the hole in the wall

I love our new wood-burning fireplace. It is infinitely better than the ventless gas fireplace it replaced, and we’ve had a fire going just about constantly since it was installed last Thursday. Currently it’s gray and drizzly outside, but in the living room, the flames flicker and sparks crackle.

Getting to this point was a little surreal. Imagine a dentist is drilling inside your mouth: The sound and the vibration feel as though they’re taking over your body and soul, right? Well, that’s how the whole house felt when the Fireplace Guys began using whatever large, powerful tools pulled back the siding of my house so they could remove the old box. The incredibly loud grinding went on interminably. A while after it stopped, I ventured into the living room and was greeted by the extremely strange sight of a hole in my house.

Here, you can see the old fireplace out on the deck:

The Fireplace Guys were working inside and outside the house, ably assisted by my two very confused but fascinated dogs. As I watched, the dogs peered through the hole, clearly thinking, “What the hell is this?” They took turns walking in and out through the opening, just because they could.

Then, in came the new box. After a certainly amount of adjusting, grunting, swearing, and mortaring, the Fireplace Guys got it firmly anchored in place.

More work ensued. They put in lots of new chimney pipe and a chimney cap, tested the fireplace draft, and replaced the siding. Then they cleaned up very thoroughly, during which time my golden retriever tried to get in their van to go home with them, and, rebuffed, settled for eating the onion rings they had left over from lunch. (One of the Fireplace Guys warned me that “your tan dog may have onion breath.”)

They were friendly and efficient, and the fireplace is everything I hoped for. At the end of the day, I started our first fire.

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