After yesterday’s “poor-me” post I got several emails from people who were worried that the kids and I were wrapping our feet in rags and huddled around a candle flame to keep warm, a la The Little Match Girl (one of THE most depressing stories I ever had the misfortune of reading as a child, landed on it right in the middle of a fairy tale book, damn thing sprung on me like I had just seen a grown man kick a puppy, don’t read that story!). But hey, listen, we’re fine! We’re warm! We have a ginormous propane heater that isn’t nearly as nice as the radiator but it works and plus we have down comforters and silk long underwear! I just like to complain a lot, its a sickness, we all have our crosses to bear and I am my family’s! Please don’t worry. Really, we’re fine.
Besides, we downloaded (after much swearing on my part, who designed this stupid system?!) a game on the ps3, “Journey,” which is very beautiful and interesting and we stayed up Way Too Late playing it, waiting for Paul to get home from his trip. Which he did, finally, yay! And he built a fire and now all is right in the yurt once again.
But see, we’ve got one of those held-together-with-spit-and-string housing situations, you know what I mean, it comes of hand-building your house a room at a time with no mortgage, boot-strapping as you go, using recycled materials and used parts and just generally making shit up. Most houses have a few of those tricky items, like, you have to turn the hot water tap backwards, or the thermostat is broken so you have to guess the temperature, or that door knob sticks…
Except we’ve got oodles of them, the way the on-demand hot water heater turns off if you don’t have enough water pressure, and the front door knob that has to be twisted the right way, and the sink faucet that is stuck, and wires that have to be switched out to go from gaming system to dvd player, and the way to prime the front burner on the stove, and the special way to hold broken handle on the dish-washer. It’s hilarious. Duct tape is our friend. It’s what I imagine living on the Serenity was probably like in “Firefly.” Kaylee was the ultimate Make Do with what you’ve got kind of gal. You set up a work around, you fix it good enough for now. “For now” being a range from one to ten years.
And our water stove (old blog post on this crazy contraption here) is a giant heap of these little tweaks and quirks. The fan switch is iffy so you have to unplug it to turn it off. The temperature gauge is blackened over so you just have to know where the numbers used to be. If you stack the wood inside just so, it will light better because of the draft from the fan hitting it, once the door is closed. The pump will trip the circuit if you don’t prop this piece of metal over it when it rains. Etc. I only know a few of them, to be honest. Paul is, I’m convinced, the only human who can really run the thing, because he’s the guy who put all these work arounds in place. He is the MacGyver of wood stoves. Without the mullet.
And THAT is why I couldn’t get a fire going. I was doing something wrong in the intricate web of Making the Heater Work. I didn’t have the Secret Knowledge.
But its fine. You just have to have good cheer about these things. Yes, I believe that some people have houses and cars that work perfectly all the time and they just get someone in to fix everything back to 100% whenever they need to. But, barring that impossibly shiny fantasy, we smile and do whatever we do to keep the ball rolling and the plates spinning in the air a little longer. It’s a superpower. It’s the Kaylee-MacGyver-Paul superpower.
And now I am going to go write that scene (see previous post) or DIE TRYING.