I've been pondering wood stoves for about a year now, ever since I somehow landed on a Craigslisting for a Vermont Castings Defiant. (In beautiful GREEN enamel. For $800. I didn't jump on it.....damn it! I should have...hindsight is ALWAYS 20/20! :sigh:) Sweet Geek and I have been discussing it, and finally decided that that's what part of this year's IRS refund would go to. SO - time to start heavily researching!
I usually don't do any heavy research until I KNOW we're going to actually *do* whatever it is I'm researching. Why waste the time/effort, y'know? I knew what I wanted - something that looked *like* the Defiant, because I LOVE the pretty, pretty iron-work on the glass doors, but I also didn't want to spend a fortune. I want something that will heat most of the house - the room we will install it in can't easily be closed off. The bedrooms can be, but that leaves the family room/kitchen/weaving room/music room. So...minimum 1,500 sf of heating capability. Color, not so much of an issue - while pretty enamel would be nice, black is just fine. Want glass doors so we can watch the flames. But that's all I had before this week.
The first thing I did was look for a "local" shop. I wanted to see what they stocked, and get a ballpark idea of cost. The "local" shop is 61 miles away (that's Local to us Texans! :lol:), and they carry a pretty large selection. The boss was out yesterday, so I called. The salesman was nice, but not nice-nice, if that makes sense. I told him up front I was just looking, and we wouldn't be buying until the refund hit (which may have been the issue with him). I had my list...so we started getting prices.
:WHOA NELLY!: I had already spent some time Tuesday surfing the web to get prices. No, they weren't local, and yes, I'd have to add shipping - but I figured there was no reason to ask about a stove that was way out of my budget. The prices at the local store? Were mostly $500+ OVER the prices I had found online (the cheapest one that I liked? Was $1999...which, granted, was about what I had found online....but still - I *liked* it, but not enough to pay *that* for it!). (And....shipping? At most places was only $200.) Talk about Mark-up! :blink: OK...let's talk installation, shall we?
I won't go into *that*, but bottom line was, in the *worst* case scenario, I'd be shelling out $2,550 for INSTALLION. This included the stovepipe ($1200), hearth pad ($300) and wall pad ($300). I.....words can't describe my thoughts on this. I hit Northern Tool (which kept coming up in my searches)...their total,for a Large stove ($899..on sale for $849), chimney kit, stovepipe, hearth pad, AND wall pad......was $1,300. (Their hearth pad was...get this....$69. I mean......:shakes head:)(And I don't *know* that we need the hearth pad or the wall pad, but I like to be prepared, y'know? I'd much rather NOT buy something, instead of being hit with more costs because I didn't do the research. Some of the stoves I've been looking at don't need either one...but *I* don't know which ones those are, and this guy was really not much help with that.)
OK...so, they're out. I don't need to take a trip there, if installation is going to be THAT much. (And installing it ourselves is NOT going to happen. I discussed it with Sweet Geek, and while he has no problem with cutting holes in the ceiling and roof, he doesn't want to mess with something that has the potential to BURN OUR HOUSE DOWN. He's like me - he'd rather someone ELSE be liable for that.)
Time to hit the yellow pages. Found an installer that looks to be "close". Called them.....
First off, the wife asked what stove we were going to install (I...guess that makes a difference?). I told her I didn't know, since I was still looking - I just wanted a ballpark estimate so I could budget accordingly. She said, OK, talk to him first - he KNOWS what he's doing (I hope so!), he could advise me, and...he DOES sell wood stoves, too, and would be HAPPY to show us what he had. (I bet!). However, she said, he also didn't mind installing other people's products (that's good!), but he could tell me what to look for, what to NOT get, etc. Fair enough! Only - "are you married?" she asked. Ummm..yeah (???!). "Oh! Then he needs to talk to BOTH of you." :blink: O....K.
See, my husband trusts me to ferret out the best deals. I do the legwork, give him my findings, and he - AND I - make a decision from there. If it were up to him, he'd buy the product that he liked, and damn the price - that's what AmEx is for! Me? I look for bargains, within reason. And *I* pay cash - no credit cards here! SO...this was kind of odd, but the next *10* minutes explained that.
I said, OK, we'll be home tonight by 5:30. He could call us then. "Oh NO!" she said. "It's Church night! Church is VERY important, so..he'll have to call tomorrow night!" I'm cool with that - the Torah doesn't say "Thou shalt attend church Every Wednesday evening, or Thou shalt be smited", but I try not to antagonize the sleeping. I made the appropriate responses.....and got to listen to her discuss her Fabulous church, and how Important it is, and - by the way, do WE go to church? :red flag:
I took a defensive stance: "We're Messianic, and there are no shuls around here. We're still looking, though." *Usually*, that shuts them up. Not this time. :sigh: "Messi..what? What's *that*?"...with the underlying tone of "Oooh! Live one!" (If you've ever been approached by a Baptist trying to convert you, you know *exactly* what I'm talking about here.:giggle:) "Messianics are Christians (I know - but I figured saying "Christ-Followers" would set her off even more. Next time, I'll say Jew!) that have gone back to the Jewish Roots of Our Faith."
Again, that *usually* shuts them up. I've acknowledged that I am "on the same side", as it were, and don't need preaching. (Remember - I'm trying to BUY something from this lady!) (Also, the reason I don't usually say "Messianic Jew" is because there is a strong sense down here that Jews NEED converting. Doesn't matter about the "Messianic" part - all they hear is JEW and off we go down the "YOU need to KNOW Jesus!" path. :sigh:)
"Oh!"...pause....."There's onea them-there churches in Dallas, ya know!". :bangs head: "Yes." I replied. "I work in N. Dallas, we live in (our town). To go to Shul, we'd have to drive to (our town), pick up the kids - WHO ARE IN SCHOOL IN (OUR TOWN) - then drive BACK to Dallas, and hope we have time to eat before Shul. Then drive BACK. I'm..sorry, but it's not worth *3* hours on the road. We just can't DO that." There was a pause..then "Yeah, that would be too hard to do. Well..." (and I KNEW what was coming) "there's a Cowboy church in (your town). Have you ever been? We go to one here - it's too far for you, but there's one right there on 20 - you can bring your horses; they have playdays and the preachin's great and and and" for another 5 minutes or so. :sigh:
I *finally* got her off the phone...but, Really? I mean - REALLY? Someone calls to GIVE YOU MONEY, and you have to try and get them to join your brand of religion???? I know some churches push this (Baptists, I'm looking at YOU. :grin:), but...I'd already TOLD her I was on the winning side! :grumble:
I told Sweet Geek this, and said "Next time, I should say we're Morman - wait, that'd be worse, wouldn't it?" He laughed and said "Nah. Just emphasize the JEW part. MOST christians won't push it. If they do, mention that Jesus was a Jew, and see what happens!" (He's worse than me, I swear. Although this COULD be fun..if I had the time to do it. :smirk:)
So. The husband is supposed to call US tonight. (I figured that part out, mid-way thru her "join us!" speil. Her church must emphasize the "wives, submit to your husbands!" verses. I don't have a problem with that; I DO submit. Like I said, though - in our marriage, my job is to research and present the findings. He gets the final say on exactly WHAT the money is spent on (within reason. He doesn't quibble over the grocery bill, or clothing, or even yarn. He HATES it when I ask if I can buy the above, but I ask anyway. :shrug: A couple of times he's actually asked if I could hold off until the next payday. I have no problem with that - I don't want my yarn addiction to cause us to run short (not that it would, but..) or cause problems. HE doesn't want his photography addiction to cause problems, so it works out. :grin:) Anyway, we'll see how it goes.
Tractor Supply has a large stove for $899, so we might go there, too. While normally I'd gather prices then hit eBay or Craigslist, for this I think I'd be more comfortable buying brand new. I don't think the money saved could make up for a damaged stove...especially not since this will be installed in our house. And...we may end up NOT doing this. (I'm waiting for Guidance. He ALWAYS tells me when I'm *not* supposed to do something...and the out-of-sight installation might be it this time. If this guy is that out-of-sight as well, we'll have to take it as a "NO" and re-think this.)
Tonight should be fun. :evil grin: