Tag Archive | handyman

Chimney Sweeping

“It’s good we got this done for you today, so you don’t end up with flames shooting out your chimney.”

I’m grateful that Mr. Wilson, handyman extraordinaire, invested in chimney sweeping equipment, and knows how to use it. He was meticulous, not a speck of ash or dust in the house when he left, and the firebox cleaner than it’s been in years. This is the third winter since the last time it was cleaned, and it was actually fun to watch from the loft as he sent his brushes up the chimney attached to a power drill. The whole firebox was full of gunk behind the plastic barrier before he finished.

Chimney sweeps have been problematic for me in recent years. One is so belligerent that it’s traumatic to have him come, and the next one was unreliable and his quality disappointing after the first year. So the past two years I let it slide, never anticipating the complications that would ensue this winter. So I let it slide again, until Wilson got his gear. Just in the nick of time!

He even scraped the reburn tubes so they’re working again, giving me a hotter fire for less wood. Today was the first chimney sweeping in over a decade that wasn’t fraught with dread or frustration!

We are so lucky that this wonderful young family man moved to the neighborhood, with his sincere desire to help people and do a great job at whatever he undertakes: he embodies the value of service. He has experience doing so many different types of things, and is eager to learn what he doesn’t yet know. He takes Covid seriously, and cheerfully wears his mask and gloves and keeps a respectful distance. He focuses intently on whatever project he’s working on, and brings critical thinking to making his work more efficient. He is a godsend: I no longer feel anxious about any aspect of maintaining the nuts and bolts of my house, knowing I can call on him for anything: if he doesn’t know how he’ll figure it out. I’m so grateful for him!

The sound of a good draft!


Morning has broken…
Today I’m grateful for ice, and all that ice implies.

Grateful for ice, I am grateful for all that ice implies. First, for this kind of ice at least, water, clean tap water, and all that that implies: a reliable water source of snow-capped mountains, a delivery infrastructure, a water treatment plant, more delivery infrastructure, staff to build and maintain all the physical means of delivery and storage, a cistern, the people who dug the trench a quarter mile from the road and buried the pipe, dug the hole and buried the cistern, the plumber who plumbed the house and the several plumbers since who’ve maintained the household water system — deep breath — a freezer in which to make the ice, what a luxury that is, what a luxury all this is, to have clean water delivered to my kitchen sink, to have a kitchen safe and warm, with a refrigerator and freezer.

I’m grateful to be able to reach into the ice bin when I touch the hot skillet and hold an ice cube as it melts until the burn subsides. I’m grateful for ice trays, and how they’ve morphed through the years from those old aluminum trays with the handle that squeaked when you had to pull it up to break the cubes free of the metal grid. Grateful for the twisty plastic kind, and now the fun silicone molds that let you make whatever shape ice you could possibly want, cubes and spheres and sticks of ice.

Grateful for the spherical ice mold Amy sent, even though the frozen globes won’t fit my favorite new drinking glass!
Grateful I have more than one favorite drinking glass!

I’m also grateful for Ol’ Wilson, a new handyman in the neighborhood, who built a contraption to prevent my shower drain from icing shut this winter, and helps shovel snow, who cuts dead trees and stacks firewood, who built a shed for the generator after it’s spent 25 years under a tiny ‘temporary’ roof on a deteriorating rickety stand, and a lean-to in the food garden for hoses and tools. Wilson is cheerful and resourceful with an engineering mind, and grateful for the work, and grateful to live here; he arrives calling out “Another day in Paradise!” and he is absolutely right about that.

Using stuff that was around, Wilson insulated the shower drain outlets at the base of the birch tree, because sometimes ice isn’t what you want.
The generator shed before it was quite finished last month.