Monday, November 17, 2014

Writing Despite the Cold

From Kate’s Writing Crate…

          I feel like the proverbial poor starving artist in a cold Parisian garret. Well I’m not starving or in Paris, but I am freezing. A new furnace has not married well with a very old chimney. This is the busiest time of year for chimney sweeps so it’s proving difficult to get an appointment to fix or replace it.

          We can live without heat for a few more weeks by wearing three, four, or five layers. The difficult part is living without hot water heated by the furnace. Makes us reconsider bundling them. Plus our tech bundle—cable, phone, and Internet—went out two days later.

          So we are having a too close for comfort look at living 100 years ago except, luckily, we still have power so no candles for lights and I can still use my computer for writing. Since no experience goes to waste for writers, this situation has provided inspiration along with goose pimples.

          How dedicated writers were when they had only quills and pens with scratchy nibs that had to be constantly dipped in ink. Add the cold to that situation and I’m amazed at what they produced. Writing requires endurance.

          It also gives me a whole new appreciation for our ancestors who only had heat and hot water from fireplaces and wood stoves. All the work of chopping wood and gathering kindling to keep the fires burning all day and night, then pumping water into buckets, then heating water in pots to pour into a tub must have been exhausting. No wonder people only bathed one day a week. (We are doing far better than that thanks to nearby relatives.)

          What really strikes me is the quiet of the house with no incoming signals from the outside world or even the cycling of the furnace as it keeps the hot water hot. No dishwasher either. I'm heating water on the stove to wash the silverware and pots and pans. We switched to paper plates much to the delight of the dogs who, on sunny days, are napping on the deck warmer than I am sitting at my desk. At night, they wear their flannel-lined coats while sleeping on warm, cozy beds.

          I thought I lived a quiet life, but, compared to this day, not so much. Usually, I have the TV or radio on in the background as I write. When needed, the dishwasher is running. The house seems active; now it’s napping.

          I know the tech part will be fixed shortly. I have an “account current” relationship with that company.

I'm not so sure about the chimney/heat/hot water situation. I've never met a chimney sweep, but I will be exceedingly grateful when I do.

          In the meantime, I will continue to write. If Christmas gets closer and we are still without heat, I think I will be feeling more and more like Bob Cratchit. I better look for my gloves now.

P.S.  This happened in late October/early November so dogs were never freezing. Heat and hot water are restored.

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