Firewood. As of Friday, we've got a great big stack of it, maybe even a cord (one of those measures I've always wondered about that turns out to be a pile 4 by 4 by 8 feet, which sounds much more exact than it could possibly be). We've been burning it as if it were freezing and the furnace was on the blink, sitting on the living room sofa and staring aimlessly into the fire, telling each other how lovely it is to have a fireplace at last and getting up periodically to poke and prod and fan the flames.
Think, I said to the husband, of what it must've been like in this apartment all winter when they had to keep fires going in seven tile stoves (now long gone).
"That's what they had maids for," he said.
I wonder if they used wood, or coal, I said.
"Wood I think," he said.
I'm not so sure about that, but whatever they used, it must've taken a lot more than a cord of wood. Where do you think they kept it all?
(Which brings me to a stupid thing I loved to irritate my brothers and sister with when we were young, repeating to them endlessly "there's something nasty in the woodshed, there's something nasty in the woodshed" for no reason, no reason at all.)
The Swedish word for the day should be ved, which means wood, but it's not. Instead, it's eventuellt, which although it looks like it should mean eventually, does not. It means possibly, more or less.
- by Francis S.