The stove that keeps on giving. [And taking.]
It’s no joke — Sean got carbon monoxide poisoning. While I was out of town, per usual. The universe must decide each day that all things dramatic need to happen when I’m gone. That one time the brakes went out in the Travel Queen? Yep — I was gone. Every time Sean gets the flu? Yep — I’m gone.
In short, we had a Rocket Mass Heater/Russian stove hybrid custom-made and installed in our yurt a few weeks ago. (More on how that works later.) We have spent more money than we’d like to admit — I’m sure you can all relate… you start a project with a budget, you go for it, and then forget the SIX other pieces of the puzzle that all cost money. Three times your budget later, you have a product that you think you’re happy with… but you’ll be happier once your savings replenish. Yeah. That type of project.
Here’s Sean, installing the “chimney.” I don’t even want to talk about the price of insulated stove piping — moving on…
We had tested the stove for a few days, little by little, while spending our nights down at the house on the lower property [a 15 minute walk/less than 5 minute drive from the yurt]. While I was gone, Sean decided to let ‘er rip and stay in the yurt overnight with the full functioning stove. He’d even had conversations with friends the night before about carbon monoxide. He made sure all the detectors were on and in the proper areas of the structure before dozing off for the night. Nothing seemed to be leaking… but as we all know, CO is an odorless, silent killer.
Sean awoke the next morning to our pup, Glacier, pacing back and forth in the yurt — likely the only reason he woke up that morning. [That part gives me chills.] In his text message to me, he was short: “Woke up spinning. May be carbon monoxide poisoning from wood stove.” Literally, that’s it. And then he didn’t text me back for 20 minutes (likely while he was figuring out how to get himself from A to B without being able to drive) and then confirmed he was at Urgent Care and our neighbor had given him a lift. From this point on, all I could do was read the updates as they came through via text, amazed at how awesome our friends are. Throughout the day, they shuttled Sean from Urgent Care, to the ER, to their homes to feed him, to a warm bed at Andrew and Louise’s place where they could make sure he slept through the night. Louise even took care of our dogs. It’s situations like this that prove there’s no reason to forge through life alone. Friends keep us honest and they watch our back. And our friends here in Whitefish? I’ll just say we’re extremely lucky.
And I just want to acknowledge Glacier, too. Thank God for dogs:
Flash forward to today. We are the proud owners of every professional-grade carbon monoxide detector (including leak detector), reader, alarm that Amazon sells. And funny thing; when we were returning a few things to Lowe’s last weekend, Sean was reading the postings on a nearby bulletin board (you know, the ones that NO ONE reads), and he happened to notice that our carbon monoxide detector… the thing that was SUPPOSED TO SAVE HIS LIFE had been recalled. [Did your jaw drop? Mine did.] Mystery solved. If it can happen to us, I guess it could happen to anyone.
How is the stove, you ask? Hm. Well. I’ll be totally candid here and say we are working out a few kinks. Here’s Sean, using high temperature RTV sealant last week:
Since temperatures in NW Montana warrant the use of a heat source at night now, we’ve been running the stove during the day and sleeping in the house at night to be safe as we test everything to make sure it is all running as it should be. Better safe than sorry. We’re thankful to have warm beds down at the house to use as we finish up our final testing on our new stove up at the yurt. It’s hard to have setbacks like this when all we want to do is commit to yurt life. I know, I know. #YurtProblems.
The daily reading from Melody Beattie’s “Journey to the Heart” today — as always — is spot on. I’ll end with this:
Trust the rhythm of the universe. You are right where you need to be. You’ll get where you need to go. You have all the time you need.