Beautiful Things: A Heater for a Drafty House

We knew that removing the layers of carpet (Green! Shag!) and the particle board underneath was going to increase the draftiness of the house.  We also knew that the windows were desperately in need of maintenance.

We anticipated the high heating bills. We really did.

We encourage wearing layers here — at least put on a long-sleeved shirt, kiddo — and we try to be cognizant of how warm the house actually is.

But it’s hard to not just “turn on” the fire when it is this easy. And pretty.

Jotul 400 Sebago direct vent gas-burning stove.

This is where we sit in the morning, kids eating cereal before school, Sam on my lap, watching Pink Panther on Hulu.  Naturally, Booker likes to squeeze in front of the fire, causing us to lose some of our precious morning warmth (Move, Booker!).
 
It took months and months to get this stove.  I called around desperately when we were moving in, realizing that we didn’t have a source of heat.
 
You see, this is what was in the house before:
 

Old gas box heater. $20 appliance disposal fee at the dump.

But what I didn’t realize is this: we had an old house. Our existing venting system (direct vent) wasn’t used much anymore, and no one had direct vent stoves in stock.
 
Keep in mind that we moved in in November. Brrrr.
 
So we ordered one.  And when it arrived, it was the wrong size. A size too small, which meant we’d be running the stove a lot to get the house to warm up.  But the store installed it as a loaner, and promised that when our stove — the correct stove — came in, they’d switch it out, and we could pay them then. 
 
Small towns, you know? 
 
(So… the customer service there — they made mistakes and it was hard to get our calls returned, but they were sweet and considerate and made sure we weren’t raising kids in a house without heat. Forever grateful to them.)
 
We’ve added plastic insulation to the insides of some windows. We’ve found a lot of leaks, but haven’t fixed them. We know the doors need maintenance. And some day we’ll replace the windows.
 
It’s helpful that it’s been overcast at night lately — it keeps it a reasonable temperature in here.
 

Isn't it pretty? It gets hot.

Even right now, it’s probably 65 in here, and I’m wearing warm clothes and have no need to turn it on. But so tempting still. 
 
And we don’t have to deal with firewood ever ever ever again (oh, except for recreational fires in the firepit I imagine in the back yard, you know, the firepit that is over there near the deck with the hot tub? yeah, that one).

Beautiful Things: The Piano

I saved $50 a month for 10 months before I started looking for a piano. There was no other way I could justify buying myself a $500 item, and even though I hoped the kids would be interested, I wasn’t going to pretend it was for them.

I knew a piano tuner that would go out of his way to examine a piano before letting anyone buy a lemon.  He called me right after he looked at it.  “If you don’t want to buy it, I’m going to.  And then I’ll polish it up and sell it for twice the amount.”

Uhh. OK. I’ll buy it.

He says that spinets aren’t worth the effort to move, unless it’s an Acrosonic. 

The Acrosonic. Please ignore the dust, the scratches, the smudges, and stains. Also, I hope no one notices that some of the scratches were made by animal claws, and that the music rack has been chewed on by an enthusiastic cat.

We still haven’t gotten it tuned. At this point, all I can trade is fresh-baked bread. We’re a little bit moneyless, and short on time.  But bread I can do.