“Hurry up!” I exclaimed to my man as he jumped into the shower. We’d told our friends we’d pick them up at 8:15 a.m. this past Sunday morning to get an early start to our 2-day hiking trip. We had all been getting to the point of feeling burnt out. A perfect time to get away, clear the cobwebs in our heads, and enjoy some fresh air in God’s country.
I pulled the lever down on my super-duper one-year-old stainless steel toaster in the kitchen, then dashed back to the bedroom where my suitcase was half packed. But I also cleaned up the dog’s hair on the chair (that he never sits on, oh no, never), closed the windows, made the bed, and jotted down notes for the dogsitter.
That’s when I smelled it. Burnt…toast? Then I saw the smoke swirling toward me, like a monster sneaking out of a blue lagoon. Only in this case, creeping throughout the condo.
Running back to the kitchen like a mad woman, I cringed at the smoke belching out of that newfangled toaster – and, did I see some flames too? I unplugged it, but then swore not so softly. An alarm was screeching so loudly that it could wake up our neighbors.
Wait. The screaming alarm didn’t come from our place, but from the outside hallway, connected to each of the six condo units. Shit, Shit, Shit.
I knocked on the bathroom door and walked in. “Um,” I said sweetly through the shower door, “we have a little problem.”
I quickly opened all the windows in every room of the condo on my way to our front door. Wait, I realized my attire was not appropriate for anyone other than the dog and the husband. Hurried to the closet, buttoned up a long winter coat, and opened the door to discover two neighbors, men who lived in two different units, standing in front of the offending alarm: one in his velour bathrobe, the other in tennis shorts so tiny they had to be from the 1970s. You know, Jimmy Connor-style.
I gulped, then apologized, “All my fault. Bad toaster.”
They couldn’t have been nicer. Or more understanding. Even when the fire truck roared up the driveway and three burly yellow-slickered, yellow rubber-booted firemen bounced out of the truck over to the alarm, where my shirtless, red-shorted husband now also stood, looking at the large clanging button as if wondering if a sledgehammer would shut it up.
Within minutes, the siren was killed and all six men stomped through our condo to check up on the smoke. Did you know that you should NOT open all the windows when smoke is inhaling every inch of the place? Now you do.
“Just open up one window, then it doesn’t go into every room,” the cute muscled younger-than-my-son fireman explained to me.” Then he stared at my winter coat.
It was 70 degrees outside.
I shrugged, they left, and our friends were still waiting for their pick up. I texted: “Burnt toast,” and they texted back. “Better than burnt out. Breathe. Smile. Relax!”