Sunday, October 23, 2005

Raingauge Runneth Over

Welcome to new readers from Feministe, Philobiblon and Science and Sarcasm. So many thoughts, so little time. I'm having trouble adapting to the change of season. It looks like we'll have to depend on the Hickories for color this fall. Maples and Oaks haven't really chimed in yet. And it's raining, raining, raining. There are a few important outdoor chores to do. Lots of indoor chores have piled up over the summer. I can't believe the cobwebs, pet hair and dust bunnies everywhere. I just don't notice it in the summer when I'm outdoors most daylight hours. And if I don't get some ironing done soon I won't be able to go out in public at all.

But the big adjustment problem is heating. The house was designed before I had kids. Kid #1 was on the way as construction began and I made my first huge concession to kids - I added electricity to the design. Here in the country we need electricity to have running water and I couldn't picture toilet training with an outhouse. As it turned out that would have been one of the simplest parts of family life. The washing machine and refrigerator have been the most important electric appliances. But the house was heated delightfully with the wood cookstove and ingenious convection for circulation.

Kid #1 was on his feet (and on the tractor, on the ladders and up the trees) when we moved into the house and Kid #2 arrived. By the time she was walking I realized that the original 24'x32' design was really ideal for one person, or two people who really liked each other. But with kids we were going to need more space. So construction of "the west wing" began, doubling the square footage of the house. That wing has always been hard to heat with the fireplace, so we reluctantly added some supplementary electric thermal storage heat.

Finally a few years ago, living solo and working full time away from home to help put Maggy through college, I splurged on a small gas furnace. The magic thermostat on the wall was my best friend for a year - at least my favorite mechanical device. But now, with no kids for tax exemptions, I'm back to my original tax protest - keeping my income low enough to avoid paying taxes. That means keeping expenses to a minimum, too. So, I'm retreating into the original part of the house for now, hoping that will eliminate the need for the electric heat and minimize the need for gas heat. I'm home full time now so I'll be keeping the home fire burning.

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