December 3rd, 2008

Carry That Weight

Song Info (from Beatlesongs):”Carry That Weight” is on the Abbey Road album and was 100% written by McCartney to show the difficulties he had trying to hold the group together during 1969, a very tough year.

We’re a funny lot, humans. Despite having plenty of things on a day-to-day basis that worry us or cause us concern, we take other things on specifically, knowing they will weigh heavily on us. We do it for various reasons, some good, some bad. I have friends who seem to thrive under pressure, who are at their best when their plates are full. That is not me. Not by a long shot. I’m a procrastinator and a task-specific-perfectionist (meaning: not in everything, but certainly in some), so I end up doing a lot of things at the last minute. While some of those things turn out okay, many do not. Suffice it to say, I don’t tend to take a whole lot of extra things on.

So why oh why did I buy a house?

I’ve mentioned before that I am clearly the wrong sort of person to be in charge of a house. I am not a handyman even slightly – the only things I can assemble correctly are LEGO kits that have very clear instructions – and I live in a semi-constant fear that something is going to break. Still, I get the impression some of you out there are all “Oh, pfft! You’ll be fine!” It is for those folk I would like to offer two proofs that, no, I am not, and that it would clearly be in the house’s best interests if I were taken away from it.

Proof 1:

Two weeks ago I got home from work and crashed on the couch for a while, doing my best to ignore the “We’re so hungry!” meows from the cats until it was closer to their actual feeding time. Finally I could take it no more, and fed them. They were out of water, so I went to fill up their dish… um, why is no water coming out? Bathroom faucet: same deal. Hmm. Call the water people: “Yep, we turned it off this afternoon for lack of payment.” D’oh. “What can I do?” “Well, I can meet you downtown and see you deposit a cashier’s check for the bill and then I can turn your water back on.”


I haven’t had to pay a water bill in I don’t know how many years. Five or more, I’d guess. And I’ve been moving to paying my bills online and hadn’t gotten the water bill set up that way yet, so I somehow overlooked the bill… twice. Yeah, apparently I missed two bills. I think this qualifies as Proof #1 that I shouldn’t have a house.

Proof 2:

While Melissa was visiting last week, we thought it might be fun to play a game of Scrabble in front of the fireplace in the basement. I got some of those easy-to-light firelogs from Walmart (because me with a chainsaw getting my own wood sounds like a surefire recipe for dismemberment), and the inspector had said the chimney looked good, so we were all set. I followed the directions on the firelog and pretty soon we had a nicely blazing fire going.

We’d only played a few turns of Scrabble when we realized the basement was kind of smoky. Hmm. And, hey, look at that – pretty much all the smoke in the world is coming out of the front of the fireplace. And, yep, sure enough, a quick check upstairs revealed there was plenty up there, too.

So now what? These firelogs say they’re good for four hours. Clearly we cannot have four hours’ worth of smoke in the house. She hit upon the idea of throwing wet towels on the firelog, so I got my rattiest towels and soaked them down and we threw them on the firelog. Success! Of course, now we not only have the smell of smoke throughout the house, we also have the smell of steamed towel, which is not pleasant. But no more smoke is being produced, so at least some win came out of this houseful of fail.

Further examination of the fireplace revealed what 99% of you already figured out: the flue wasn’t opened. Sure, I’d heard of flues and knew they needed to be opened, but I hadn’t seen one before and didn’t know what to look for, so I thought maybe I didn’t have one.

I have more firelogs (aside from the half-burnt one), so I’ll have to try the fireplace again some time, but I think I’ll wait until after I’ve read “Fireplaces for Dummies.” If there is no “Fireplaces for Dummies” book, I will wait until it’s written and then try again.

But there you have it, proofs I’m in over my head. I’ve signed on for 30 years of this house-buying business. If I’m not the death of it, I’m sure the house will do its best to rid itself of me long before that. You can’t blame it, really. It’s only acting out of a sense of self-preservation.

5 Comments on “Carry That Weight”

  1. The Bon says:

    Both of those things are easy mistakes! You're too hard on yourself. I only know about opening the flue because my dad's house [where I grew up] is heated exclusively with wood.

  2. Jeremiah says:

    Ha! I love it Z! You are hilarious.

    Though I have to admit, I didn't know about the flute thing as well. But my story happened on Christmas day at my parents. I was in college and home for the holidays…got up early and tried to start a fire…well needless to say, I you can imagine what came next…and smoke started coming out just like your scenario! My parents quickly woke up wondering why the house smelled like smoke! Then we had the fun of opening gifts with the house smelling like smoke…cause it was too cold to open up the windows! Oh, the memories!

  3. Jeremiah says:

    Also, I see the fireplace as a project at one of our men's bible studies! I am sure with enough guys we could get it working, especially if Pete is there!

  4. the obscure says:

    Dude. This is exactly what happens to all houseowners. Not these specific things, but things like them. We learn as we go.

    BTW, now that you have a fireplace, don't get any ideas of trying to play Santa Clause for the nephew(s) and niece(s) as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and the day after Christmas is too long to spend trapped in the chimney, barely able to breathe and surviving soley on snowmelt and smoked bat droppings.

    That's what I hear anyway.

  5. ZiggyTQuirk says:

    See, I only know about open fire places and their cranky workings because I've been wood heated my entire life. Give me a central heating system and I'm lost. You'll learn, Mupalup.

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