December 14, 2011
I woke to a dark, peaceful, snowless morning today. It's hard to get up at twenty to five. But leaving work at three-thirty is worth it. She said, sitting at her desk yawning and trying to get a few thoughts together.
The last month has been about gathering wood, learning how to run the tractor, knitting and knitting and knitting. I decided to save money by knitting almost everyone's Christmas presents, but as this choice was set during T'giving week, I left myself only a month to complete a number of things. Mike's present is larger and more complicated and I can only work on it when he's not there, so it remains to be seen whether I can finish it in a week and a half. If not, I'll show him what I have and then I can work on it when he's home.
Love continues to flourish in the house on the hill. The house itself is happier right now, too, since I had a carpenter (a REAL woodworker, not a local kid who doesn't show up or do the job right) come and button up the outside. He replaced rotting boards, fixed a fan window, and did a temporary fix on the chimney flashing. I have to have that redone next year, as it was never sealed properly the first time. He'll come again after the first of the year, to put in a grate from the living room to my upstairs bedroom, so I can benefit from the woodstove heat. We've successfully avoided using the furnace so far. I have to cut, drag, gather and finagle a lot more tree trunks. Fortunately the recent storm left downed trees all over the place. Karl and I went on one recon to gather wood from the side of the highway, and I got about a third of a cord. We'll go again tomorrow and try to fill the truck. This is our window, as the state is getting around to cleaning up now and the trees won't be there long. The wood won't be burnable until at least Spring, but there's that much less work we'll have to do in March.
We've just about used up the bought cordwood, and are transitioning to our own, long-cut maple and hickory. What great wood. It fills the stove, burns long and hot, and takes care of the whole main part of the house. I love that stove. It won't win a beauty contest, but it works.
Rose accepted a new job offer yesterday, in the medical center at the local University. It's a severe cut in pay from her last job, but the benefits are grand, no overtime required ever, and she'll have the summers OFF. I expect her quality of life and her emotional state will improve several hundred percent.
Meanwhile Snow thinks she's going to lose her house. Just can't make ends meet. She hasn't finished renovating her kitchen -- it's still all torn apart, no insulation in the ceiling yet, walls down, etc. -- and she decided the antique multi-fuel stove couldn't be piped in until next year, so there is NO heat in that part of the house (she's trying not to run the furnace, either). She left an ice cube tray on the counter as an experiment and had about half-formed ice cubes in the morning. Her wood fireplace insert is great for the living room, but lordy, the rest of her house must be cold. I asked Karl if he thought a few of us could chip in and buy her a new battery for her car for Christmas. She has a Scion like mine, same vintage, and I know her battery is over 7 years old now. That would ease her mind a little, anyway.
I finally had some belated servicing done to my car this week: snow tires on, hole in exhaust welded, brakes cleaned and adjusted, belts adjusted. Next week I get the transmission flushed, cleaned and refilled. That's way overdue. I feel bad when I get behind on stuff for my car, like I'm doing a friend a disservice. It has to last me as long as possible!
Well, I just wanted to pop by and say everything is fine. I'll be 53 in two days :) :) :) and Christmas is coming. I feel less Christian every year, but I'm thinking of it as Yule and stringing lights in the house and beaming with gratitude. I'm going to put up the (fake but cute) tree finally this year, the first time since I bought the house. Things are a little rushed with all the now-obligatory knitting. But Mike takes care of a lot of chores I'd otherwise be doing in darkness. He's really a great boyfriend and I hardly ever have to clean up after him at all. ;)
Happy holidays, everyone, and may your homes be warm and bright.
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