Furnace Wars in Real Time

For those of you who don’t know, our house has a wood-burning furnace.  Most of the time my husband tends to the fire because he is a) home more than me and b) better at it.  However, for the next two weeks he has an intensive class in the evenings, leaving me in the unfortunate position of having to restart the fire and keep it burning when I get home from work.

This is an official record of the Furnace Wars.

6:30 p.m.  Return home from work and drop things off in the house.  Return outside to check the furnace.  Heat registering at 88 (it should be between 150 and 160).  Only small coals remain from the fire.  I try to find small pieces of wood from the wagon to restart the fire and realize that I have to haul some down from the top of the pile.  Also realize that they are completely soaked from last night’s rain.  Finally get enough small pieces to put in the furnace.  Close furnace door and head back inside to get some dinner.

7:00 p.m.  Return outside after eating dinner.  Heat is registering at 87.  See that the wood has not caught on fire from the embers liked I hoped.  I decide that the wood is too damp and I set out to the barn where the dry wood is kept.  Unfortunately, the barn is dark and there is a woodchuck hole in front of the woodpile.  I imagine raccoons and recluse spiders biting my hand as I reach into the dark woodpile.  I also have visions of an enraged woodchuck barreling out of its hole and gnawing off my leg.  I gather some dry wood as a huge blast of icy wind sucks my breath away and causes me to stumble.  I return to the furnace (still no flames) and throw the dry wood on the embers.  Close the door.

7:10 p.m.  After playing with the cat on the porch for a couple of minutes I return to the furnace.  Heat now registering at 86.  The dry wood hasn’t caught on fire, so I decide to give it more time and head inside while I wait.  The cat slips by my feet and wanders inside (she isn’t allowed in the house).  I take off my muddy boots and go after her.  Before I can grab her, she has tucked herself under the bed where I can’t reach her and the only way to get the little stinker out is to put food in her food dish.  She finally leaves the bed and starts munching on her undeserved dinner (thankfully outside).  What a treacherous little punk. . .

7:30 p.m.  Head outside again and see that the heat is registering at 84.  Open the furnace, only to discover that THE FREAKIN’ WOOD STILL HASN’T CAUGHT ON FIRE!!  WHAT IS THE BIG FREAKIN’ PROBLEM?!  IT’S DRY AND IT’S ON TOP OF HOT EMBERS!  WHY, WHY, WHY WON’T IT CATCH?!!  Wait, no, must stay calm.  Perhaps it just need more time before it burst into beautiful, house-warming flames.

7:55 p.m.  Return to the blustery outdoors and see the heat is now registering at 82.  This does not bode well for my side of the battle.  I open the furnace door and see a wondrous sight–lovely, hot, bright flames!  I have revived Prometheus’ ill-given gift and brought forth fire!  I quickly pile on a couple of thicker logs and shut the door.  

8:15 p.m.  Check the furnace to make sure the fire continued to burn.  It was blazing by this point, although the heat is now registering at 81.  Throw on a bigger log that will keep the fire going until my husband comes home (then he can deal with the stupid thing).

I shall declare this battle a victory for me!



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