• cathyhendrix

More Adventures in Cathyland


My silly Sunday night: I was watching TV with the dogs when, suddenly, I heard a weird sound: it was the fireplace fan (only the fan) which had turned itself on. I got up, pressed the button on the remote and the fan stopped. I got back to the couch, snuggled in with the dogs and, all of a sudden, the fireplace fire came on. I got the remote control, saw the screen was blank so I replaced the battery. Screen still dead, fire still on. I called the fireplace people but they have no weekend emergency number. I called TA Kaiser who did the heating and air con work on these houses but they don’t “do” fireplaces and had no suggestions to offer.

This fireplace has a failsafe which is that if one leaves the fireplace on, it will turn off after 9 hours. I really didn’t want to wait for that to happen so I was googling for troubleshooting ideas when the fire went out. Yay. But wait.

Sure the fire was out but there was a ticking sound at evenly spaced intervals. That didn’t sound like something I could ignore and go to bed.

So I called Hiller, my go-to heating and air folks. They don’t “do” fireplaces either but the guy was very helpful. He told me there was a way to turn the gas off to just the fireplace but I would need “the key” - it’s like an old time skeleton key but with a square head. I could see where it should go but no sign of a key. He said if I called the fire department, they could come out and turn it off, they should have a key. Boy I really didn’t want to do that. But with bedtime approaching and my nerves fraying, I called 862-8600, our non-emergency line. The dispatcher said someone would be out shortly. I made sure she understood that, since it was not an emergency, lights and sirens would not be necessary.

Three of Nashville’s heroes rolled up in the big truck (but no flashing lights or sirens, thank you), came in and had a look at things. They all agreed that the gas should be turned off at the fireplace but they didn’t have a key. I remarked that it was weird that I don’t have one since I have every user’s manual and warranty having to do with this house, all put away in my filing cabinet. One of the guys gave a laugh - I thought because of my over-organizing - but no, it was something else. He reached up to my mantle (which is about 5 1/2 feet high) and came back with, you guessed it: THE KEY.

I’ve lived in this house 2 1/2 years and never knew that key was there. The mantle is way over my head, and I’m not the one who put the TV up there. And, you caught me... apparently I’ve never dusted the mantle.

(He turned off the gas but that didn’t stop the ticking. He really got in to the electronics and unplugged some things and that stopped the ticking.)

If I was embarrassed having to call the fire department (and I was), just imagine how mortified I was to discover the key was there all along. But hey, at least I can get a good night’s sleep.

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