Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chimney Sweeping...Not magical like the movie Mary Poppins

I’ve never dealt with a Chimney Sweep before. I’ve never had reason to. I scoured online for my best option. There were a few but the one that had a website struck my eye. Even the name of the company was comforting. Father and Son Chimney Sweeping. It denotes a feeling of trustworthiness, doesn't it? I rang them up and made an appointment for a consultation. I didn’t get the Father or the Son at my door, but an employee. He was a really nice guy. Now, I must add, this wasn’t a sweeping it was only a pre-sweeping consultation. After he inspected everything he told me they couldn’t fit me in for a chimney sweep for at least a month (they were that busy). Damn, I wanted my insert to be in. Winter was coming and I couldn’t get a fireplace insert until I had that chimney swept. He kindly told me to call another company but warned me about the scams that some Chimney Sweeps lay on unsuspecting individuals.
He said, “Your chimney looks fine.” “Don’t let anyone tell you different.”
I was again grateful and felt like I had the Chimney Fairy watching over me. I called another company close to home. He came out that week.
Now, opposite to Father and Son Chimney Sweep, this guy was short a few bricks. (Sounds like a pun again, doesn't it?) He was messy, disorganized and too chatty. He said the chimney was really dirty and also informed me he wouldn’t be surprised if it had never been swept. That I believed! As he used his chimney brush, huge chunks of creosote fell from the chimney into the fireplace (a very flammable substance). After he left and unfortunately after I knew about all his marital issues (ugghh), I set aside an old piece of cut plywood to put over the gaping hole to keep the impending draft out until my fireplace insert would come. I also had a roaring wood fire in the fireplace that night. It was great, but as romantic as a wood burning fireplace is, it stinks the next day. I had pondered not getting an insert prior to purchasing the house and was just going to use the fireplace as it had been intended, with wood and matches. After that night I knew without a doubt, I had made the right decision to get a gas insert.

I had already picked out my new fireplace insert. I knew the style, make and model. Some people would call me a freak, but I had done my research before I had even purchased this house. I called up the company I had visited in the summer and made an appointment for the rep to come and measure and give me a “real price”. I had already put aside about five grand for my fireplace. This was partly a buffer in case it actually needed real brick work done to it prior to the gas insert being installed. Happily, my fireplace brick didn’t need work, so that was a savings right off the top. But to my chagrin, this company was busy too. Was everyone getting a fireplace at the same time as me? He had a really difficult time slotting me into his appointment book. I could hear him frantically flipping the pages of his daytimer as I hung on the other side of the line. He finally squeezed me in but couldn’t make it out to my place for almost another two weeks, and even at that, he would have to make my appointment time for 9 or 9:30 pm. Oh well, I wanted that fireplace and would have seen him at midnight if I’d had to.
He showed up on time. Measured. Quoted. I haggled. He shaved some money off. I ordered. It was done. The fireplace would be inserted in two more weeks, just into November. I was excited.
Unfortunately, the day before the installer and my fireplace were to show up, I received a call. The installer was ill and they would have to re-schedule. What??? I let my feelings be known and told them I was going on a business trip the next week and needed it in before then. Needless to say, it was installed in the next few days. Let me point out it’s beautiful. It’s warm and it doesn’t smell like I have been camping in my living room. I have been using it every day since it was installed and I love it! Who wouldn’t love it? I don’t have to be an avid Boy Scout, or in my case, Girl Scout to start it. All I do is press the remote button to turn it on and wah-la!, instant fire and warmth, not to mention the capability to adjust the flame.
It was official...I was now a pyromaniac.

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