Posted by: deadmousediaries | October 21, 2012

News from the PVH, Episode #50 – C’mon Baby, Light My Fire!

I know there are lot of you who will dispute this but, there quite a few things better than sex, even the best sex. If you doubt me, try to remember the last time you jumped into a really, deep cold lake and couldn’t get to the surface fast enough to get your breath. Or maybe you’ve played the wait-til-your-face-turns-blue game with your kids while driving through a tunnel. That explosive big exhale and giant gulp of fresh O2 is a mighty pleasant feeling, yes?

Now think about your last road trip with a lot of miles between rest stops, especially if you imbibed in the 64-ounce SuperFantastic-sized soda at the last stop two hours previously. Now factor in the three bean burritos that seemed like a good idea when you stopped at South of the Border on the way to the beach.  When you start clenching more than your teeth to contain the rumbles between the rumble strips of the off-ramp, I’m fairly sure you are anticipating an extremely gratifying sensation that has nothing to do with sex.

That’s three, top-priority happy endings I think we could agree on.

Ever been so thirsty you can down that SuperFantastic-sized soda without a breath? That ranks as the number four great feelings on my list. Then there’s that old joke about the guy who keeps hitting himself on the head with a brick and a passerby asks why he keeps doing it? The answer is of course, “Because it feels so good when I stop.” Relief from pain gets a pretty high ranking on the satisfaction scale, too.

If you’ve read any Shakespeare and remember him using the phrase “watch him tame”, it refers to training hawks by keeping them awake until their resolve is broken. (Sounds a little like Navy Seals training, huh?) The original pleasure of “going to bed”  and being allowed to fall asleep when you have absolutely nothing more to give also sounds like a pretty good time to me.

A top ten on my personal hit parade: getting warm! Check out the toasty view into the PVH heating system.

For those of you who think this all sounds pretty crude, I suggest to you it’s truth. Remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs from your high school psych class? It’s pretty hard to be whipped up about practicing procreation when you must first attend to more pressing needs. Consequently, somewhere after breathing and the other activities listed above, another big item on the list of satisfying moments is getting warm. Yes, there are times when getting warm is better than sex and if you deny it, then you’ve never been really cold — or you have a serious psychological disorder and need one of those 12-step programs to address it.

We like our wood heat here at the PVH. That means that when the outdoor temps start nudging the freezing mark, someone’s gonna’ be up several times each night tending the fire and that alone puts a damper on romance and magic.

It pays to be prepared and I’ll admit it, I wasn’t. That first cold night, I pulled on my big girl pants -two pairs of  ’em– and turned on the electric room heater. That worked great except that I had enjoyed a SuperFantastic-size bottle of water about an hour before bedtime and when I sat down in the closed-off bathroom, I thought I might need de-icer to get unstuck.

This is what three hours of heat looks like that costs $6 if you are a poor planner.

The second night I caved and took the city slicker’s way out: I bought a bundle of wood at the grocery store. It was wrapped in plastic, with a convenient little handle by which I could lug it home. For a mere $5.99 plus tax, I became the proud owner of  .75 cubic feet of kiln-dried wedges that lasted approximately three hours with the dampers closed. (That’s technical woodswoman talk meaning you cut off most of the air supply so your fuel burns slowly.)

At eight  hours a night for 30 nights that comes to about $480 a month to be warm only at night. (It would definitely be cheaper to have sex if that could keep you warm but I’m not sure I still personally know anyone who could do a 30-day marathon in three-hour intervals.)

As luck would have it, our beautiful tree house is surrounded by, well, trees.  Amazingly, trees are made of firewood. Unfortunately, no amount of coaxing will convince a tree to step inside and take a peek into your wood stove as that evil witch in Hansel and Gretel so easily accomplished. No. You have to go after the wood, cut it down, chop into lengths, split it,  rank it and still sit around in the cold for a couple of months while you let it season so it is dry enough to burn well. Fortunately for us (not so much for the trees), trees can remain standing for very long time after they are dead (which makes them easier to catch as they are drying out on their own).

Saturday was harvest day. An experienced woodsman and two careful apprentices recycled a huge, dead, white oak that had stood on the property for decades. It was four-and-a-half feet in diameter at the base and towered about 55 feet above the PVH. Despite a full day’s work by three wood maul slingers and one pansy innkeeper, we barely made a dent  in the bounty. I can’t calculate the volume of wood that beautiful tree is providing now that her days of giving us shade are over but I do now know this: money does grow on trees.

When it comes to grocery store firewood, this is filet mignon.

Firewood is typically sold by the cord, a stack that measures 4′ x 4′ x 8′, or 128 cubic feet. The going rate for a cord here in central Pennsylvania is somewhere around $227. The trick is to figure out a way to wrap it in plastic and attach a cute little handle so I can sell the same amount to the city slickers and poor planners in tiny little bundles for $5.99 plus tax. That translates to $1,025 a cord. If I sell just six cords in front of the grocery store, I’ll have enough jingle in my pocket to buy a new central heating system for the PVH.  And if we’re gonna’ be warm, we can focus a little farther down the list on Maslow’s other needs.  ; )   As we say here in the country: “I just ate and I ain’t tired so we might as well– I can’t dance and it’s too wet to plow.”

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Responses

  1. Stay warm!!! LOL


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