We've had amazingly warm weather this fall. But yesterday we turned on the furnace. We would have skipped it, but we hadn't brought any wood in the house yet, and Eric had to work here most of the day. He didn't want to shiver in his dark corner for hours.
The house always gets that first-furnace-of-the-year smell. Hot and dirty. The house always seems so quiet once we hunker down for winter, too. The windows and doors are closed, and the rush of hot air from the registers dampens sound.
Today I got home and Eric asked, "Did you smell it?" I didn't. I was on the pot. It's not a nice question when you're having your home-from-work wee.
"I made a fire," he said. He smiled. I could tell he really would like to jump up and down and yell YEA!
After I took care of business and had some lunch, I went down to the fireplace with him. He wanted some oohs and aahs and to rub the heat into my skin. But then he had to go to work, and I had two precious hours alone.
I could work. I tried. Our stupidfuckingwireless was apparently heaving with whatever bug has been making its rounds in town because you could watch the little icon wavering. I moved from one spot to the next, tried upstairs – nothing.
Eventually I just made my way back down to the fire and closed my eyes. I had stayed up late. I cover the school board meetings, and at 11:15 or so, they were, oh, maybe a third of the way through the agenda. They finally recessed since all of us are too old to stay up so late. But I, I, I had to come home and work on a paper I wasn't finished with, due at 8:50 a.m. in hard and electronic copies. Also at 8:50: my little group's media analysis presentation. (At about 8:10, I realized the final outline was nine pages long. It was supposed to be two. So I whipped out my ruthless editor and hacked it down to a page without even trying. I squeezed a half page back in and had to leave or I'd be late. Late means zero credit. I don't like zeros.)
Anyway, there I was on my futon in my dark, silent basement, feeling the warmth of the fire and the softness of the pillow, and I was gone. I must say, it's a very nice way to spend 20 minutes on a fall afternoon.