Wednesday, December 15, 2010

You can't make this stuff up.

If I somehow became the ruler of the world, every morning I would be awakened only because my body had received enough rest. I would never be woken up by an alarm clock. Or a siren. Or ever, ever a bird chirping. I freaking hate birds.

Still, all of those ways of waking up would have been preferential to the way I started my day this morning. At 3:30am.


As every single smoke detector in my home, all five of them, went off at the same time.

There is no plan in place that prepares you for that, even if you are the type of people that would actually have things like a decent plan of escape in case of fire. Which we aren't. The Boy Child seemed to think we did as he grabbed his coat and shoes and told us all to meet him on the front porch, but he was mistaken. Ginger, for her part, was extremely excited. Not so much because of the shrieking alarms but because we were UP! And everyone was MOVING! And there was the potential that she could do something TOO! Even though it was three.freaking.thirty.

The thing is? There was no smoke. No flames. No fire.

But surely we were wrong. All five of our smoke alarms don't just go off at the same time without their being smoke or a fire. Clearly, we just did not SEE the fire.

So we (the Boy Child and I, clearly the most nervous people in the household) embarked on an adventure to discover said fire. In our 1100 square foot palatial mansion.

Jason looked disoriented.

"I'm going to just lay down for a minute," he told me. Amidst the shrieking.

"JASON. PAUL" I shouted, over the shrieking. "There is no laying down! None! We have to make this stop!"

Lazily, he walked over to the smoke detector and pushed a button. It stopped. The chirping continued though and within five minutes? The shrieking began again.

The Boy Child and I, finding nothing in our exhaustive search of our home, went outside. We looked around our small neighborhood and found no flames. No smoke. We walked around our house and found no flames. No smoke. The Boy Child, against my advice, climbed up on the icy rail of our side porch and declared the roof to be flame and smoke free.

Yet, inside?


I went into the kitchen and found Jason. Smoking a cigarette.

"DON'T SMOKE A CIGARETTE!" I shouted, over the shrieking.

"Stephanie," he said. "Smoking doesn't make a smoke detector go off."

Did I mention it was three-thirty? In the morning?

He pressed the button again and we had a scant few moments of quiet while he finished his cigarette. Ginger bounced around gleefully, grateful that everyone was AWAKE! And maybe would want to PET HER! And maybe if she was lucky? Everyone would LOOK AT HER!

"Ginger!" Jason said sharply. "Night-night!"

Ginger retreated to her cage. I swear I think she sighed.

"You know," Jason said. "I think there IS smoke up there."

He gestured to the recessed lights in our kitchen ceiling. And indeed. There was smoke swirling around the light fixtures.


"Jason," I said. "You just smoked a cigarette."


"Smoke rises," I told him. Because it was three. freaking. thirty.

"I don't think it rises that high," he told me.

No. I swear to God. He really said that.

"Okay," I said. And just then:


"MOTHER OF ASS," I said.

He walked over and pushed the button again.

"Jason," I said. "We need to do something. Should we call the fire department?"

"I think so."

So I called.

And they came. Seriously in about five minutes. In their big red truck with the flashing lights. Thankfully, no siren though. Because our neighbors already LOVE us, as evidenced by our next-door neighbor who came out on the porch in order to snarl at me,


To which I responded, "Yeah. It woke up my dog too."

Because clearly, there wasn't time to thank her for her obvious concern for our well-being. I had to deal with the firefighters.

There were three of them. One lady and two men. One of the men walked down the hill to our yard. Yes, I know that sounds crazy, but I promise you that's not the point.

The man who came inside climbed up on a sturdy chair (we don't own a stepladder, because we are not really adults) and pulled the smoke detector out of our bedroom ceiling.

"This one is the culprit," he told us. "If one goes off, they all go off."

The lady was looking around our bedroom with interest. She walked over to our ceiling fan (admittedly, quite dusty), rang her finger over the blade and said, in a very annoyed tone,

"Um...when was the last time you dusted this fan?"

To which Jason replied,

"Excuse me. You're getting dust on our linens."


"You probably got dust in your smoke detector and that's what caused it to malfunction," she told him.

Jason stepped out into the hallway with me and I said,

"Well. I think that bitch just insulted my housekeeping!"

"No baby," he replied. "She just insulted MY housekeeping."

"Fair enough."

Back in the bedroom, the male firefighter was explaining to someone (not sure who because Jason and I were in the hall) that there was some malfunction with the smoke detector and we needed a new one. The lady however, was more concerned with the amount of dust on our television.


The third firefighter came in and asked me if I could unlock the basement, just to make double plus sure there was no fire there. There wasn't, but the lady remarked that it was "awfully warm" down there. I had warmed up to about 4 degrees at that point I think, so maybe she was right.

The firefighters finally left (backing all the way up the street, further enraging our neighbors with the loud BEEP BEEP BEEP) and Jason and I lay down in our not-on-fire-but-maybe-dusty-now bed.

"I hate being an adult," he told me.

"Me too," I said.

"Me too!" the Boy Child called, faintly from his room.

From the living room, Ginger farted. It sounded like a machine gun.

"Maybe that made the smoke alarms go off," Jason mused, sleepily.

Then we laughed and laughed.


Bethany said...

HOLY FUCK! My smoke detectors did the same damn thing last night! We could not figure the damn things out, they have brand new batteries and everything. Big Guy finally just yanked the one that went off first right out of the ceiling.

Huh, now I know it's just dusty ceiling fans.

Devon said...

oh my goodness... what a night you had! glad to hear everything was OK!! (although you may need to get your hearing checked now!!)

Unknown said...

OMG!!! Laughing too hard!!! Must breath!!! Oh....

Wow, Woman I'm sure glad we met you. You make me laugh so hard!!

OH, and sorry you had the issue with the smoke detector.... :-S

Queen of Halloween said...

Hope you had fire insurance? They charge for house calls here whether it's a fire or not. Best bet was to call only if you had smelled something instead. As for the dust...was the fan going at that hour to cause it to hit the alarm? How warm was that basement? Too much heat build-up near the ceilings can cause the same reaction. You would not have felt it much around your body area? Happy you didn't have anything is never nice at anytime! Better safe than sorry. Good move.

diane rene said...

while I know from personal experience that this isn't funny - yet. can I just say that I am so glad I am not the only one this kind of stuff happens to? our smoke detectors are all connected as well - one goes off, the whole house goes off. it sucks!

and why is it that the batteries in a smoke detector NEVER die in the middle of the day? always, ALWAYS at night.

sorry you had such a horrible start to your day - I think that should have earned you the day off - JMHO

Danielle said...

LOL - you made that up! That woman firefighter did not say that! This was hysterical although all I keep thinking about is the chapter in your book about the Birds, but when I think of your book, I think of Nipples. Fun day for me.

Danielle said...

Also - why exactly does an 1100 sq foot palace need FIVE alarms? I think we have 2...

Jessa said...

I'm laughing the whole time I'm reading this. I just want to know why a firefighter would go through and comment on your dust? Really?

Priscilla said...

Us too!! We not only had EVERY smoke detector in the house go off but the carbon monoxide alarm. (which freaked me out the most!) We were able to shush the smoke alarms with new batteries but the carbon monoxide? No! It screetched removed from the wall, batteries removed, nothing shut that thing up at OMG early. I beat it with a hammer. It squeeled with each of my 4 hits until I discovered the horn/speaker/whatever thing and pulverized it.


dhermon said...

one of the funniest things I've read in a long time.