2013, Day One
Early in the morning on this cold January 1st day of 2013, with the light starting to creep in around the curtain on my bedroom windows, I had the laptop open and I noticed on face book in an old friend's post that she had blogged every single day in 2012.
I haven't seen this friend for many years but we used to share our poems with each other a long time ago, and for some reason we found each other to be mutually inspiring, literarily and perhaps in some other ways, when I lived in Salt Lake City as a college student at the U of Utah.
I've long since stopped attempting to write poetry. And honestly, I haven't written much of anything for about five years. Back then I had a newspaper column, which when I joined the a national presidential campaign staff in 2008 I--very reluctantly, in fact I was practically kicking and screaming--gave up my column because they (the campaign) said that was the deal and I had to sign a piece of paper saying that I wouldn't publish anything at all as long as I was working for them, and then after the campaign I was too tired to get it going again, and one thing led to another and I haven't had any sort of regular writing gig since then.
The experience of working as a political operative changed my life, and I went on to work for several other campaigns after 2008. Since then, my writing has mostly consisted of memos, Ra-Ra-Let's-All-Get-Real-Excited-About-This-Campaign-emails, talking points for volunteers, press releases, and even the occasional public statement for a candidate.
That kind of writing, while quick and sort of gratifying in a way that is the exact opposite of thoughtful or insightful, isn't really the way I ultimately aim to express myself. And for several reasons I have declined a full-time career as a political operative, and I restarted my chimney business in 2011.
Yes. That's Right. I am a chimney sweep. I install wood stoves, clean chimneys, inspect, repair, troubleshoot, etc.
And I suppose this would be as good a time as any to mention that when I got into the chimney business I thought I was in the dirtiest business in the world. And then I got into politics.
Anyway, it is New Years day, 7:30 a.m. and I am still in bed, as it turns out, it is my first day blogging.
The cat is next to me on the bed. There is snow on the ground outside. I already got a fire going in the wood stove from last night's embers. My tiny house is nice and warm.
I open the curtain. The glass sweats against the cold outside, and condensation droplets and moisture fog it looks like it'll be a clear day, and there is snow, snow, snow on the ground, because it just kept coming down yesterday, and I was outside shoveling show when the phone started ringing and sure enough on the day of New Years Eve there were some folks whose chimneys had clogged up, and so off I went in four-wheel-drive with the snow coming down steady and slow, and it was fun to climb around on the truck in the snow, wearing snow boots, getting the ladder down off the rack and carrying it over to the house and carrying another ladder up the first ladder and walking across the snowy roof (people ask me how I walk on pitched metal roofs with snow on them--I say "very carefully") and set that ladder, and adjustable stepladder, on the roof so I can climb up it in the snow and take the clogged chimney cap off to unclog it and then one step at a time, and a while later the customer is all sorted out with a clean chimney, a clean stove, on New Years Eve.
And but today my ski pass is valid again after the xmas-new year blackout period, and so--even though I have work to do in the office, mail to sort through, and filing, and a couple of work proposals to figure up and write--I am going to take today, New Years Day, as a holiday and get my ski gear together, pack some lunch, and hit the slopes. But I will have my phone with me, and I will be checking voicemails and text messages on the chairlift, so if you have a chimney emergency I can probably take care of you this afternoon.