Friday, October 1, 2010
The Cheeseboy Guide to Becoming a Chimney Sweep.
The intensity and brutality associated with climbing up your home's central aorta and then becoming as-one with the heart of your home; covered in the elegance of your own family's soot. It is a marvelous experience. The satisfaction that is reached is only rivaled by a visit to the Sistine Chapel or drinking Brooke Burke's Diet Coke backwash.
Not convinced? Trust me, a single chimney sweep and your addiction level will soar to cheap nicotine patch levels. My excitement level for your first sweeping has reached biblical, jawbone-of-an-ass like proportions.
Before you go gallivanting up your chimney like a fairy ninja with a wire brush, you're going to want to take some precautions and do things right. My job is to ensure tranquility and asylum to my beloved chimney anxious readers.
The Sweeper first rule of thumb is: keep your thumbs in when in enclosed, dark spaces. Actually, that is the only real rule of thumb, as chimney sweeps only use their thumbs for thumbing for rides in between big jobs. Thus stems the popular Sweep phrase: "Thumbs free and easy, boys. Free and easy. It's the Sweep livelihood."
Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, you are going to need to wear the official Sweep regalia. First and foremost, you are going to need a worn, dodgy pair of suspenders. Really, any suspenders will do, but I'd recommend that they be slightly tattered and be imported from Dear Old England. You might also want to douse them with a little Old Spice to ensure crusted sexiness.
You are also going to want to invest in a stylish top hat. (Preferably NOT white.)
The next stop you are going to have to make is a stop to the Sweep store. Check out FireplaceEssentials.com and check out their enormous selection of brushes, rods and sanitizers.
Here's an industry inside secret for purchasing a sturdy chimney brush, which is to be held in the strictest of confidence: When it comes to sweeping chimneys, the longer the brush, the better. For example, let's say that you have a two-foot long brush... your brushing potential will be limited to about a two-foot reach.
It's simple mathematics really.
Personally, I'd strongly recommend buying a brush that is at least as long as your chimney. I'd prefer one that is twice as long as the chimney, but then you are looking at buying a ladder and that is an unneeded expense.
Sweeping is a serious business and THAT is precisely why you are going to need to pick up a fake English accent. It doesn't have to be an overwhelming accent - perhaps just a little Bridget Jones, peppered with a slight twinge of Keanu Reeve's remarkable work in Bram Stoker's Dracula. Keep in mind that you are only required to maintain the accent during the actual cleaning session.
Lastly, sweeping involves a lot of jolly warm-up play and pre-clean activity. Often, we Sweeps will get together before a cleanse, slap hands and playfully jump around on the rooftops like little boys. It might bequeath you to take a few dance lessons and it wouldn't hurt to do a few squats every eve.
Alas, you are now ready to tackle that cherished chimney. As you can see, the main ingredients to a successful Sweep is to look and act the part. My best wishes to you and I look forward to hearing your various stories of success.