Well, it is done!!! The contractors have finished sticking their hands into my pocket, Jane is happy; and I am exhausted!!!!!!! But, the fireplace is complete, the pergola stands tall, and the patio is complete! And, just in case you wondered, we have had 5 fires despite the temperatures hanging in the upper 70’s!
Which brings me to the story about the steel fireplace grate that is supposed to hold wood above the gas starter and give you a wonderful, smoldering fire. Jane, as she usually does, shopped extensively (and spent a fairly substantial amount of money) for the “perfect” grate to put in the fireplace! Full of anticipation, we put grate in place, loaded up the wood, lit the gas, and stood back waiting to enjoy the christening of the “first fire!” As the flames licked around the hardwood pile, a peculiar thing occurred….the fireplace made a whistling sound and the flames did not ignite the wood. Horrors!!! To complicate matters further, it was a windy day and the smoke from the partially ignited wood, belched out of the fireplace engulfing us in a grey, choking haze! (Useless tip #1 – Don’t build an outdoor fire on a windy day!) Jane and I “puzzled” about the situation until my “puzzler” was broken! (Doctor Seuss fans will understand!) Finally we decided that the legs of the grate were too long and needed to have a couple of inches cut off. So, watch out, Ace Hardware, here I come! (See an earlier post, “It’s never one trip to the hardware store” Sept. 27, 2010) In due time (which seemed like an eternity to Jane), I picked up the altered grate and we started another fire with full confidence that this fire would be perfect! Well, guess what…the problem was improved, but not fixed!!! Crap…..what to do! So, Jane suggested that we build the fires on the base of the fireplace and forget the grate altogether! (Useless tip #2 – Don’t buy an expensive grate!) Problem solved; and the fires are “perfect” as Jane likes all things to be! (Why she married me, I will never know…perhaps, I caught her in a weak moment!)
P.S. If you find yourself in need of a home improvement, concrete, or landscape contractor, let me know!