Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Many years ago, in a city far, far away...we boarded Baxter in a kennel while taking a trip. It was a nice place and we'd heard good things about it. It was winter, so the owners heated the kennel with a wood-burning stove. Retrieving Baxter upon our return, we noticed a strong "smokey" odor eminating from his fur. We forever refer to that odor as "Beagle Jerky."

Now I know exactly how Baxter felt after that experience.

Mrs. DocLarry loves fire. She often has candles burning and adores the stone fireplace in our house. Truth be told, the fireplace was a big selling point for us. Our last home had a fireplace insert, more useful for heating (with the included blower) than for fire enjoyment. So we've been looking forward to cold weather so as to enjoy the crackling of wood, the flicking of flames, and the smell of burning wood.

New Year's Eve found us at home ready to watch the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie on DVD, basking in the glow of a nice fire. Mrs. DocLarry built a wonderful fire and I loaded the DVD player. While sitting through interminable previews and ads (you can't scan past them) we finally settled in for a heaping-helping of Captain Jack Sparrow, Will Turner, and Elizabeth Swann.

A few minutes into the movie I smelled smoke. Mrs. DocLarry informed me that the fire was putting out a bit more smoke than usual but it would soon be all better. After a few more minutes of jaunty adventure and derring-do, I could not help noticing the room filling with smoke.

Pause the DVD, and check the flue! Unfortunately, one must reach into our fireplace in order to open or close the flue. This is a bit tricky with a roaring fire as we discovered. Mrs. DocLarry used a poker to work the flue and discovered that it indeed was not entirely open. Efforts to open said flue proved ineffective. Meanwhile, smoke continued to fill the room.

We opened the patio door and windows and turned on the ceiling fan. This helped, but did not solve the problem. The fire must die!

When the flames were mostly out and mostly embers remained, Mrs. DocLarry was able to open the flue. An hour later the smoke was gone.

Unfortunately, the odor remains. Baxter, Mrs. DocLarry and I all smell like jerky. Still. Two days later. I've hidden the matches.