But this year was different. Todd had mentioned a few times that we needed to get firewood. I was waiting for payday. Yesterday, I called the guy who sold us wood last year. He called back and, thankfully, Todd answered the phone (sometimes, it's just easier for a guy to talk to a guy about wood, at least in these parts). Two cords, no hemlock, same price as last year, delivered before 10:00 am tomorrow. No way!! It just can't be that easy!
But it was. The only catch was that Todd wouldn't be here in the a.m., which I had thought would be a mild inconvenience but wasn't after all. Last year, the wood guy (Al) showed up with two pick-up trucks that looked like they had seen better days. His two helpers were real characters as well. I'll be kind and not go into detail. Anyway, I was a bit apprehensive until they showed up (at 10:00!)
Al's trucks were in better shape. They didn't have to push the one to get it going. A different truck, perhaps (business is that good, maybe?!) His only helper was the same as last year but this time, he was clean and sober, not shaky and limping like last year. Same sense of humor, too. And they were so quick! It was a much more pleasant experience this year, probably the best it's ever been. If you've been my blog friend for awhile, you know my past experiences with firewood. Anyway, this year was a piece of cake. When they were done unloading the wood in our driveway, Al smiled and said, "Have fun!" I shook his hand and thanked him. Now the hard work for us would begin.
My whole family chipped in and helped with the loading. We had to clean out the fenced area where we store our wood and take out what was left from last year. Then stack the new wood, and restack last year's on top to be used first. Chad did most of the work this time. When Todd got home, he helped before going to bed since he works tonight. Alec and Carmen did what they could. I worked with Chad and later on my own, when everyone else was tired. Errands and dinner got in the way but we got it nearly done. One day! Unbelievable.
Watching the boys work together today made me realize that I was actually seeing the fruits of my labor. For years, I have been taking the boys out with me to teach them to stack wood. Oh, it was SO difficult! Chad was just so hard to keep on task, arguing and running off, and Alec would complain and give up too soon. I sometimes resorted to letting Alec keep Carmen company so Chad and I could stack but I knew it wasn't teaching Alec to work. But today, they worked together and I knew that my efforts had paid off. In fact, Chad did a lot of the work without me, including putting together the rack we keep near the door and stacking some of the wood there, as well as showing "Al" where we wanted the wood unloaded. What a blessing that I can rely on him for things like that. It wasn't that long ago that I wondered if he'd ever be responsible to take on these kinds of tasks without being supervised. He's really grown up so much in a lot of ways, it's a joy to see. Helps to balance those times when he can still be exasperating!
And then there's Carmen. She has wanted to help stack wood ever since she was old enough to pick up a small stick. She has always been so small that I was nervous having her out there around the wood pile. Wood has a way of falling, hard and chaotic. I have a sore foot to prove that theory. But Carmen has never been afraid and helps out as long as she can. It was drizzling when we started but by the time the kids got tired, the sun had come out just hot enough to make stacking kind of miserable. All the kids went in at that point. I stayed out working and dodging the yellow jackets, bumble bees and wasps. This evening, there was some rather large flying thing. It was huge. It buzzed my ear and I ran, screaming behind the gate. I waited. Ventured back out to the wood pile ... I could hear it's wings humming. Couldn't see it. Deep breath. Continued stacking wood, beating each piece on the driveway to remove spiders. That darned thing buzzed me again, sending me off to the gate. More waiting. Geesh, I just wanted to get things done, you know? I spent the next half hour gingerly approaching the pile, pounding wood and stacking, all the while listening for the thumping wings. I never saw it again and I hope I never do. At least there were no snakes this time.
I'm so thankful our winter fuel is here, paid for and ready to heat our home, even when the power goes out. God is good.