It seems like something profound should come with returning from a long blog absence, but I don't have anything profound. Just a bit of advice.
If you're not sure if the fireplace flue is open or closed, by all means, don't start a roaring fire in order to find out. You might find yourself yelling at your husband to evict himself from his YOU-imposed exile in another room to come help you remedy the smoke rapidly filling your house.
And when you're trying to pair iced coffee, a fancy little cake, and a romantic fire to make a nice surprise for him, hollering at him to come put out the fire/open the jammed flue/heroically carry burning pieces of wood out of the house with a paper towel is the last thing you want to have to do.
Especially when you're pregnant and have to stand helplessly by the back door where the air is cleaner, thinking of how silly you are and trying not to be deafened by the various smoke alarms going off and hoping he doesn't notice the bright blue envelope with his name on it sitting next to the iced coffee in the pretty glass on the counter.
It's supposed to be a surprise, after all. But then, who notices such things when only a flimsy paper towel separates their hands from a flaming board?
I have the best husband. He "forgot" to get upset. And he "forgot" to complain. And he even laughed about it all. In fact, the only downside of the whole deal (besides the fact that our house still smells like smoke) is that I have been officially restricted from "doing large fiery things" any time he's farther than ten minutes away. Come to think of it though, in a certain little house in Gervais there are certain smoky little holes from another "incident," one that had nothing to do with large fiery things, just small ones. 🙂
So if you ever happen to be in Gervais and see smoke pouring from open doors and windows at our house, check to make sure we're okay, but good chance it's just me trying to surprise Eric.