Tomorrow a guy from the wonderfully named company Grate Balls Afire is coming to give us an estimate on replacing our worthless, awful, smelly, entirely unsatisfactory ventless gas fireplace with a gen-oo-ine wood-burning model.
I grew up with a dad who pretty much always had a fire burning. All winter, a fire blazed in the fireplace. All summer (or any time it was warm enough for him to sit outside), he had a fire going in the outdoor stone-lined pit that he built himself. (When my parents put in a deck, it had to be designed around the fire pit.) As a result, it’s in my genes to want to build fires, poke at fires with sticks, and pile wood artistically to make the best flames.
Now, on winter evenings, when I’m sitting in the living room, I long for the warmth and crackle of a real fire. We thought the gas fire would suffice when we built the house, but instead it has failed in every way.
Unfortunately, the gas fireplace is an odd (small) size, so replacing it will probably entail tearing down the bricks of the surrounding walls and mantel and/or cutting a whole in the siding of the house. But it’s OK. After 10 years, it’s time for the real thing.