Here we are in January, aka, the dead of winter. Yes its cold, that’s a given. But more than that, it’s the time of the year when our houses are all closed up. The doors are tight shut. The windows are tight shut. Curtains that if you have lived in the cold for anytime at all, are heavy, insulated and pulled tightly shut.
Furnaces go on and off circulating warm air yes, but circulating the same air over and over again. Wood stoves are lit and warm the air, the same air over and over again. Maybe an electric heater is plugged in somewhere in your home. One with a little fan to dispense warmth created by the coils in the heater. The little fan pushes around the warm air, the same warm air over and over again. Get where I’m going with this? I need fresh air!
I was having guests over the other night and I sniffed my house. I didn’t find it had any particular odor, it just was, well let’s face it, there was no fresh, crispness there. So I did what I suppose most winter hermit dwellers do—I lit a sniffy candle. I keep one in the kitchen and one in the bathroom because it seems the thing to do and I have received a few scented wax wonders over the years as gifts.
I have also given said sniffy candles as gifts. I add that I have given them for two reasons. One to say that I give them because I like the smell, not because I think the receiver needed them. Two, for that same reason I tell myself that the one that gave me the sniffy candle doesn’t think my house needed it either. That is my story and I’m sticking to it! Light a candle and move on…
Before my guests arrive, like two hours before, I lit the candle in the bathroom that smells like vanilla beans growing in a tropical nirvana filled with Hawaiian breezes and coconut flowers. (Do coconuts have flowers?) Then I lit the one in the kitchen that is supposed to smell like toasted marshmallows. Yum.
Okay, to recap. House, closed up tighter than Fort Knox. Doors and windows sealed tight least any of Mr. Winters’ breezes get in and freeze the occupants. The wood stove has a fire going in it to heat up the air that has been used by the occupants over and over again. I have a little electric heater on and purring in the dining room because we have a cold spot there. That little heater has a little fan that is pushing out warm air mixing it with the rest of the overly used air in the house. And I expect those two little flames put out by those two little candles to make my home seem light and fresh and inviting. Well who did I think I was kidding!
After about an hour my husband walks down the hall and into the kitchen that I am giving the once over, for the umpteenth time before the guests arrive, and he sniffs at the air and comments that the candles are way too strong. They need to be put out. Then he adds that it is too warm in the house and he goes over to the window in the dining area and opens it! Wait, what? Open a window? In winter? He never opens a window, winter or summer! He would have a house with no windows if I would agree to it. Of course he also wanted to paint the bathroom black, so his design gene has always been a bit askew. Such another story.
I on the other hand am a serial window opener. I would sleep with windows open all year long but for my other half that again, wants to board up all windows to the world. So when he opened that window it was like a gift. New air was pouring in. I rushed to the window and sniffed the cold crispness. I fanned the air to get as much of it in the house as I could as fast as I could. I found my non-Hawaiian coconut, non-toasted marshmallow, non-vanilla bean, nirvana. And it smelled like the freshness of old man winter. Cold, new. Then he did another amazing thing. He opened the front door. The last air that came in that door had the freshness of new mowed lawn on its breath! And now, in January, it was opened.
When our guests arrived the house was fresh and cool and inviting. Very sniffable. See it just goes to show. You never know what goes on in other people’s houses before you arrive to visit.
Trina lives in Eureka. Her book ITY BITS can be found on Kindle. Share your thoughts with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.