Monday, January 25, 2016

Musings by and about the Fireplace

My sister lives in Maryland, where they have wintry weather most years.  I live in South Florida, where the lowest temperature I've ever seen was 38 degrees, and that was once since 1998.  We usually get a week or two of chilly weather, with one or two nights when the low dips to 45 degrees.

I have a fireplace in my house, and my sister does not.  My house is on the first plat map of Broward county.  I think of that person(s) who built these first houses here.  Did they not understand the climate?  Were they so dependent on fireplaces back home that they couldn't imagine not needing one?  Was the climate different then?

The system that brought the blizzard to the east coast has also brought us some cold weather.  So last evening, my spouse suggested a fire.  But all our wood was wet from the record amounts of rain that we got on Friday.

Off I went to the grocery store, while my spouse stayed home to complete his mandatory training sessions at one of the schools where he teaches Philosophy.  I picked up some good deals on food and coffee, and 4 bundles of wood at $5.49 each.

I tried not to think about the rural areas of South Carolina where I've lived, where I could have picked up a bundle of wood for free, where I could have bought a cord or a truck load of wood for not much more than I spent last night.

We had a fire in our fireplace that has no damper.  It seems to work just fine, despite not having a damper.  Is that a design feature or a flaw?

I thought of past years, long ago, when a grad school friend would occasionally find an apartment that was part of an older house, an apartment with a fireplace.  I remember envying them, writing their grad school papers by the fire--meanwhile, I shivered in my meager grad school digs.

I thought of the changes of our approach to the fireplace at our annual family gatherings at Lutheridge.  We used to have the fireplace going across the week-end.  But now, with 7 little children, we haven't had a fire in almost a decade.  Those sharp-edged stone hearths frighten the parents, and the children get into enough trouble without a fire going.  We've also noticed that we all breathe better without a fire burning.

Last night, we did no work beside the fire.  We sat with our backs to the TV, enjoying music and wine and the chance to unwind.

Today as I move through my day, I'll try to take the spirit of last night with me.


Wendy said...

We have fireplaces here in So Cal. The kids want to use it. We do when it's cold and rainy and think about it. About once a year. I even had one in my little one-bedroom apartment, the first place I lived alone, and it was a major feature of the town home I bought back then. I had a gas log in the condo and used it all winter.

On the other hand, my grad school apartment in Indiana had no such feature.

The one that intrigues me is covered parking. All my apartments in CA--even the college ones--had a covered parking spot. In Indiana no one in apartments had covered parking.

Unknown said...

That sounds lovely! I got to experience a fireplace for the first time last year after traveling to Estonia for a few months. I grew up in a small apartment in the Silicon Valley - where it was almost always 70 degrees. It was such a refreshing experience to sit in front of the fire after a hard day's work.

Lindsey Mckenzie @ Buchanan Fire And Outdoor

Carry Scanlon said...

We bought a house in North Florida and i was so glad that we got a fireplace installed. The hot air heating systems down hear are trash, and when the temps in February dip to 30, I simply drop a few logs on the fire and house is a toasty 70 degrees. I would not be able to save money without my lovely fireplace.

Carry Scanlon @ Chim Chimney

Andy Jones said...

I love fireplaces. We have one in our home that is a little unconventional and really big. We decided not to put indoor heating and instead we have several fireplaces throughout and a few gas and electric heaters. I prefer it that way. We have a big house because we entertain quite a bit but during the day it's empty

Andy Jones @ AQS Comfort