Well, it’s happening — at this very moment, in fact. If I look at the radar for my neck of the woods, I see it: the blue churning mass of precipitation that means SNOW. It’s always a peculiar feeling the first time that blue blob appears on the radar; I feel a strange compulsion to go out and load up on groceries and scented candles. I suddently wonder if K Mart has a sale on fleece blankets. I have to fight the urge to make a gigantic-sized batch of chili, which would come darn close to hitting the spot right now.
Every winter when the snow begins to fly, I feel a huge void in my gut (and my house), for I lack the one thing that would make snowy days and evening all that more cozy: a fireplace. I absolutely love fireplaces! I grew up in a house that had both a wood-burning stove and a regular wood fireplace, and there was something about being snowed in that was almost pleasant if one had a roaring fire going. Even when I was in high school and itching to see my friends, I felt a little bit calmer about the whole deal if I could sit in a chair, watch the fire, and eat whatever good vittles my mom had cooked up for us.
But alas, having fireplaces must not have been in vogue in 1953, or the builder just didn’t feel like going through all the work of putting one in. Actually, let me correct myself: I do have a fireplace. It’s in the breezeway, and it’s a snap to operate, literally: snap on the switch, and the fake embers light up. Yes, it’s one of those. If I squint really hard and blur my vision, I can almost pretend it’s a fireplace, except for the lack of the satisfying crackle of the wood. The humming of the embedded electric heater just isn’t the same.
I’ve been tempted to satisfy my desire for a fireplace in a few different ways, even considering buying one of those portable fireplaces that use the gel cansiters. I almost hit the “BUY IT NOW” button last winter, in the darkest days of my fireplace obsession, but I stopped myself, for one main reason: no matter how much flame those gel cans put out (not much, I’d assume), I’d always be painfully aware that behind the flames lay three canisters of fuel. I’d never have a stack of splintery wood resting nearby. I’d never have that hint of smoke smell that wafts through the house when the fire is first lit. I resisted the urge because I knew it could never substitute for the real thing.
I toy around with the idea of having one put in — and not a gas fireplace, either. However, because we have such horrible luck finding people to do work on our house, I can only imagine that any contractor who hears this plan would end up cackling in ultimate amusement. Add a fireplace to this 50’s crackerbox? Hardy har har!
Contractor update: Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock …. cue montage of seasons changing here.