Tuesday, August 28, 2007


The vast majority of homes in Denmark have a wood stove of sorts. It's not actually a stove at all, just a pretty firebox with a big pipe up through the ceiling to the roof (typically referred to as the chimney, duh). But my point is that no one really has a fireplace inside the wall, they're all these black boxes with nice glass windows so you can watch the fire, and they sit on a tiled floor somewhere in a corner, or just next to the wall.

Anyhoo, by law, in order to have said fireplace, you have to have your chimney inspected. Sounds logical, right? But here's the cool thing - you can't escape this little inspection. The kommune in which you live sends the guy to your house. They don't make an appointment, they just show up.

I'm home all day because well, I work from here, so, anytime the doorbell rings is an adventure for me... most times it's our friendly neighborhood postman grunting about the 75lb. bags of dog food we order, but this time, it was some old guy dressed in black.

Allow me to back up about 12 hours or so. Last night as we were driving to my classes we were discussing this whole chimney inspection thing. I'll just say now, had that discussion not taken place, this man at the door would've been quite the strange entity. Thankfully I was now prepared for a chimney sweep to show up at some point. ...Had no idea it would be the very next day after the discussion but perhaps the kommune saw the smoke pouring out of our chimney yesterday and told him to get here quickly!

Side note.. 55 degrees and rainy on August 27 .. that warrants a fire in the fireplace!

So now this man is standing outside the door while I hold back my crazy, excitable, loves-everyone, pleasepleasepleasepetme!, puppy Zoe from jumping all over the man. He says something in Danish, points to the roof and says something more. I reply with my usual.. "Jeg taler engelsk" and "chimney?". He then grunts something and grabs his belt buckle and starts waving it at me. Apparently the symbol on his belt buckle is fire axes and it is to assure me that yes, he is there to inspect or clean or do something to my chimney. I don't know if the wave of the fire ax belt buckle is the universally accepted Identification for chimney sweep, but hey, worked for me!

He then climbed up on the roof, proceeded to shove a huge brush or something up and down the chimney a few times (which Zoe found incredibly interesting from the inside view), then he came in the house and shoveled some ash out of the box and did whatever else he had to do, said "hej, hej" and in approximately 10 minutes, he was gone.

Rumor has it the kommune follows up with a nice little bill that comes in at less than $50.


  1. When language problems get in the way, just point at your belt buckle! It says so much with saying so little, you know? Sounds pretty different from Seattle. Where did you live in Seattle, by the way? How I miss Red Mill burgers and Agua Verde margaritas... :-)

  2. Oh my gosh...that completely happened for me, but I had NO IDEA what was going on! No one warned me that a man might show up at the door asking to check out our chimney! I wish I could have had a camera to capture my expression! HILARIOUS! I couldn't get the Mary Poppins tune out of my head for weeks! Chim chiminey...chim chim charooo....la la la...you get the picture! Life is so funny sometimes! :)


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