One of the selling features of our condo was the fact that it had a fireplace, a REAL fireplace. There wasn’t a switch to turn on flames amidst charred-looking fake logs, no, this was an old fashioned fireplace. Thursday night, being the night before Howie’s birthday, a particularly chilly November evening, seemed like the opportune time to start a romantic fire to heat things up (no pun intended).
Cheryl: Howie don’t you want to help me make this fire?
Howie: Babe you know I don’t know how to do that. You’re the one who went camping as a kid.
Cheryl: Yah but don’t you think you should learn? I mean, when we have kids and they need to learn how to make fire who’s going to teach them?
Howie: I don’t think our kids will need to make fires that often. We have a stove.
Cheryl: I realize that but when we go camping and they need to learn how to build a fire that’s the dad thing to teach them!
Howie: I thought we didn’t have gender roles in our relationship. Hmmm?
(He had me there).
So I grabbed some cardboard, bits of wood and a few logs and built a pretty good fire within a few minutes (not to brag). Just as the room temperature was starting to feel comfortable we noticed it was getting harder to breath.
Cheryl: Why is it getting so smokey in here? I opened the fireplace’s flue!
Howie: What? Flue?
Cheryl: It’s the thingy that opens to let the smoke out!
Howie: Let me take a look
Cheryl: Don’t touch it! The whole thing is heating up. Here, use this towel on your hands!
Howie: Hmmm… The handle is in the ‘open’ spot, it should be going up.
Cheryl: It’s getting bad in here! Look at my eyes!
Howie: Geez! (Cough cough) look at all the smoke! It’s everywhere!
Cheryl: I’ll open the sliding doors, you open the windows!
(Monica starts to whimper)
Cheryl: Oh no! I think the smoke is getting really bad for Monica.
Monica: I can’t breathe!
Cheryl: Howie can you take her outside?! I’ll put out the fire and get the smoke out of here.
Howie: Are you going to be ok?
Cheryl: Yah I’ll be fine!
I opened the sliding door all the way (which totally defeated the goal of making the condo warmer) and started waving a giant towel to get as much of the smoke out. I have to tell you, it was bad. I was a tad bit scared for a minute. The condo looked completely opaque for a while but slowly, gradually, it started to thin out and breathing became less of a chore.
A few moments before Howie came back I had just finished putting the last splash of water on the fire and stood up. What a bad decision it was to put a giant mirror over the fireplace, I was not looking pretty. Mascara running down my face, bloodshot eyes, soot in my face and my hair looking like a squirrel’s nest. Next to my Catherine Humphrey costume, I don’t think I’ve ever looked less attractive.
This was so NOT how I pictured our romantic evening by a fire.
On the plus side, neither of us felt like cooking after that so we ordered Chinese.
Happy birthday Howie!