Black and white mountain engagement photo
Photo: We, The Light Photography

Sometimes I feel like I go for weeks (or months, or longer) without learning anything of true, lasting value. And sometimes I feel like all the things I'm supposed to learn just line up and then I have to sort through them with a notebook in hand, making lists and taking notes and hoping something sticks.

This past week has been like that, everything piled up at once and me trying to soak it all in and put it to use. I will say that one thing has managed to float to the top of the mess- a thing that, living where we live right now, is critically important to life and personal comfort.

That thing, Delightfully Engaged, is building a fire. In a wood-burning stove. In your living room. In your semi-insulated house so that you don't have to shiver your way through "The Bachelor."

Yes, it is almost spring and Shayne and I finally sat down and I learned how. (Up until now I'll admit that I was really, really good at watching Shayne make fires. It's not something I'm proud of.)

Did you know, by the way, that learning new things from your significant other can be one of the most challenging experiences out there? At least it is in our book -you don't just have to navigate the communication involved in teaching another person how to do something new-you also get to navigate the communication of make sure that the teaching process says, "I love you" and not "why aren't you understanding this?!"

It's tricky. Very, very tricky.

Not that building a fire is exceptionally complicated. In fact, Shayne broke it down into four basic construction and ignition steps: newspaper, cardboard, wood, match. It only got complicated when we started talking about which door had to be open at which point and how to turn the thingamajig one way to help the fire burn its own smoke or something crazy like that and the other way to draw in fresh air and yes I may have actually had to write some things down. And there may or may not be some caveman-style drawings next to them.

But, believe it or not, we made it through the entire training process with only one fifteen-second long "why aren't you understanding this?" stretch and a lot of "I love you". Which is exactly what we were hoping for. Well, that and me learning how to keep frost from forming on the inside of the windows.

By the way, we also established that Shayne is a much better teacher than I am. I'm not entirely sure that my trying to help him learn how to snowboard went quite so smoothly. Fortunately he decided to marry me anyway! Thank goodness for that.

Happy planning, learning and loving, Delightfully Engaged!