There's a chimney sweep in my house!
When we bought this house three years ago, we asked the owners how recently they had the fireplace flue cleaned. "It's probably due," was the answer. Since this non-answer could have meant anything from "last year" to "never," I resolved to have it cleaned, and soon.
But... as this things go, we moved in the winter, and had many fires in the fireplace, and there was never any sign of any kind of problem, so I pretty much blew it off. The following year I called a guy, but he only worked weekdays, so I blew it off again.
Well, this year I got a bug up my ass about it and decided that I wouldn't burn any wood until it was cleaned properly. I talked to a guy down the street who said he had a small fire in his flue; which turned out to be not a big deal, but I've read about chimney fires where the fire department has to destroy to chimney to put it out. That is, if the entire house doesn't burn down first. And considering all the other BS that we've gone through with this house, I wouldn't be surprised to add "devastating chimney fire" to the list.
So, that's why there's a chimney sweep in my family room right now.
I find it incredibly charming that chimney sweep still exists in our modern day world as a profession. Not that this guy showed up in a top hat and bow tie and started singing while he worked (but how much would I have loved that? I would have payed extra, even), rather, he's here with an industrial-sized shopvac and a bunch of brushes on long poles. But, in that sense, I guess he's not so different from his processors.
Then again, judging from his business card, simply being a chimney sweep doesn't pay the bills. This guy lists "Air duct cleaning & sanitizing; video chimney scan; cleaning; caps; dampers; tuck pointing; masonry" among his services. I guess you need to pay the bills year-round.
It looks like he's going to do all his work from inside, and not climb out onto the roof. Which, I have to say, is a little disappointing. I mean, the #1 thing is that my chimney doesn't catch fire, but still... would a little theater be too much to ask?