Category Archives: small town USA

The Monday 300-lb. Stove

Jack and I bought some forested land, and began hunting a good deal on a wood stove. When a brand-new one popped up on marketplace super-cheap, the nice man we bought it from loaded it into our truck with his brother. They slid a cheap piece of plywood under it to keep the legs from digging the carpet.

There it lay for the next three weeks, feet toward the steering wheel, aimlessly humming a tune to itself as it waited… and waited… and waited….

We tried friends, family, neighbors. Everybody was busy. It’s a hard time of life and a hard time of year. Plus, we really hate to be those sweet-but-annoying elderly neighbors who need help every twenty minutes.

But when my opportunity to pick up a full load of donations for a community project coincided with the stove still taking up 2/3 of the trunk, Jack and I did some math and hatched a plan.

We gathered every quilt, duvet, and rug in the house, including a sheep fleece headed to some community work of its own next week. We added three tarps, drove to the property, and piled the soft stuff as high as the bumper of the car, fleece below a tarp to avoid the barnyard smell. Positioning the car’s bumper right at the edge of the softy pile, we wiggled the stove out moving each corner of the plywood a couple of inches at a time, left right, left right, until the inevitable was about to happen. When the stove tilted, I held it in place while Jack raced to the driver’s seat and pulled the car forward a foot.

Thing came down like gentle snow.

We rocked it onto its feet, covered it with tarps, kissed each other soundly, and piled the soft stuff back into the car so I can wrap it around the furniture and other donations going to the community project.

Neither of us went to the hospital. We didn’t hurt the stove. We are still married we didn’t swear once.

Next up: how do the elderly couple get the stove up four steps into the house? Good question. We’ll figure it out. Or hold a barbecue and invite strong friends.


Filed under home improvements, humor, Life reflections, small town USA, Uncategorized, Wendy Welch

With a Little Help – –

Jack makes it on time again – –

Our bathtub and bathroom sink hadn’t drained for a few weeks (don’t worry, we had alternatives).

When our current problem arose we didn’t want to trouble Leroy , a good friend retired from the plumbing trade who has bailed us out (no pun intended) in the past. So we asked our local friends here in Wytheville if they could recommend someone. Wendy (a different Wendy who lives nearby and enjoys our flowers on her walks) came back very quickly with a suggestion. Within a day the local plumber arrived. He worked hard but eventually had to admit defeat after sending his snake down every orifice in the tub to no avail.

To his credit he never once uttered a swear word, because Wendy (my Wendy, you know, the lives-here one not the sniffs-flowers one) had a Zoom meeting.

He promised to phone a friend, another plumber who worked for a different company. As he was about to leave without charging us, I asked him if he did electrical work too and he duly set to and fixed the two non-working outlets in the kitchen. In essence, he charged us. Get it? Oh, never mind.

A couple of days later the second plumber arrived with a helper and they also got going, but this time with an electrical snake that would brook no denials. They also tried every bathtub orifice and came up empty—although the bathtub came up with several inches of black gunge. I was glad Wendy (mine) was on another Zoom so she couldn’t see what was happening to her beloved bathtub.

They finally had a look at the sink and sent the now frustrated snake down under there. It came back triumphantly bearing gifts – chewed up hair and soap. I am pretty sure it was singing Eye of the Tiger beneath its load.

The message of this is how friends can help in various ways and plumbers and their snakes can actually be friends too!

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Filed under between books, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch