by my Dad's modest woodstove at the cabin. It throws off just enough heat to make me feel pleasantly drowsy, and I love the campfirey smell that stays in my hair and on my clothes afterwards. I was not prepared for the raging, creosote scented inferno that lasted 8 hours and made me feel as though I was bathing in lava.
I should have known what I'd be in for when C came marching up from the basement, grimly carrying two chunks of wood, each as big as my torso. "You want a fire, eh, Kimmy?" he said, creaking open the blackened doors of the ancient woodstove and shoving the wood in as far as it would go. "Well, I'll build ya a fire."
15 minutes later, I was basking happily in the delicious warmth. I'd plunked myself in the rocking chair that sits in the corner of the dining room, where the woodstove is the centre of attention. With my book on my lap, the dog at my feet and a cold glass of soda with lime within reach, I was in mecca.
Carm smirked at me. "So you're gonna sit in here, are you?"
"Well, yeah," I said, with a "duh" look on my face. "That's the whole point of having a fire."
Deeper smirk from my brother in law. "Okay then. Have fun." He glanced at the indoor thermometer on the dining room desk, which read 22 degrees, then left to do chores. Sighing with pleasure, I opened my book. 10 minutes later, I was opening a window and discarding my sweater and socks. The thermometer read 28 degrees.
Another 10 minutes passed and the thermometer hit 30. I contemplated putting on shorts, but couldn't lift my sweat-soaked body out of the chair to find them. When it hit 32, I called up to the farm. My mother-in-law laughed at me. "Are you warm enough?"
One thing about me is that I can't take too much heat. I bypass irritable and go straight to bitch from hell when the temperature gets past 29 degrees. So there I was, in a foul mood, trying to get as far away as possible from the fire I'd so desperately longed for. Neko had long since retreated to the bathroom and had her head up against the cool porcelain toilet. I ended up sitting in the far corner of the living room, window cranked open fully, storm winds pummelling me while I gasped for breath.
D was in his glory when he got home. He loves the heat. He promptly scolded me for having windows open and stretched out on the couch, basking in the 33 degree temperature. "Ahhh," he said, smiling his lovely creased smile, "now this is more like it." I think it's the only time I've declined to cuddle with him on the couch.