I had been having some trouble with the fireplace, as some of the cement between the bricks was flaking out, and there was nothing but smoke coming into the house. There was plenty of heat, however it was also putting a lot of smoke in our eyes. I talked to the heating and A/C company and asked who I should contact to get our fireplace repaired. They told me about a bricklayer they knew, and when I called the gentleman he made an appointment to come out to the house and he said he could fix the broken bricks. That would make the hearth and mantle look better, although I needed someone to scrub the chimney and make sure the flue was working well. This made sense, and so I called the local chimney sweep and he was there more than one day later. All I wanted was for our fireplace to be repaired before Christmas, and I was beginning to wonder if that was going to happen. When the chimney sweep was finished with the chimney he had awful news, he said there was a lot of debris and creosote in the chimney that he had unfastened. There were also some broken bricks and cracks in between them that needed to be fixed. He wouldn’t propose using the fireplace until I had the chimney repaired. I looked at our fireplace and shook my head, as I was realizing a fire in the fireplace may not happen this year. I would just get a fireplace insert that ran on electricity, and hopefully I could find one that looked like it had sparks in it.