I am a slave to the machine.
Two of them, in fact.
The first weighs over 200 pounds, has a voracious appetite for BTUs, and sits squarely in my living room.
The second is considerable smaller, migrates from room to room, and is showing signs of age.
The wood stove heats our house completely and thoroughly. It is our only source of heat, aside from the 3-ft baseboard heater in the baby’s room. (Wood heat and electric heat do not go well together, There is always one source that is too hot, another that is too cold, and one tired mama getting out of bed to adjust the electric thermostat and/or baby’s blankets at night. If I had my time back, that heater would never have been installed). This is the second second-hand wood stove we’ve had in 18 months. Believe it or not, the one pictured above is actually in better shape than the one we shipped out.
The wood stove demands constant attention and fuel. This time of year, I’m prone to mysterious bruises that come from carrying in wood. (True story: the specialist I saw last week to assess my carpel tunnel was surprised by the strength in my arms. Yeah, it’s strength acquired from a particular condition called Being the Sole Adult Responsible for Keeping the Fire Burning.) I’ve written before about the shocking amount of wood we need to last the winter. I’m a slave to the beast.
The other machine is my seven-year-old Dell laptop. I lost my old computer to a Halifax thief seven years ago, and this is the one the insurance company replaced it with. It weighs about as much as a good-sized junk of wood and will soon pass for an antique, but that’s not what keeps me in thrall. The laptop serves as Sylvia’s contact-point with her father, and Travis’ window into his own home from 6000km away. When the time zones and work schedules align to have us all online at the same time, all work stops when we hear the familiar Skype “doo DOO Doo” ringer.
In other news, I have a birthday next week, and I actually had to take out a calculator to figure out how old I’ll be. Hasn’t anyone invented a age-less machine yet?