Even though I was traveling to Scranton Saturday and planned to buy some nut coal to try out, we got impatient on Friday night and drove to the nearest (which isn't so near) Agway and bought some expensive $10/bag nut coal. We were just dying to find out if that would help our situation. First though, we knew from Vigilpeaburner that we had to get that cleanout cover back in somehow (for the second time). Luckily, the fire was "almost" out Friday afternoon, so my crazy husband futzed and fiddled at the bottom of the stove, and somehow got that thing in. It still seemed loose, like it would slide around and fall out with the next rigorous shake, so he wedged a nail in next to it. He then went to work and put some wood on top and some charcoal, then our new Agway nut coal. Well, I can't tell you the surface temp, but the temp was 90degrees on the thermometer we keep a few feet away. That was a first, so we were very encouraged! I finally came home with the Scranton nut coal, and it was quite large in comparison, and took a LONG time to catch (had to use more charcoal), but again, it burned quite well.
BTW, Chiefcamper - the Agel coal prices were even better than you thought. It was $6.50/bag if cash and $6.75 if credit card. That was an interesting operation there, once I found it (GPS had me at someone's house)!
Even though the fire is burning quite well now (MANY THANKS TO YOU ALL!), the heat just isn't overwhelming as I remember it being when we had the old Surdiac stove years ago. We keep the Vigilant II 2310 thermostat flapper wide open - is that the right thing to do to get it hotter?
So, once the snow clears a bit, we'll go ahead and get the chimney cleaned (no, that had NOT been done this year - although it was done last winter), and corrected (height/cap). In the meanwhile, we do have 3 CO detectors in the house. One in the bedroom hallway upstairs, one in basement, and a digital one directly across from the coal stove (a little paranoid I am!).
I still need to buy the magnetic thermometer. Using Google, I found one in a store and just need to find some time to get way over there. I have no idea how one installs the manometer. I looked them up on Google, and that only served to convince me that I'll need professional help for that - maybe the chimney guys...
Things are so much better now that the fire actually burns brightly, but with the other suggestions you all made, we may get toasty yet this winter. Thanks everyone! I really appreciated all your help.