Pat’s Bits & Pieces– A little ‘smoky’ excitement

January 11, 2013

by Pat Maurer, Review Correspondent



Usually January is a mostly quiet uneventful month. It is too cold (by my standards) to spend time outside, it gets light late and dark early and my favorite place is next to the fireplace in the office.

Not so today.

My home office has become a “mobile” office this week as I have confiscated the laptop and moved into a warmer section of the house temporarily.

My little fireplace is “out” and the furnace is now getting a workout.

Moving up into the living room is also helping to reduce the smell of “smoke” that is lingering in every room but still most “pungent” in my office.

Our wood pellet stove, usually a cozy addition to that room, had more than a slight glitch today, with pellets in the bottom of the hopper igniting causing a smoldering smoky mess. Luckily I was at home and any major damage was averted but it was pretty exciting around here for a while.

Jack had stopped the auger, which drops fuel – little wood pellets – into the firebox, to allow the stove to go out and cool off for a regular cleaning. Then he left for coffee and a little shopping. Meantime, evidently the “gremlin” that lives in there decided he didn’t want the heat off after all.

I was working on the computer and kept smelling smoke, and although I got up to look around a couple of times, l couldn’t see anything going on.

After Jack returned we discovered smoke coming from the back of the stove. We spent nearly two hours looking for the leak. The stove was shut off! We finally opened and started emptying the hopper on the stove, which was full of fuel. Down in the bottom, above the chute with the auger which drops the pellets into the firepot, we had little chunks of what looked like coal, some even “glowing.” They are now decorating the snow in the back yard.

So for most of the day, we have had windows and doors slightly open and exhaust fans running in various rooms. And still that “ordure of burning wood” lingers on and on…

It seems like there is always something interesting going on around the Maurer place.

I really do believe in gremlins you know. I think they lurk in dark places just waiting for a chance to “play a prank on us.” Things around here go missing. Jack always uses his buddy Kenny’s explanation, “It went to Chicago!” I think those gremlins hide things. Why else would you find things, sometimes years later in the strangest places. I once found a little portable TV I had never seen before. When I looked for it again a month or so later – it was gone!

Another for instance: Last weekend one of the blades for our Ninja food processor just disappeared. We looked in every cupboard, the dishwasher, even in the fridge. No luck. I figured we would have to try and find another one or buy a replacement. Four days later when Jack was using the step stool to install some tile near the ceiling, he discovered the blade on top of a set of shelves next to a wine rack. No idea how it got there…

Last fall the power cord for the exercise bike disappeared. That has never turned up, although again we looked everywhere. We ordered a new one…

I’m positive gremlins are to blame.

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