Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Wanted: One big bad wolf September 16, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:31 AM
We removed a piece of sheetrock to access the chimney in an upstairs bedroom. One project leads to another as we'll need to patch the floor replace the wall and repaint the room

We removed a piece of sheetrock to access the chimney in an upstairs bedroom. One project leads to another as we'll need to fix the floor and wall and repaint the room.

He huffed and he puffed, and he blew the house in.

Remember that very scary part of The Three Little Pigs story?

The wolf blew down the houses made of straw and of sticks. But he could not destroy the sturdy brick house.

That’s too bad because, if he could, I would hire the strong-winded wolf right now, today.

Not to blow down a brick house, but to demolish a brick chimney.

On Saturday we started one of those house projects which, now, in hindsight, seems perhaps a bit foolish. For years we have talked about removing the old brick chimney that runs through the attic, an upstairs bedroom, through the kitchen and down to the basement floor.

The portion that stuck above the roof was removed during a previous reshingling project. It was then that the thought of totally dismantling the useless chimney first surfaced.

Now talk has become reality as we embark on the purchase of a new heating and cooling system. Plans are to run additional ducts through the former chimney area to the upstairs bedrooms. So much for my idea to add closet space there. The duct plan makes sense, in theory.

But theory is not tearing down walls to access the chimney. Theory is not slamming a hammer or wedging a pry bar between cemented bricks that have been in place since 1940. Theory is not carrying five-gallon buckets of bricks down the stairs, through the house and outside to two piles on the driveway. Theory is not a sore hip and a sore back and sore leg muscles and sore arms.

What were we thinking?

About five hours into the project and half way done, I am questioning the sensibility of this idea.

But then I remember the furnace guy’s response when I called to schedule a home visit. He’s been here before, tuning our 1960s vintage furnace. At first he didn’t remember me. But when I gave him our address, he said, “Oh, you have that old furnace.”

Yup, that would be us.

And then, after inspecting the aging furnace again and suggesting more ducts, he asked, “Do you have a carbon monoxide detector?”

Yup, we do.

Do you have a wolf for hire?

Two brick piles, one for fill, the other to recycle, are accumulating on our driveway. Anyone want brick?

Two brick piles, one for fill, the other to recycle, are accumulating on our driveway. Anyone want bricks?

My son and I aren't brick layers, but we're trying to keep some order as we stack bricks on the driveway.

My son and I aren't brick layers, but we're trying to keep some order as we stack bricks on the driveway.

© Copyright 2009 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

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