Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Good Morning World!

The house was awakened to a delightful little surprise early this morning in the form of six shrieking fire alarms wailing at us in deafening unison. Startled out of our various states of slumber, we stumbled into the living room. Mass confusion.

On my part, the thought of there actually being a fire or anything dangerous didn't cross my mind. I just wanted to do whatever it took to shut off that godawful noise so I could go back to bed-- the instincts of a sleep-deprived college student.

Naturally, our first idea was to pull the alarms off the wall and just rip out their batteries. This was difficult, however, since the awesome thing about our little home is that the ceilings are really high. Which means the fire alarms are really high. Too high, in fact, for any of us to reach (even when standing on our tallest piece of movable furniture).

After a bit more stumbling and bumping and "I don't know what to do," Madison took charge. We solved the issue of not being tall enough by stacking Val's giant zoology textbooks on a stool for added height (as you can see, knowledge has many practical applications). Operation Dismantle Heinous Noise-Making Machine complete. I did my part by running outside and making sure there wasn't smoke billowing from our roof. Just to be on the safe side.

Of course, once everyone could hear again, none of us knew what to do. What's next? This is when it's helpful to have a civil servant in the family. Brittany called her dad, a real-live firefighter, who (after asking lots of questions in typical dad fashion to make sure we were immediately okay) told us to call the landlord. Tried that. He didn't answer (of course). Meanwhile, I googled the manufacturer of our little detectors and discovered that our alarms were dual smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Carbon monoxide?! As in the colorless, tasteless, odorless gas that can kill you?!

Now I'm getting nervous. At this very moment, a deadly and invisible chemical substance could be sneaking around our house with ninja stealth, wreaking havoc on our respiratory systems.

We all turn into hypochondriacs, wondering if our sudden headaches or random nose-twitching might really be a symptom of deflating lungs or whatever happens when you get poisoned.

I call the fire department. It's an administrative number, so that's a no go. There's no one left to call. We've exhausted our resources. All that's left is... 9-1-1.


I'd never called 9-1-1 before. This was a new experience for me. Not gonna lie-- I mentally rehearsed a bit before calling. It's intimidating. When I dialed and pressed "Send" on my phone, a funny little graphic of a red siren came up while I waited. Classic.

The lady on the other line was direct and to the point. I was in the midst of sorta describing everything (I guess I'm kinda longwinded?) when she cut me off.

"Do you want me to send someone out to check your carbon monoxide levels?"

Less than ten minutes later, three (young) firefighters step into our living room. Picture this-- five girls in pajamas and fuzzy slippers trying to explain to three serious, tired firefighters that we didn't know what to do so we just unplugged everything. And then the one holding the little blinking black box turns and says, verbatim, "It's reading at a zero."


Well thanks, handsome firefighters (there's just something about a man in uniform), for stopping by and checking on us. We feel much better now.

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