I'm Free . . .
Something to Talk About

Sometimes Mondays . . .

are all about acceptance.

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This was the view of the sun setting over my garden (with my neighbor's tree-on-fire background) last Friday night. It was a very cold evening -- but Tom and I (stalwarts that we are) sat sipping our beers wrapped in blankets (or, at least, I was) out on the patio . . . with Mr. Heater* by our sides.

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You see, although I consider myself a flexible person . . . one who can roll with most any situation . . . I really (really) have a hard time bidding adieu to the ease and joy of the warm months!

I like the easy flow of being inside/being outside. I like running out for an ice cream. Just sitting on my patio or my garden swing while I talk on the phone. I like throwing on a pair of shorts in the morning and calling it good. I like snipping herbs from my garden . . . grabbing some flowers for a vase . . . prepping dinners that are really just throwing stuff together for a salad. I like the sun going down at 10:00 at night (which is the case, here at the very western edge of the eastern time zone).

I put up quite a fight when it starts getting dark.
And cold. 
I deny. I pretend it's not happening. I refuse to wear socks.

Until, eventually, I just . . . accept it. 

And I do every year. Because there is comfort in the dark season, too. There's a loveliness to my dying garden. There's a coziness to candles on the mantle and a fire in the fireplace. Chili. Fresh bread. Wool layers. Twinkle lights. Beer tastes good in front of the fireplace, too.

So I'm giving up the fight now.
Accepting.
Coming around.

It's time for me to embrace the dark season.

==

(*) The Story of Mr. Heater: A Special Bonus

Several years ago, I wanted to get a heater for our patio so we could extend the outdoor season and stay warm while enjoying our evening "cocktail hour" on the patio. I, of course, had one of those rather elegant tower-style heaters in mind. Y'know . . . the ones you see at outdoor restaurants or on the more put-together home decks and patios. Tom was quick to agree that a patio heater was a great idea -- and he volunteered to pick one up for me when he went to Lowe's.

He came home with . . . Mr. Heater.

NOT AT ALL what I had in mind. Mr. Heater . . . is designed for hunting camps, ice fishing shacks, pick-up pond hockey games. Absolutely functional. Totally portable. All you need is a propane tank! He keeps things toasty, for sure.

But . . . not the elegant tower-style patio heater I had in mind!

Several years later, Mr. Heater still accompanies us out on the patio (spring and fall). At this point, friends and family all know Mr. Heater. It's a good story. We get a lot of laughs. And Mr. Heater is a perfect example of how Tom (Mr. Function) and I (Ms. Form) . . . complement . . . each other. Every year, I plan to replace Mr. Heater with that elegant tower-style patio heater I originally wanted. And then I don't. 

Because Mr. Heater? Well . . . he's part of the family now.

 

 

Comments

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Vera

Your Fall colors are gorgeous Kym! Fletch and I have continued to sit on our patio for an afternoon beverage...I usually have wine and he has coffee. We stay out until his coffee is gone and then it is usually time to head in...my hands feel like ice. We wear jackets and soon I will have to add fingerless mitts.

kat

Those autumn colors are just so stunning! (and I am with you... although October extended summer quite nicely, November was quick to remind me that winter is coming and that being indoors can also be a lovely thing!)

And I love that Mr. Heater story!

Bonny

At some point you have to let summer go and embrace the chill and coziness of fall. I like sitting outside and enjoying the crisp fall air, but I like it a lot better when the sun isn't setting at 4:30. It may be time to retreat indoors with candles, tea, and warm blankets.

Carole

We have those tower heaters and they are pretty cool and add some great ambiance . . . but they don't have a story like Mr. Heater does! I'm glad to hear you are ready to accept the inevitable.

Vicki

I love that story!!!

I had shoes & socks on last week, but sandals made a glorious return over the weekend -- and even still today! Savoring & enjoying every moment of "freedom." I, too, like the cozy warmth of the cold months -- all those shawls & sweaters get some use -- but tire of the "production" of just entering or leaving the house!

Sarah

I thought of you and Mr. Heater last weekend when we were at my brother and sister-in-law's for their Halloween party -- they just got one of the fancy, pretty tower heaters, but it took maybe half a dozen people to figure out how to get it set up. I have a feeling Mr. Heater is a lot easier and faster to get going!

While I don't love the colder weather (as a person who runs cold, I don't need any help in feeling chilled), I don't mind the excuse to curl up in sweaters and socks and all the handknit things. It's the darkness that really gets to me. When I first started my current job, I got put in an office with no window (and no heat, either), and there were some busy winter days when I never saw the sun because it was dark when I got to work and dark when I left, and if I was too busy to get outside in the middle of the day, I couldn't be sure the sun had actually come out at all.

Dee

It's hard to fire a good worker. May Mr. Heater have a long and productive life with you.

I suppose I am in the minority. I really love the colder, darker seasons of the year.

Valerie

Maybe I'm missing something, but those tower heaters seem counter intuitive to me. If hot air rises, then why put the heating element above your head? I can understand the safety aspect of them in outdoor restaurants. But for sitting out on the patio, it seems that the laws of physics are in favor of Mr. Heater.

I have a bias....we had a house that had electric heat in the ceilings. Anytime you sat at a table your feet and legs were cold all of the time.

Today was a beautiful autumn day.....certainly doesn't look like November. But I'm not complaining!

Carolyn

I thought of you--we had a late Oktoberfest gathering with our n'hood crew at the end of last month. Troy put out a call for heaters so we could congregate outdoors. And who showed up? A Mr. Heater!! I remembered this story from earlier pandemic days and smiled.

Jane

Mr. Heater is a faithful practical friend. Your autumn photo is so pretty. The colors here have been glorious but the big leaf drop is bound to happen soon. I will miss the tomatoes, zinnias, and basil but love to be indoors for tea. I think we need new twinkle lights to warm up the living room.

Pam

I love the story of Mr. Heater. I am not minding the weather cooling off, but these short days (and now dark by 5 pm) is hard. Maybe I need to get those candles out.

Margene

You said it so well, Kym. It takes awhile to adjust to the Dark Season, but the coziness of winter can be really lovely, too. I was thinking about Mr Heater awhile ago and wishing I had one just like him on my patio. Smith actually looked for one like him, but nothing but elegant towers were available. I think they are just too big for our space and I don't want to die of heat stoke in winter. LOL Good gear is what helps me the most during Dark Season, as I can comfortably take that early morning walk with Mylo, which we love to do wearing our parkas and boots!

kmkienholz@gmail.com

I rejoice every year when it gets cold enough to break out the handknits! My feet are usually cold, so I move into heavy socks first, then the lightweight cardigans and long-sleeved shirts. And eventually the sweaters. Of course, it helps that winter duds tend to cover everything, including those parts of me I prefer not to be on display ;-)

But I am totally with you on the encroaching darkness. Sunset comes at 4:49 today, 11/10/21, and a little googling told me that this is the earliest sunset. It also told me that sunrise is latest the first week in January. But I am never awake at that time so it doesn't concern me.

Patty

My Mr. Heater - known as Slim Shady - is a beautiful beast. In a covid-everything-will-be-gone-oh-my-God panic I asked Doug to buy another heater. Well our aesthetically pleasing tower doesn't provide 1/2 the heat that Slim does. Here's to making our way through the darkness and a couple more cocktails in warm outside fashion. xoxo

Karen

I love your Mr. Heater story. I had every intention of buying one of the 'pretty' heating towers last year for our deck. They were so hard to find since restaurants were buying them up for outdoor dining. And the prices were outrageous. I bought a more utilitarian version that works really well. We used it this past weekend as we camped and it was freezing out (28 each morning). Our granddaughters decided it looked like Wall-E - from the Pixar movie. So now ours has a name as well!

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