Yet again, Missouri weather has shown us that it has a mind of it’s own, and we didn’t have to fire up the wood stove for quite a while this year, but it is now time to load up the wood, build a giant fire, and keep it at least 90 degrees in our house for the rest of the summer… oh, sorry, I meant winter. This gives us the impression that it is summer, that the sun is out, and that seasonal affective disorder isn’t doing some real damage to our psyches. I also have to be the overseer of all that ends up in the wood stove because wood is just a fraction of what my husband thinks is acceptable to burn.
There are a few things that I will throw in, things to layer the wood when I start a fire, like the never-ending cardboard packaging from Christmas presents, junk mail like the fifteen or so Dish Network or Direct TV flyers we get a week, credit card bills that I don’t want my husband to see, and the overflow of coloring pages and crafts overtaking our refrigerator, after bed time obviously. Shredders are a waste of money in our house. A pile of old tax returns just increased the temperature in our house the other day by 4o. There are also the imaginary things that we say are in the wood stove. When my oldest son is having a particularly rough day, and that’s putting it nicely, we resort to just plain meanness to get him to straighten up. You’ll find him sitting on the floor having a meltdown after we’ve informed him that since he threw a toy at us, we threw it in the wood stove. Actually, it’s hidden in the kitchen cabinets, but when you’ve been backhanded by Buzz Lightyear, you can’t really be patient, so the wood stove becomes a very harsh parenting tool. The toys show back up later when he’s done something nice, and we just say that we found a new one since he was a good boy. My husband also had a little party by the wood stove when I made him go through all his files and he discovered that he still had a ton of paperwork from his time as an owner of a trailer court. He sat by the wood stove, put his feet up on another chair, threw in piece by piece as he plucked a few cans of Busch Light from a little cooler sitting next to him. I’m pretty sure I heard him singing too… “This is my fight song, take back my life song” in a high soprano, no joke.
He doesn’t stop there though and that’s a big problem. I’m very sure that we are breathing in some really toxic fumes. Last winter, when I was pregnant with the newest little monster in our house, I would open the bathroom window and take deep breaths when a chemical smell would take over the house from something my husband threw in the wood stove in fear that I would birth a two-headed monster.
What are these objects my husband deems safe for the wood stove that are sending carcinogens start into our lungs. It’s a wide variety of things, so I’ve completed yet another bullet style list for your musings:
1.) A really stinky diaper that the Diaper Genie just can’t handle. Diapers are generally indestructible, except in a massive 1000 degree wood stove.
2.) Any plastic packaging that doesn’t have a recycling symbol on it, and when I haven’t taken out the recycling and it begins to overflow, I’m pretty sure the recycling gets it too.
3.) A mouse on a sticky trap. Blah! Thank goodness for the cat, so we don’t have to deal with mice or the thought of my husband just chucking one into the fire.
4.) Containers from the refrigerator that have been hidden behind larger objects for a year or two and now have developed into their own species of mold. He does the dishes most of the time, so I don’t blame him. I take the high road and wash them, but only after opening them outside, throwing the contents at the pigs, and running as fast as I can to remove myself from the perimeter of stank.
5.) Bale wrap. He has learned from experimentation that it starts a ridiculous fire that sounds like a train roaring through the wood stove, but puts out a nasty chemical smell - aka the first step in acquiring lung cancer. He creates a little pile of it next to the woodpile, just outside our door for those pesky evenings when the green wood is the only thing left in the woodpile and we’re all too tired to walk the extra 50 yards to get more from the massive woodpile by the garage.
6.) Oil. That’s right. You read correctly. Oil. He had some used oil that he started putting in there until the smell became even too much for him, but it sure did add a little oomph to the flame.
So start that Go Fund Me account now to send my boys to college because between the fumes and the shear stress of living with three boys, I won’t make it long. At least the fumes cover up any stinky boy smell that has invaded my house. Febreze does nothing for that.