It’s Sunday afternoon, and thanks to the wood-pellet fireplace installed by our home’s previous owner, the temperature in our living room at this exact moment is 77 degrees, even as Winter Storm Jupiter rages on outside. Okay,

Travis Naughton

Travis Naughton

“rages” may be a bit of a stretch. Far from the “Icepocalypse” that was predicted for our area, “Jupiter’s Wrath” could more accurately be described as “Jupiter’s Slight Dismay.”

Mind you, I’m not complaining, although I did lose a full day’s pay when my substitute teaching assignment that was scheduled for last Friday was cancelled after school was called off. We’ll probably lose our house now. Thanks, Obama. In all seriousness, SoBoCo superintendent of schools Chris Felmlee was absolutely right to cancel classes in light of the dire forecast. Mr. Felmlee always treats the well-being of students and district employees as his number one priority, and I applaud him for that. We are lucky to have him here.

And the Naughton family is lucky to have not one, not two, but three wood-pellet fireplaces. (Two in the house, one in the shop.) These efficient, easy-to-use contraptions put out an amazing amount of heat. The unit in our basement once heated the family room to a temperature of “I don’t care if it’s snowing outside, I’m gettin’ nekkid up in here,” (or 88 degrees Fahrenheit if you’re into more conventional means of measurement.)

Having stocked up on pellets, food, and non-alcoholic beverages before the impending storm, I resolved to remain hunkered down at home for the duration of the four-day weekend while enjoying the NFL playoffs from the comfort of my toasty basement. You can imagine my disappointment when after gathering some salty snacks, fixing myself an ice-cold, 32-ounce Arnold Palmer, and plopping down in my favorite chair in front of the fire, I discovered that DirecTV and the local Fox affiliate had reached an impasse during their recent contract renegotiations, resulting in a message on my on-screen guide that read:

“Dear Travis, we realize you are all settled in to watch your favorite sport on TV right now, but despite the exhaustive pregame preparations you have made, the life-threatening weather conditions inhibiting your ability to catch the game somewhere else, and the probability that at this exact moment you are waiting for the kickoff, contentedly eating pork rinds, and sittin’ nekkid before a cozy fire, we regret to inform you that you are $#*+ out of luck. No game for you, pal! Sincerely, the schmucks at DirecTV. PS: Thank you for your $122 per month!”

After a fair amount of cursing, I scrambled to track down the set of rabbit ears I had tucked away years earlier, back when TV was still broadcast on three over-the-air networks and no one had yet dreamed of trying to keep up with any Kardashians. I hooked up the antenna, waited while my TV executed an excruciatingly slow channel search, and tuned to Fox 22 just in time to miss the entire first quarter of the Seattle-Atlanta game. Thanks again, Obama.

With the crisis mitigated, I was finally able to enjoy football and an afternoon at home with my family. Even though the roads probably weren’t bad enough to have prevented me from driving to a sports bar to catch the game, the notion of being a recently sober person watching football in a drinking establishment did not seem like a good idea to me. Look at me making all of these good choices lately. With apologies to my siblings, it has become abundantly clear that I got the good looks AND the brains of the family. Sorry, guys!

Now if you will excuse me, there’s another football game getting ready to kick off. I need to start a fire, adjust/curse an ancient set of rabbit ears, mix up some iced tea and lemonade, and, in case the temperature reaches 88 degrees, I should probably get my birthday suit ready, too.