Saturday, January 17, 2009

Wood-Burning Furnace, Part II

This is the second in a series of shots I took of my favorite barn around here. Speaking of second in a series, we return to Chesapeake Bay Mother's continuing saga of the Wood-Burning Furnace my father is obsessed with.

The Wood-Burning Furnace, Part II
By Chesapeake Bay Mother

“Previously, I wrote about Husband’s purchase of an outdoor wood-burning furnace.

In October, his crew installed everything, burying insulated pipes all the way to our oil-burning furnace in the basement. They congratulated themselves on a job well-done and said goodbye. It is almost Thanksgiving as I write this, and nobody can figure out how to marry these two systems. I overhead some talk of purchasing another “heat exchanger.”

This all reinforces the bad history Husband has with compulsive buying. The UPS man knows us well. Last year he delivered two(2) Amish electric fireplaces. I think they just made the wood features since they don’t believe in electricity.

He literally falls in love with prospective purchases. An incapacitating hysteria possesses him quelled only by the writing of a large-sum check.

His mother had that, though she bought mostly clothes and hats, but occasionally she would fall victim to this inexplicable desire to own something just plain strange. In this category I offer the “Big Round Ball” light fixture * as evidence. When the Williamsburg-style chandelier in the dining room had the misfortune to be yanked from its mooring by someone in the family who was having a really bad day, Husband’s mother replaced it with a Victorian ball light about the size of a soccer ball. It was just eerie hanging out over the antique dining room table like a UFO in search of a runway.

Once Husband had me attend a motivational meeting for a pyramid scheme he was high on. I wasn’t impressed, though Husband clearly was. It showed when he left so intoxicated by sales-sermon-induced euphoria that he actually drove onto the interstate in the wrong lane. When I say wrong lane, I mean going Westbound in the Eastbound lane. He laughed, chided himself, and backed up correcting his mistake without incident. You can understand how pleased I was when I got the news that he had already invested money. The immediate reward was a set of pots and pans. The long-term reward was a request from the Postmaster General’s office for any material concerning the “investment opportunity” we had received in the mail…something about fraud.

We have our home in a family trust, so I comfort myself that Husband’s disease, though ever present, is somewhat thwarted and contained. Over the years we have owned an airboat (good in the Everglades, where we don’t live), a huge commercial ice machine (donated to the Middlesex Fire Department), a welding machine, air compressor, motorcycle and a Volkswagen “Thing,” which has become a honeysuckle planter.

At present, Husband is anticipating the eventual operation of the furnace by bringing truckloads of wood—not yet split, actually whole tree trunks—and plopping them in the yard where we recently cleaned up an old woodpile overgrown with brambles.

Just when you thought it was gone, the big ugly woodpile is back.”

Chesapeake Bay Woman’s Comments
* I actually have this “Big Round Ball” light fixture stashed away somewhere in my basement, which is a graveyard filled with the Ghosts of Impulse Purchases Past. They were going to throw the fixture away, but I thought it looked “tres retro.”
Now that she mentions it, the thing really does look more like a soccer ball, not to mention: Chesapeake Bay Woman trying to hang a light fixture? Ha! I don’t think so. I'd sooner toss it outside and kick it into a goal. Or Queens Creek.

Regarding CB Daddy's compulsive shopping ailment: Don’t even get me started on the Home Shopping Network. The last time he watched that, he ended up with not one, but *two* sets of steak knives that could be placed in an incinerator and still be able to cut through barbed wire.

Why two sets, you ask? Well, he placed one order, then promptly forgot he had done so. Later, he called and ordered them again. He was consistent and persistent, if nothing else. He was going to have those knives even if he had to buy two sets to get them.

Home Shopping Network was only more than glad for him to order two sets.

His wife? Not so much.


Karen Deborah said...

OMG your parents are so funny. How abouta picture of the UFO light fixture!

Mental P Mama said...

I cannot wait to get there. Honeysuckle planter?

Anonymous said...

Don't get rid of the air compressor and definately not the welder.

Air compressors are always handy to fill tires after 'someone' accidently runs over something sharp cause they were daydreaming while cutting grass.

And with all the wood that's going to need to be split, you'll need the welder to ocassionally mend the log splitter that you'll be wanting to get...unless the whole family has turned into lumberjacks!


Unknown said...

Once again, a hilarious post! I want a tour of your basement and all the treasures hidden there.

I can relate to the HSN and my mother Rita's intimate relationship with several of the show's hosts. She actually thought the recorded phone messages were personal calls.

I still can't imagine the wood-burning furnace being off site but that will be another much anticipated surprise for me in July. Maybe CB father (or mother) can give us a live tutorial.

Anonymous said...

I MUST know how the "Williamsburg-style chandelier" was "ripped from its moorings....."

Anonymous said...

... what was not written...

...said husband is a lumberjack unlike any other in Mathews; he is from the same gene pool as Paul Bunyan. I know, I collected wood with him - once. As I sputtered and spit and gasped for air while I dragged a log 4 feet long and 4 inches wide across an unobstructed path to the back of said Husband's truck, he nimbly skipped along with half-dozen logs 8 feet long and 8 inches wide across a maze of fallen timbers. A short time later, when he was satisfied that the truck was adequately loaded, we returned to his home. I went in for fried potatoes, scrapple, band-aides and a bottle of ibuprofen, while he unloaded the truck. Thirty minutes later, when I left he had just sat to finish what mere breakfast had been left behind - he needed no pain killers. And, I noticed on the way out that the wood we (he) had gathered had been perfectly cut into 2 foot lengths, split and neatly stacked 6 foot high between two trees that were at least 100 yards apart. I was envious.


Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

KD - If somebody reminds me, I will be more than happy to take a picture of it....It is an "ok" fixture for a small area, but definitely not for the dining room table, unless you were dining with E.T.

MPM - A tour of the honeysuckle planter is a part of the standard tour, we don't even charge extra for it.

RC - CB Son has learned how to use the air compressor and it has saved us many a time. YES, I HAVE blown out a tire on the tractor, not from daydreaming (arguably) but due to the aggressive stance I assume when on the daggone thing. It is me against the terrain, and I shall not lose! (But the tires, belts and blades on the tractor shall.)

GJ - You will get a COMPLETE tour of all things referenced here, rest assured. I would love to hear about Rita and her HSN know how I feel about Rita.

BHE - I'll tell you about it next time we have lunch. Are you a certified therapist?

MMM - Only because you reference Scrapple do I know this story is legit....although I will say, I can haul and stack wood as good as any men around these parts, and it was due to his instruction. He also had me hauling gill nets at the age of 3 and a half (OK, 12 and a half), but I think it built character. A character, anyway.
Isn't Scrapple the best? (And CB Daddy too, although he's slowed down a great deal in his older age.) Thank you for your story.

foolery said...

Where to begin? I love this post for so many reasons.

I throw and stack logs with the best of 'em, as long as they are already stove length and as long as you don't care that I won't do it again for three months due to the tendonitis I developed and as long as you don't mind the two-at-a-time method (I cannot hold logs against my body because I'm deathly afraid a black widow will crawl onto me). *breathe*

Also? When I was little I wanted a dune buggy SO badly. And then I grew up. And started coveting a Volkswagen Thing, and the honeysuckle only makes me want it more.