EXCLUSIVE TIN MAN AUTOPSY PHOTOS. MUST CREDIT SIPPICAN COTTAGE.
Just kidding. I've always wanted to write that "must credit" tagline on something I wrote. Of course on the Intertunnel, "must credit" doesn't mean much. No one has had more stuff cribbed from them without attribution than me. This astronaut monkey joke alone would have made me the most famous blogger in the world for a day or two, if anyone in the regular media gave credit to where they found things. I don't really mind all that much, because it frees me from any residual obligation to do likewise.
That's not really the Tin Man's autopsy. It's more like a snapshot from the Tin Man's mom's fertility clinic. What you're looking at there is heat for my kids' rooms. Some assembly required. Not the kids. My wife and me assembled them a while back. It was pretty fun, what with both of us being drunk at the same time for a change. No, I meant the heating system requires some assembly. More than some, actually. It requires invention, and then assembly.
We don't have central heat in our house. We live in western Maine, and it gets pretty cold here -- in the summer. In the winter it gets pretty cold, too, or so I've heard. We've managed to make it through five going on six winters by hook and by crook heating. We burned firewood for a while, but we could never afford enough, and the house ended up unheated whenever I fell asleep. I'm a bit of a sissy, and I fell asleep once in February of 2014, and was ashamed for weeks afterwards.
Now we heat our house using a Vogelzang VG5790 pellet stove. It puts out about the same amount of heat as our woodburning furnace, but it can run for a couple of days at a time when it's loaded with wood pellets. The pellet stove is located in our dining room, which I use for my office as well as the fancy eatin' parlor.
The distribution of heat in a house is an arcane art. Your average plumbing and heating dude's solution to every plumbing and heating problem is a massive outlay of money spent on an increasingly complex heating system. It never works, you're always too cold or too hot, and the repairman is in your basement enough to pay you rent.
Luckily for us, we're really poor and just want heat. We can't afford complexity. But we do need to get the heat from the pellet stove upstairs into the kids' bedrooms. Our house is over a hundred years old, fairly large, and insulated by a man with a cane and a dog. Our solution for the last five years has been to shiver and wait for Spring, which comes on July 4th in the morning, giving way to summer in the afternoon, and then around dinnertime the leaves start to turn.
The kids rooms have electric heat in them. During the months of December, January, and February we used to turn it on and abandon any hope of heating the hallway outside their doors. We also abandoned any hope of solvency. Five years ago, when the electric heat was all there was in the house, I once got an electric bill for $900 for one month, and we slept with our clothes on. I live less than a mile from a hydroelectric plant, about five miles from a copse of wind turbines, and down the street from a paper mill that produces "black liquor" for power generation. That's a form of biomass fuel made from the lignin left over from papermaking. All that eco-friendly power generation gets you an electric bill with more zeros on it than a Carnival cruise.
So my mission this year is to distribute enough of the heat from the room with the pellet stove to the kids rooms so that the electric heat doesn't need to be turned on any more. That pile of Tin Man entrails represents my plan to do so. Will it blend? Only my hairdresser knows for sure. That's because she sleeps with me in my (unheated) bedroom.
(to be continued)