It’s a Compulsion. It Really, Really Is.

I’m on Day 3 of being without Facebook and it’s amazing how often I’ve gone to open up the app on my phone, and how natural-feeling it is to want to be on Facebook. Very weird and disconcerting.

For example, I’ve been working on covering up our gas fireplace. I hate fireplaces and wish we didn’t have one at all (although I DO like wood-burning stoves and wish we had one of those). We haven’t used the fireplace since 2007, and while we have done maintenance on it (new chimney cap, fixing a crack, cleaning out the chimney), we have snuffed the pilot light and closed off the gas. We also keep the damper closed (but it still remains open at least 1″ all the time because it can’t be closed completely). But it’s just an eyesore and in winter our TV room is freezing because of that 1″ gap in the damper causing a major vacuum that sucks out the heating. So I decided to do something about it.

And there is where Facebook and blogging are different and will take me a while to recalibrate. With Facebook, I take a picture of the fireplace when I’m done, write something pithy, and hit “post.” But on blogs, pictures speak a thousand words, and so before/during/after pictures make a difference. Alas, I only have an after picture. ANd now that the project is done I’m sure as heck not going to take it out!

Anyway, rather than go to the expense of clearing out the fireplace and getting rid of the gas line completely, I decided to fake it. I bought some rigid foam and MDF board from the local big box, and had the MDF cut to the size of the opening of the fireplace. I got a can of black spray paint and painted one side of the MDF, and stapled the foam to the other side. I then put the painted black board in the fireplace opening. The result? Looks pretty good. Now instead of looking at cobwebs and dusty fireplace logs (yep, it is that bad), you don’t see anything. It’s just a black hole.

But rather than have just a black hole I decided to put something decorative in front of it. Now, I’m not one to put giant vases on either side of my fireplace, or cute old-timey suitcases. That’s not my style at all. I looked at a lot of pictures trying to figure out what I liked AND that would work with two kids, two dogs and cat who all get rambunctious (okay, so maybe the cat doesn’t get rambunctious, but she does like rubbing up against stuff (that sounds bad but that’s not how I meant it)). In the end, I opted for simplicity and ordered a summer firescreen that had fake candles on it. It came yesterday, and you know what? It looks pretty cool. What’s awesome is that the candles have a remote control and run for 4 hours before shutting off automatically. And once you turn it on, it remembers the next day and automatically comes on at the same time every day. How cool is that?

As I said, I have no “before” or “during” pictures because with Facebook I’m not typically in that mindset. But here are a couple afters for you:

Going forward, if I do projects I’ll be sure to remember to do before/after pictures. Although our next home project isn’t nearly as exciting. We’re having the pediment decoration over the front door replaced. We were originally thinking about having a fully-structural gable built, but the contractor we wanted to use never came back with an estimate for the work. After several ignored emails, we gave up and asked our handyman to schedule time to put up a new pediment. I guarantee now that we’ve scheduled the handyman for November 4 and paid a 50% deposit, the contractor will email me with some amazing quote for making our door go from this (ignore the junk laying around the front door – this was taken while our landscaping project was going on and the landscapers dumped everything on the front stoop):


to this:


But he’ll be too late. He had his chance to respond to the emails, and didn’t.

In other news, we’ve been invaded by wolf spiders now that the weather is cooling down. At least once a week for the past couple of months I’ve found a spider coming for me. The bug guy came today for his semi-annual termite inspection and I asked him to spray a little extra on the inside of the garage since that’s mostly where they come into the house. He obliged and I’m hoping those dang spiders stop coming in. A few weeks ago one started charging at me when I was in the laundry room – he was between me and the door into the TV room and I was screaming my fool head off to get someone to come kill it before it “got me.” *shudder*

My Signature

If you liked that post, read on...

Tree on August 11th, 2004

Reports Like This on October 12th, 2005

The House And Other Stuff on January 21st, 2011

The floors have been sanded on November 6th, 2003


  1. Hi
    I live in Warren, Michigan and I would like to ask you where can buy the rigid foam and painted MDF board at as I have had the same problem with my fireplace with very cold air coming thru. My fireplace is natural not gas.

    Any info would be most appreciated.
    thank you

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