This Old Stove


After I moved to Wisconsin, we were dealing with house projects Matt’s brother was “finishing”; two room-mates who moved out while Matt was on the road which meant stuff they didn’t want to take they just left for us to deal with; a kitchen that had a refrigerator in the middle of it that hadn’t been cleaned out in forever (really. Forever), and oh by the way? A truck and a trailer full of my stuff to  unload. To say it was chaotic is the year’s understatement.

As happy as I was to be with Matt, I was incredibly overwhelmed at the state of my new home. That we made it out of that summer intact was a plus, heh. Things have improved since then. I’d say drastically; however; with Zandra’s arrival brought a basement full of boxes which cuts down our living space by a third. She’ll be digging into those in the new year…or I will. True story.


The house is getting more love now than it has in quite some time. New doors; new paint; more cleaning; more dog hair, the important stuff. And while our kitchen is actually a great size (not too big, not too small) it is definitely outdated. Including our old stove. I was talking to friends about the kitchen the other day. Their advice? Don’t touch it unless we know we’re staying put for another 10 years (which we’re not. Hopefully.) We’ll never get our money back.

It got me thinking. Even though a shiny new fridge and stove would be so much fun, we’ve done pretty darn good with this old stove. We’ve made many meals on it which kept us healthy and strong. Matt almost burned the house down when he put my Texas Bluebonnet oven mitt on it with a burner still going (you still owe me a Texas Bluebonnet oven mitt Bigg guy.) We’ve made some meals that were quite delicious and adventurous. We’ve made steaks in that cast iron and finished them in the oven. We’ve made meals that have fed friends and family (and dogs when the food falls on the floor) that has brought a lot of love and laughter in our home. The pounds of bacon and ground hamburger that have been made on this stove number somewhere in the 100’s I’m sure.

The old stove has served as extra counter space when needed and somehow we’ve been able to keep over seven dishes going at once with some careful juggling. It is the center of the universe for us most days and I’m thankful for it. Even our old fridge which is actually in rougher shape almost always has food in it (when I’m alone for a week or two while Matt is traveling it holds a few salads and 5# of chicken in it but that’s all I need.) There is almost always some scrumptious beer ready to be enjoyed and while Oz is here the pepperoni and Snackables seem to come out of nowhere.

So I’ll take it. And I’ll appreciate our old stove. But I never want to see what’s behind it or in between the wall and the stove on the side. That’s a horror story waiting to be written I’m sure.

True story.

Health is the greatest gift; contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.


Training Log

About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to At tosabarbell, I build relationships cultivated in a strength and learning environment. There is no 12 week magic pill program to strength but rather a lifetime commitment to be the very best and most useful human you can be. tosabarbell is a private, home grown gym with three lifting platforms; squat rack; prowlers; throwing implements; bars, bumpers and everything else needed for an effective strength and conditioning program. Straightforward barbell programming including the Olympic lifts; sound (read: not fancy bullshit) diet advance for weight gain or loss; and strong coaching will ensure you will meet your goals such as becoming stronger, more explosive, and better conditioned. I have been coaching teams and athletes for over 30 years. I grew up participating in various sports at various levels but was always drawn to those that require strength training. I have multiple local, national, and world records in the sports of Weightlifting and Highland Games Heavy Events as well as a combined total of 5 World Championships. My 5 years of training and coaching under Mark Rippetoe provided a wide range of influence from some of the top strength & conditioning and throwing coaches in the country. I will strongly encourage tosabarbell athletes to compete (and prepare you to do so.) However, tosabarbell is also for those who wish to be stronger and go through life feeling better. Matt WanAt is a retired Professional Strongman who competed frequently with Strongman Champions League in Europe. He played a year of D1 football with Iowa before concentrating on his Chemical Engineering degree in Iowa City. He is a native of Wauwatosa and still remains a staunch supporter of Tosa East. This blog will be a mixture of strength notes, coaching and nutrition tips, personal shit; bacon delicacies, and a whole lot of fun.
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