Tuesday, February 19, 2008


All That's Missing Are The Mirrors

Sunday was supposed to be a rather brutal ice storm in this area, so we played it smart and visited the kids in Hooterville on Saturday so we wouldn't be on the roads in those conditions. We had a fun time, even though my little girl Brynn was having the typical 10-days-after-the-vaccination flu-like symptoms. She was very sucky and just wanted to be held and rest on daddy's chest. I couldn't have been more willing to oblige her. I just love to hold her and rub her back, and it's the most amazing thing to have her feel so comfortable in my arms that she falls asleep against my chest. Love it, love it, love it.

As the kids were being hauled up to bed, The Squeeze and I headed over to my folks' place for a quick visit. They informed us that my mother had taken a fall in the bathtub the previous week and was still quite sore. She's had a few episodes where she just blacks out and falls. Not sure what's going on there. She passed out in the tub, hitting her head, left hip and leg. Her left foot is still looking pretty nasty. My mother didn't want to go to the doctor right away, but my father finally got her to agree to go a day or two after the fact. It's weird when the youngest child begins parenting the parents. "If you fall again, especially if you hit your head, get checked out right away!" I had to put a bit of fear into them by letting them know that my friend's mother fell and hit her head and wound up in a coma, and sadly died. "Don't mess around with that stuff." I also suggested that maybe it's time to move into a bungalow so there's no chance of falling down stairs. Her knees are also bothering her a lot, so the stairs aren't doing her any good. Years ago I mentioned that they should move out of their big house, and the answer I got? "We're too old to move." What does that even mean? My mother finally has her appointment with the gerontologist on Friday. I told my father to be sure he tells the doctor about the fainting too. But he said he's only seeing her about the memory stuff. Humour me. Tell him about the fainting. Maybe these things have some ties.

Sunday we kept an eye out for the storm, but it didn't seem too bad. We decided to go spend a bit of time at an art exhibit not far from our house, grabbed some lunch and did our grocery shopping. I started to prepare our dinner and our lunches for the week, and after we ate The Squeeze cleaned up and put the pots in the sink to soak. We retired to the basement to watch some tv. I was relaxing on the sofa, knitting away at the blanket that I'm making for Brynn when I had a thought.

"It's still early, what do you say I put some wood in the fireplace?"
"Sure," said The Squeeze.

I crumpled up some newspaper and put on some kindling and opened the damper. There was quite a downdraft coming down the chimney. I lit a rolled up piece of newspaper and tried to get an updraft going. A bit of smoke was coming into the room so The Squeeze opened the window a crack. It seemed that the draft turned and the smoke began going up the chimney so I lit the newspaper beneath the kindling, figuring we were well on our way to a nice relaxing fire. I closed the glass doors and opened the vents on the bottom to allow air to help pull the smoke up the chimney. Within seconds black smoke began pouring into the room from around the doors. Something wasn't right. The smoke was not going up the chimney. In a matter of seconds the room filled with smoke. I was panicking. The Squeeze ran upstairs and I'm yelling "Get the extinguisher! Get the extinguisher!!!" He disabled the smoke alarms so that wouldn't add to our grief, and rather than bringing the extinguisher, he brought down the huge pot that had been soaking in the sink. He brought it to the fireplace and scooped water out with his hands.

"Shit! That water is hot!"
"I don't care!" I yelled as I jumped in and started scooping water onto the burning paper and kindling.

While I was downstairs dousing the flames, The Squeeze went upstairs and opened the garage doors to clear the smoke. When the fire was out, I went to the top floor and opened windows and turned on the exhaust fan and brought down a portable fan to place in the basement window to suck out the smoke.

It was amazing how quickly the smoke filled the room. It was also amazing how slowly the smoke cleared. Our throats were sore from breathing it in for the brief moments we had. The Squeeze stayed on the main floor for a while, but thinking that the fire may start up again, I hovered in the basement so I could keep an eye on it. Eventually, the smoke cleared and we were able to unwind from this bit of unplanned excitement. Unfortunately, we have a very smoky smelling house, and this just isn't the kind of weather you want to keep your windows open in. I can smell it every time I resume working on the blanket. I'll be sure that goes into the wash before I give it to her.

I'm doing some reading on using a fireplace. I'm not quite sure what happened. The chimney's not blocked. We had it swept last year and it's capped. There was a good amount of cold air blowing down. I guess I just didn't have the updraft I thought I had. Not sure why it didn't work this time when I never had a problem before. While I'm researching, I'm going to look into a gas fireplace insert. Now what to do with the cord of wood in our garage...

What kind of yarn are you using for the blanket? Color? Details! The knitters want details!

I know absolutely nothing about chimneys, so I'm no help whatsoever.
oops...sorry about that.
It's Red Heart Baby Clouds Sugar Multi super bulky 6 (whatever that means)...pink with a bit of white and soft purple in the mix. Doing it on round needles, #15 (10mm), 100 stitches wide which makes it about 50" wide or so. It's turning into quite the blanket. Not exactly sure when to stop. I've just started my seventh 4.5 oz. ball of yarn. Let me know if you have some tips.
It sounds like the flue was closed. You do know you need to open the flue to use the fireplace, right?

Your mom doesn't drive, does she? For the love of god, tell me she's not driving.
No, the flue/damper was wide open. We've had many fires before, but something just went horribly wrong this time.
And nope, my mother is strictly a passenger. My sister-in-law tried teaching her to drive about 30 years ago, but she never went for her license. I so can NOT picture her behind the wheel.
Dave - I'm a firm believer in big blankets. I'd made it at least as long as it is wide. You might check out of Pound of Love for your next baby blanket. Washes up super soft (gets softer with each washing) and wears like iron and one is more than enough for a baby blanket. When are you going to post a picture?
I just did some searching for that yarn and apparently it's not available in Canada. What up with that?
I'll be sure to post a pic when I'm done. I'm just about to start ball #9. I'm telling myself that will be the last ball. We'll see.
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