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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

You Call That a Fire? Now That’s a Fire!

I started my first-ever fire last night.

Okay, so that’s not entirely true. But I did start my first-ever intentional fire last night. Or at least the first that I’ve started all by my widdle self, without close adult supervision. Truth be told, there was loose adult supervision — my wife was milling around, looking for extinguishers and fire blankets and burn unit emergency numbers. Oh she of little faith, and little fire insurance. Bah.

Anyway, last night we christened the fireplace.

(Well, again, that really depends on your definition of ‘christen’, doesn’t it? We started our first fire in the fireplace last night, but not everyone would count that as a ‘christening‘. Some people would say we christened it when we bought the house. Others would consider the fireplace ‘broken in’ the first weekend we spent in the house, when I peed on it to mark my territory. Still others wouldn’t consider it ‘christened’ until my wife and I have gotten busy on the hearth — otherwise known as a ‘diddle by the chimney’.

Personally, I say we properly introduced ourselves to the fireplace last night, when we burned our first logs and produced our first batch of soot. But trust me — I’m still gonna angle for some ‘hot ‘n’ heavies’ on the hearth. Those fireplace gloves and bellows sitting over there just scream kinky. Rawr!)

In any case, the fire last night was really nice, and actually pretty easy. The previous owners left us some wood to work with, and my wife picked up some fireplace tools and starter logs yesterday afternoon. All I had to do was toss on a couple of logs (well, limbs, really — the fireplace is pretty damned small), light the starter, and sit back to watch the conflagration.

(Hell, lighting my damned propane grill should be so easy — out there, I’m always afraid I’m gonna blow the damned thing up, or singe my eyebrows, or catch my shirt on fire and melt it to my nipples. Yes, these are the sort of things I sit around and worry about — grill explosions and melted nipples. Is it any wonder I don’t sleep at night?)

The only inconvenient thing about this fireplace is the width. The opening is only about twelve or fourteen inches across, and much of the wood the last people left is longer than that. Some of it, I can fit in diagonally, or shwoop up the flue like some kind of fireplace-sized anal thermometer or something.

(How’s that for a disturbing image? Yeah, folks, if I’m goin’ down that nasty kind of road, I’m taking all of you with me. That’s how it works, people.)

So now, we’ve got to go out and buy some sort of power tool or other — a ‘saw’, I think it’s called — to cut some of that wood down to size. Either that, or we have to get a big-ass tall ladder, so I can get up on the roof, and drop that shit down the chimney to burn it. Either way, it’s clear that we’re once again woefully short on equipment, not to mention experience or basic homeowners’ knowhow. Maybe now you can see why I think my nipples are in jeopardy — at any given time, I could easily find a way to injure them, or flambe them, or accidentally lop them off.

Awright, that’s what — two, maybe three, mentions of my nipples? That’s probably a sign that it’s just about time to wrap this train wreck up. Maybe I’ll go figure out what the hell to do with all the ashes from last night’s fire. What’s that shit good for, anyway? Don’t people make soap or something out of ashes? Can I sell it a smudge at a time for Ash Wednesday? I dunno. I’m still new at this whole fire thing. All I’m sure of is that those ashes might still be hot, so I’m gonna be sure to have my gloves on when I go to clean them up. Oh, and my fire-retardant asbestos-lined pasties, too — you can never be too careful when there’s nipples involved. Safety first, folks!

Permalink  |  5 Comments

5 Responses to “You Call That a Fire? Now That’s a Fire!”

  1. Lisa says:

    We, too, just bought a home with a fireplace. I’m surprised you’ve only just finally used yours. It’s far colder up where you are and we’ve been using our since shortly before Christmas!! Anyway, having also never built a fire before,you need to first remove any larger bits or charred wood that may be left over. After that, you can actually use the hose attachment on your vaccuum (why does that word always look wrong no matter how I spell it?) to remove the remaining ashes -it actually works wonderfully well. Enjoy the fire. I’m curious, how did Susie react to the fire? Sure wish we lived closer so I could come out for your next comedy night.

    Stay warm.


  2. Lisa says:

    Just realized I should probably take more time proofreading before hitting okay. I meant in my earlier post to complete the thought that having also never built a fire before, I looked up fireplace maintenance on the ‘net and learned how to clean things up.

  3. tj says:

    i typically put the leftover ashes in a paper bag and throw it out back in the woods.

    also, have you tried cutting the logs into slices? then you can just toss another slice on the fire. sure its a lot of work for little to no reward … but i don’t think you’re a stranger to that. (at least that’s what your wife tells me – ba-dum-dum)

  4. P says:

    “fireplace-sized anal thermometer” — i think i just snorted orange juice out of my nose. not a pretty sight, and painful too!

    tj’s right, put the ashes in a paper bag and toss ’em out. a garbage can, the woods, off of a tall building — all are good places to start. or you could save them to boost the ‘kink factor’ for when you’re gettin busy by the hearth… nudge nudge wink wink.

  5. Jaded Angel says:

    Gah, now Im going to have nightmares about fireplace sized anal thermometers.

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