Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tales of the Homeowner: FIRE!!!!! (...or not)

Monday started innocently enough. With the impending vacation, I decided a thorough cleaning was in order. I dusted places that haven't been dusted since I can't remember. I swept, vacuumed, drug out the carpet steamer. I was a woman on a mission.

In the afternoon, I climbed into the frigid attic to bring down my Autumn tote to put the autumn decorations and Halloween costume pieces in. Not to mention drag out the luggage. It was butt-assed cold up there, in my pajamas. Not to mention the lights decided not to work. I was also talking to Mother on the phone as I worked and we were talking about vacation things.

I came down the ladder and let the trap door slam shut when I sniffed the air. Smoke???

I came down the stairs and found a living room full of it. Entering the OH MY GOD, MY HOUSE IS ON FIRE mode, I shrieked for Mr. Recommendation to come over (thinking it was an electrical fire caused by aforementioned not-working attic lights), and hung up on my mother.
Meanwhile, I go tearing through the house trying to find the source of the fire. Sam and Lucy, sensing my excitement, think this is a new, fun game that Mommy is playing, and start chasing me. I go back upstairs, kick the dogs into the back yard, and start considering tossing both cats out there as well. Mom and Mr. Recommendation come over, and find me out of breath, hacking on smoke, running around the house like a dog chasing its tail, carrying a little home fire extinguisher.

"CALL 911!!!" I order, before grabbing my cell phone and placing the call myself.

Minutes later, two full-sized fire trucks come creeping up my unplowed street (thanks KCMO), sirens wailing, lights flashing. I have both front and back doors open, trying to air out the smoke in the house. I'm standing there, wearing pajamas and Ugg boots, with hair that's all nasty with dust.

Half a dozen fully decked out firemen come into my house. Two of them carry a big-assed metal spear-looking things. Those things are to poke holes in your ceiling. I sit on the couch and put my face in my hands, wondering how I am going to explain this to my insurance adjuster. At this point, we figure out that there is no immediate fire...but where in the hell did all the smoke come from???

Next thing you know, my house is crawling with firemen....sadly, none of them looked like these guys.

(You want me to clean you off?...With my tongue??)

(The decent-looking ones are married, the rest look like they are fourteen years old or Wilford Brimley.) They search my house so thoroughly, I'm convinced that if I had hemorrhoids, they probably would have found those as well. Fortunately, I didn't have anything out in plain site that would cause further embarrassment...such as dirty underwear, or, ahem...power tools. I have A LOT of power tools. I'd hate to see one of them get poked with my jigsaw.

I peek out the front door, and see half the neighborhood has vacated their houses, and are now standing in their driveways, watching the excitement unfold. Some were holding shovels, no one was using them. Did I mention that my neighborhood is full of cops???

After having tracked all the snow from the outside, to the inside of my house, the firemen deduce that the smoke came from my chimney, even though there hadn't been anything burning in it for almost a day and a half (and that was just some crappy little fire log). It is theorized that my chimney is clogged with something (a nest, leaves, Lindsay Lohan's career), and the smoke of whatever was smoldering for almost two days, became trapped. When I opened and shut the attic door, it created a vacuum that sucked the smoke out into the lower level, and caused me to panic, calling for people to come and admire my freshly shampooed carpet by tracking over it in wet, dirty boots.

As an added bonus, the firemen discover my furnace filter looks gross, and they bring it up to show me. I am lectured by four firemen on the importance of changing my filter. They were even nice enough to turn off my furnace until I could get a new filter. None of them offered to drive me to Lowes in their fire truck so I could get a replacement. Assholes.

The firemen take their leave, dejected because they didn't get to poke holes in my ceiling. The neighbors immediately retreat to their houses to talk about that weird lady running around her house wearing pajamas, Uggs, and carrying a little red fire extinguisher. Hell, if fire trucks were at a neighbor's house, I'd at least have the decency to stay inside and look out a window instead of gawking from my drive way.

Mom and Mr. Recommendation accompany me to Lowe's that evening so I can have heat again. They make fun of my fuzzy filter (which had absolutely nothing to do with the smoke event) the entire time.

So, tomorrow I get to clean the floors...again. The fire place is officially off limits until I can get a chimney sweep out to clean it. And maybe even after that. My entire house smells like I just hosted a Boy Scout camp minus the sweaty gym socks and nocturnal emissions. All that campfire smell, and not a marshmallow in sight.

I'm so ready for vacation. Of course, I still need to go back into the attic and get my luggage.


K2 said...

Oh my goodness! I am glad it was nothing more serious but sad that none of the firemen were hot. Glad you are ok. Love ya!

Bill the Painter said...

You MAY be able to use one of those Cleaning "logs" available at stores, but given the age of your home, a profession chimney person should look it over thoroughly.

Smoke and fire are one obvious problem, but carbon monoxide and a concern as well.

Please make sure you have a CO detector!

me said...

Holy shit, mon!!!!!!! I'm glad you and the furbabies are OK; that it wasn't something more dangerous ~

WV = "aching"

me said...

Holy shitzo, GB!!! I'm so glad you're OK ~

Vacation still on???

PS ~ could have sworn I'd already replied to this, but I guess not...