Sarah, Eleanor, and I made it back from Texas on Wednesday. We had a wonderful time with Sarah's family, eating, exchanging gifts, watching Eleanor chase the cat, and playing Rivers, Roads, and Rails (I never win at that game, but I like it anyway). Our trip back was marked by a few delays, the longest one being at the Charlotte airport while waiting for our luggage. That was rather ridiculous, as it took probably 45 minutes for our stuff to make it around. It was also marked by a brief but pleasant visit with Nearly Normal Jimmy, who was connecting through Dallas. We were both delayed enough to see each other for a few minutes, which was cool.
We finally made it home about 8:30, then I promptly almost set the house on fire. I essentially turned off the furnace before we left, so it was 55 degrees inside when we got back home. I turned on the furnace, turned on the little space heater we have in Eleanor's room (she did wonderfully on the flight, but was about at the end of her rope by the time we made it back home), and lit our gas log fireplace to get the place warmed up faster. I went into the kitchen to talk with Sarah for a minute, and when I came back into the living room, thick black smoke was coming out of the fireplace! That's not supposed to happen. At first I thought our stockings has started to smolder, since they were hanging over the fireplace, but I quickly realized the smoke was coming from in the logs. Odd, considering the logs weren't supposed to burn. I told Sarah to grab Eleanor and hang out in her room away from the smoke. I turned off the gas, but something was still on fire in there. I yanked the ceramic logs out of the fireplace, then ran into the kitchen, grabbed my good grill tongs, then used those to pry out this ball of something that was on fire. I tossed it out the front door, then stomped on it to put out the flames. Crisis averted. At first, I thought a mouse or something had died in the fireplace, then had roasted when I lit the logs. But later, after telling this story to my dad, he recalled the last time he was here with his dog, loosing one of her toys, probably in the fireplace. Mystery solved, but problems remained. I had a house full of smoke. So I opened up all the windows and doors and turned on all the fans. That cleared things out fairly quickly, but didn't really do much for our heating situation. SO we closed the house back up, bundled everyone up in the car, then drove to Wendy's for some dollar menu chili. Eleanor didn't get to bed until almost 10:00, but was a trooper through it all.
So remember to check those gas logs for foreign objects before lighting them, folks!