mixture of nervous and curious
Monday, February 19 2007
Penny and David came over this evening with Chinese food they'd bought in Kingston, which we ate with red wine and a pastry Gretchen had baked. The pastry resembled a gourmet pop-tart, if such a thing can be said to exist.
I gave Penny and David three pieces of bone-dry White Pine to try out when starting the next fire in their woodstove. They're cautious people who worry a bit too much and want to do things by the book for fear of things turning out badly. They recently replaced their two year old car with a brand new one and they've hired a company called Safeco to monitor the temperature inside their Upstate house during the week when they're down in the City. Their cautiousness explains why they've been hesitant to take advantage of any of the downed wood around their house, which (like ours) sits on the edge of a forest. The only thing they want less than their pipes freezing is a chimney fire.
On my birthday I'd talked to my father on the telephone and he told me that he'd recently experienced a chimney fire in the old Majestic wood-fired range. The fire was restricted, my father said, to the horizontal part of the exhaust pipe, the place where creosote is most likely to accumulate. Up here in Upstate New York, neither our woodstove nor the woodstove belonging to Penny and David has a horizontal pipe; both vent vertically through a pipe that pierces the ceiling. Nonetheless, David said that the last time a chimney sweep cleaned out the pipe he found "a lot of shit in there." As for me and Gretchen, we've never once cleaned our woodstove's pipes in the four years we've used the stove. We run it hot and hope for the best. But I'm gradually growing a mixture of nervous and curious and intend to open the pipe from the bottom for an inspection some warm day in the near future.
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