Friday, October 1, 2010

The Cheeseboy Guide to Becoming a Chimney Sweep.

One has not lived until one has cleansed one's own chimney.

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.

50 comments:

Corrina Terry said...

What the ??? Did you seriously clean your chimney out? Was it THAT bad? I think I'd rather pay some guy to do it than try that myself. You're nuts!!! :o)

Cheeseboy said...

Just to be clear: I have never cleaned a chimney in my life. Clearly, I just have a very strong knowledge of what it takes to get it done.

T said...

my BYU theatre days may finally pay off - I've got the accent and a few dance skills (very few) stored up for just such an occasion.

sadly, we have a gas fireplace.

The Bipolar Diva said...

I'm glad to read that you haven't actually cleaned your chimney, I was on the verge of a panic attack! That was SO funny!

Kristina P. said...

For some reason, this reminded me of the woman who was stalking her married lover, and decided to try to get into his house by climbing down the chimney. She got stuck, and no one knew she was there, until 3 days later, when she was found dead.

Have a great weekend!

Melinda said...

We had a guy come clean out our chimney once when I was a kid, my mom was pissed because he got soot all over her nice white carpet and fancy couches!! Anyway, so I'm clearly an expert as well. Also, my british accent is fantastic.

p.s. Kristina's comment was amazing.

Kellie said...

WHO ARE YOU? You are friends with all my friends and you'd better include me by following back or I'm sending the mice that dwell in my basement to eat your big orange head. Just sayin'.

RawknRobynsGoneBlogWild said...

I was thinking of the same scenario as Kristina. That woman who got stuck and died in her ex b/f's chimney was a Doctor, too! I'm glad you didn't actually try this, despite your clear knowledge.
I especially love the line about a broom twice the size of the chimney, but the need to then waste money on a ladder. You always make me laugh, and I appreciate you for it.
xoRobyn

lindsey v said...

I would just be worried that my tattered suspenders would snap while in the tightly enclosed place and there wouldn't be any room for me to bend down to pull my pants - that had fallen down - back up. What's the sweepers rule for when that happens?

ScoMan said...

I'll get right on that guv'na.

Although I do like the idea of being a fairy ninja. So maybe I won't get right on that. Governor.

Candace said...

♪♫♫♪ Chim Chiminy Chim Chiminy Chim Chim cheroo! ♪♫♫♪

I'm singing that little song down here in de bayou now. Seriously funny post. :0)

Saimi said...

Hmmm, we have a electric fireplace no chimney needed. I guess I don't have to worry about having one cleaned, I'll save that for when the electricity goes out.

Nicole said...

"Before you go gallivanting up your chimney like a fairy ninja with a wire brush.." oh Cheeseboy, you have such a way with words! :-)

Eva Gallant said...

Good one! I do think dancing around on the roof could be hazardous to your health if you have a slanted roof!

Kristen said...

Mary would be proud!

Mighty M said...

I predict you are going to go far with all this knowledge in your brain! Keep it up!!

Pat said...

You have GOT to be crazy to tackle a job like this! Are you serious?

You forgot to mention that you have to learn all the words to Chim Chimery Chim Chimery Chim Chim Cheroo!

Marnie said...

"Before you go gallivanting up your chimney like a fairy ninja with a wire brush..." I got a visual image that is permanently etched in my head :0))))))

baygirl32 said...

You forgot to add, a chimney sweep must be at least 50% goofy and be able to sing and dance at the spur of the moment.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sorry, lost me at the dancing.

Rachel said...

YOu've just accomplished a rare feat: getting a song stuck in a deaf person's head.

Thanks.

Good thing I'm a closet Mary Poppins fan so I don't have to unfollow you.

Might we have a video of your accent please? :)

Jenn said...

Thanks for the great tips, now I wish we had a fireplace so I could go clean it!!

Bossy Betty said...

So....I can still wear my stilettos. Right?

Jillybean said...

We don't have a fireplace, and therefore, we don't have a chimney either.

It's really quite sad, especially at Christmas time when we don't have anywhere to hang our stockings.

Have you ever heard the Christmas song "There's something stuck up in the chimney"? It's about Santa getting stuck, and it ends the same way as the lady Kristina referred to.

Jason, as himself said...

Where, oh where do you get this stuff?

So you're a Mary Poppins fan, eh?

Kelloggsville said...

We just send an orphan up with a brush. Works a treat, saves a shed load of money. Chima-rooooo!

"Miss Bee" said...

I think that when you get 600 followers, you should clean your chimney while speaking in an English accent and doing a little jig. Just an idea.

Missy said...

Is it safe to say that you will not give up teaching to be a Professional Chimney Sweeper? LOL
I had no idea that it was that big of a job!

wendy said...

Thank goodness I don't have a chimney...I am getting the cold sweats just thinking of climbing the ladder to hang my christmas lights (hubby just had surgery and won't be able to do it)

I prefer not to deal with "orfices" of any kind.

you are one funny writer I think

wendy said...

Oh, and you had me singing chim chimeny, chim chimeny from Mary Poppins.

The Mom @ Babes in Hairland said...

Awesome. I just want to know if you talk like this to the 6 & 7 year olds in your life!? "Before you go gallivanting up your chimney like a fairy ninja with a wire brush" LOL Glad to know you haven't really cleaned your own chimney. That soot might be really hard to get off your one hairy arm!

W.C.Camp said...

Do you have to dance to 'Step in Time' when sweeping? I think I will just use those creosote cleaning logs! W.C.C.

Pat Tillett said...

Thanks for the valuable advice! if faced with the choice of cleaning my own chimney, or not EVER using it again, I would choose to not use it...

Powdered Toast Man said...

What do I do if I use my cat as the sweeper and he gets stuck?

unmitigated me said...

As far as the accent goes, I can't think of a worse/better example than Dick Van Dyke's "Bert" in Mary Poppins, as pictured. He seems to be alternately from London, Ireland, Boston, and Madagascar.

Kristin said...

I am a new follower, and wonder if you have any Santa like fantasy's or if you ever had Mary Poppin's as a Nanny as a child?

I look forward to the Barney video by the way.

Sandra said...

You're skillful interpretation and description of chimney sweeping had me hanging on your every word even though, I can promise you, I will never clean my chimney!
You are a brilliant writer!

Copyboy said...

I think I'd rather have Dick Van Dyke do it. haha

I Wonder Wye said...

I'd rather hire Dick VanDyke....

lisleman said...

You forgot to mention checking to see there is no fire burning in the fireplace.

Our simple little place doesn't have a fireplace and I am happy with that. I've had a fireplaceless life and I'm ok.

supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

Kelley said...

That is hilarious! I really liked how you said "eve". You remember the smallest of details. Are girls allowed to be chimney sweeps? I have everything ready (except that my top hat is white), so I do pray that you say yes.

Shrinky said...

Oh for goodness sake, you are doing this all wrong! What do you think we have children for? Admittedly, the eldest, at 6ft 2in, has long since outgrown his purpose - which is why we had to go on to make the three other smaller versions..

Very funny post - thanks for making me smile!

Hart Johnson said...

So what you're saying is size DOES matter? And you're suggesting that if I call the 'Naked Chimney Sweeps' ad, they will still show up attired, though admittedly, suspenders and hats don't bother me much, but a person might have trouble holding suspenders on with no pants.

And just a suggestion... if you DO decide to clean a chimney... I think from the roof end is less filthy...

DEZMOND said...

ah, you still didn't convince me to change my profession and start sweeping chimneys. Chimney sweepers are considered to bring good luck in my country. Did you know that back in earlier centuries chimney sweepers were actually kids. Horrible. And I heard last week that a woman died in a chimney while trying to creep into her lover's house. The horrible thing is that she was a married woman with kids :(

Emmy said...

Oh thank you thank you for telling your trade secret! I would have got it all wrong and bought the shortest brush I am sure ;)

M-Cat said...

Isn't there just some sort of log I can burn that cleans it all out or me?

Nancy C said...

You are the genius of the Internez. Brilliant.

This line alone: drinking Brooke Burke's Diet Coke backwash.

Sold it.

The Church Lady said...

Take it from me. Well, take it from my husband, sweeping the chimney is no fun at all my dear chap. We didn't clean our chumney for years and guess what?? Yep, we had a chimney fire. From that point on, we became professional do-it-yourselfer chimney sweepers -top hats and all!

Very funny post!

Lolidots said...

You forgot to mention how important the ability to jump into chalk drawings is. A chimney sweep has gotta have some fun during his off time. ;-)

Marla said...

Thanks for the info however I STILL am not going to clean my own chimney. It's not that I'm lazy... I'm just not much of a dancer/singer.