Thursday, July 1, 2010

We didn't start the fire. .... Honest! And some pet fire safety for good measure.

Last night, as I was cooking dinner, the smoke alarm went off.

Wait, no. Smoke alarms. See that bolded S? ALARMS.

We are in a brand spanky new house (or heezy, as I have been enjoying to say lately) that has brand spanky new smoke alarms in every room. Now, it's mortifying enough to be cooking dinner and set off the smoke alarm. My mom has a magnet -- Dinner's ready when the smoke alarm goes off! Yeah. It's not the height of culinary fashion. It only happens when I'm grilling porkchops on the Griddler and I don't know why. They come out fine and tasty and juicy, and not charred lumps of sadness like you'd imagine when the smoke alarm goes off.

Uhm, alarms.

All of a sudden, all at once. BWEET BWEET BWEET BWEET. My smoke alarms, let me tell you about them -- three of them are in one section of the house and are about 10 feet apart from each other. 3 smoke alarms. Within a 10 foot radius. Also, there is one in the living room situated about 15 feet up on the ceiling, and one in our bedroom ceiling.

5 smoke alarms in a 1215 square foot house. Three within 10 feet of each other.

Can you guess where the cats were when they all went off at once like some unearthly howl of Beelzebub?

I'd had this happen before so I was more annoyed than anything when the BWEET BWEET BWEET started resonating in my ears. LOUDLY. Piercing like a hot iron poker. And then all of the following things happened in this order, in quick succession:

1. The cats flipped a wig. Our floors are wood so it went something like this.... "skrtch skrht ckshgt..SKRTSKRTSKRRTKSKRT ... FWUMP... SKRKEKTSKRKTSKR" those are cat claws (and the eventual cat falling over on its side from too much speed and no traction) desperately trying to get some traction to evade the hellhounds that were descending upon them from the smoke alarm gods.

2. Matt yelling FINN FINN FINN over and over again because Finn is scared of his own shadow, so surely his little brain was thinking this was the unholy end of days, and he couldn't get under the bed fast enough with his big bottom and bumblefoot. And he fell over about 4 times on the way because wood floors are cruel on manic catfeet.

3. In my rush to get the porkchops off the damn grill -- which I was thoroughly berating now -- THIS @#&^%&*# GRIDDLER I'M NEVER USING THIS #(&$( FOR $&#(%& PORKCHOPS AGAIN YOU #&(^*# PIECE OF %*#) %*)#*^ -- I dropped a porkchop. On my clean wood floors. And porkchop juice went everywhere. And it started again. %*&%)#*$!! (Matt later told me that as he ran by the kitchen to get to one of our many smoke alarms, he saw me standing there, staring angrily at the porkchop on the floor, with a fork in my hand. And at the time it wasn't funny, but it is now!)

4. Matt down the hall, yelling THE PUSH TO HUSH BUTTON ISN'T WORKING, WHAT DO I DO WHEN THE PUSH TO HUSH BUTTON DOESN'T WORK. Huh? I had no clue what a push to hush button was.. oh... that button on the smoke alarm that you can push to make it shut the #$^^$# up when it's going off. The buttons I can't reach because I'm a midget!

5. Me standing on the bed, waving many towels at the smoke alarm on our ceiling as it screeched cruelly in my face, prompting another round of despicable badwords and a hatred that built in my chest for these evil devices. I can see why so many people take the batteries out of these horrid things. Seriously. If the one down the hall in the guest room went off, we would wake up. If the one over our bed went off in the middle of the night, we'd likely be prompted into seizures and perish in the flames anyway.

Later on, after I had cleaned my floor-chop mess and we were sullenly eating (okay that was just me), we got on the topic of cats in a house fire. If they were under the bed in a fire, how would we get them out safely?

Duh, I said, you'd grab them and throw them in a pillowcase and tie the end off and put them on the lawn.

That earned me a long ".........." and a Look.

But it's true!

I used to work in an upscale veterinary clinic for many years, and we would often have safety training and fire drills. And I never forgot my first fire drill where, in the event of a fire, we were responsible for the following (sorry another list):

1. Grabbing pillowcases from the cabinet.
2. Putting angry, cranky, sick, medicated (and likely frightened of the smoke alarm hellhounds at this point) cats and small dogs that probably want to eat our face off or at least poop in our shoes IN said pillowcases.
3. Secure pillowcases and run outside with as many as your arms could hold, full of angry frothing howling animals, and put them in your car for safety.

UH?? I could see it now; my car windows fogged up with about 10 black pillowcases with little felt flames on them rolling around in the backseat, fighting like a bad Looney Tunes clip. I was skeptical. But it was the noble thing to do. Luckily we never had a fire.

And we didn't have one last night, either.

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