I bought a kerosene heater this year. It's in my basement in a box waiting for its moment to shine during the next ice storm. I'm sure my wife wonders why I spent money on something I really hope to never use. Of course, she's not the first wife to wonder why her husband does the things he does.
You see, during our first once-in-a-century ice storm, my wife and I were living in an apartment in Lexington. We didn't have kids yet so we didn't think much about spending an electricity-free week huddled around a decorative gas fireplace. With the way the gas light flickered, it was almost easy to believe that we were warm.
During our second once-in-a-century ice storm, we had kids and a house to worry about but were lucky enough to live in what seemed like the one pocket of electricity in Central Kentucky. I felt a little guilty going home to my cozy gas heat when so many people in Harrison County weren't so lucky. I think we used up all of our Karma on that one.
Having kids has changed my outlook on being prepared. Gone are the days when we would hop in the jeep and take off cross country with a swiss army knife and some cash. Four years of diaper bags and formula and clean bottles and spare clothes have turned me into a dad who feels naked without enough "what-if" gear to survive the zombie apocalypse. (Yes, dear, we really do need those snow shoes....)
So there it sits on a shelf in my basement: a kerosene fired marvel of Japanese ingenuity and a talisman to ward off Mother Nature's cold, cold heart. But more importantly, it's a little peace of mind.