And today’s outdoor adventure was…cleaning the chimney. Which involved getting up on the roof once again. You dedicated long-term readers may remember last January when I overcame my fear of heights and went atop our roof while Barry shoveled the deep snow.
Once each year we (um, I mean he) cleans the chimney. You have to do that when you burn wood. Creosote builds up in the chimney and you need to lower a stiff bristly wire brush down and scrape off the excess flammable tar. If you don’t…well, your house may just burn down.
He strongly suggested I join him on the roof for today’s blog. Errr…. I mean, don’t you think ONCE was enough? Hadn’t I “overcome” the fear already? Why do it again?
But I’m a sucker for a dare, so up we went. He ventured up first with all his chimney-cleaning tools. I wavered on the tall ladder, legs shaking, trying to overcome this fear of heights with mind-over-matter. You know how you keep repeating to yourself, “Don’t worry. You won’t fall. You’ve done this before. Keep moving.”
I froze near the top of the ladder but he reached down and grabbed my hand to help me up and we carefully navigated across the roof. I straddled the top with one leg on each side while he did the real work of cleaning in the chimney.
My job was to cheer the chimney-cleaner on. To peer across the landscape. To listen to the birds chattering and flying around below us. To breath deeply sitting atop the roof shingles. To not panic.
My other job was to take pictures. To document the exciting event. It looks like it’s a challenging job. The stomach muscles are especially engaged as one pulls the brush back up the chimney. I would not want to do it. Barry said it’s one of his least-favorite jobs.
After the exciting chimney-scrub, Barry took my hand and led me back toward the ladder. And down we went! And I survived the climb down. But the job was not yet finished. First, we ventured into the basement to clean out the bottom of the chimney. Then, we (um, I mean he) took apart the pipe which leads to the woodstove and brought it outside to clean with a tootbrush.
I am not kidding about the toothbrush. Except it’s a giant toothbrush we (he) made several years ago to help with the job. You scrub the pipe with this brush and attempt to get the innards spic and span.
So now the job’s done for another year. And–hopefully?–I don’t have to go back on the roof again this year!!
P.S. Our daughter is going to trapeze school tomorrow in New York City with several of her co-workers. I don’t suppose she would have any trouble going up on the roof… (I am trying not to think of her swinging up there in the air…but at least there’s halters and nets in case anyone falls…)