Recently, I was standing in the kitchen making dinner when all of a sudden this huge ear piercing alarm went off. I was completely confused because it was going off in the dining room and we don't have a smoke alarm in that direction. Cats were running terrified everywhere, doing that low-to-the-floor run as if they thought that a barrage of bullets might fly through at any second.
Clutching my ears, I ran into the dining room and realized that it was our carbon monoxide alarm. It came with the house and we'd never heard it before. And let me say that I have never heard anything that loud and ear splitting in my life! So, I stumbled over to look at it and it's flashing in big red letters "GAS" over and over with a heaping load of urgency.
So, I immediately realized that we had a carbon monoxide leak which I knew could kill us really fast. The Mister runs in and we're both like, "What do we do?!?!" I mean, we knew that we should get out of the house but the thing was, all of the cats had run off to hide and were completely missing. I jumped on the internet and learned that a carbon monoxide leak can kill you within just a few minutes and soon, we would pass out and not wake back up. The internet information said to open windows and to not turn any lights or electrical appliances off or on. Oh, and to get out of the house!
We opened as many windows as would open (which in an old house means that we opened three) and meanwhile I'm screaming, "Oh god..I AM dizzy!" as the Mister called 9-1-1. The operator told him that we needed to get out of the house immediately and to not look back (how many times do we have to be told anyway?).
But, of course, we were too worried about the kitties to leave. Would they be dead soon? What do we do? And of course, we didn't see a single one of them. Then we realized that even if we DO see them, we don't have enough cat carriers for all of them. My eyes darted around the room as I surveyed each and every item, wondering if it might carry a cat in an emergency: Bread box? Pillowcase? That ottoman with the lid?
We finally decided that we had better get outside and as we were talking to the 9-1-1 operator, this big ole fire truck comes roaring up with the siren and the lights on, illuminating the entire neighborhood into an ear piercing disco. "Hello, neighbors! yes..it's us! The Kitsch Family! The ones with the paint samples all over our trim and the pink toilet in the driveway, tackying up the neighborhood! Nice to meet y'all!" Three big ole burly firemen leaped out of the truck and said, "Where is it?". We pointed to the back door and they skedaddled. Suddenly, they're all in our house, walking around with these fancy meters beeping. The Mister and I were outside gasping, "OH MY GOSH! THE KITTIES! THE COMPUTER SAID JUST MINUTES IS ALL IT TAKES!!" as we watched the firemen doing recon through the windows.
Sooner or later, the fire chief came out and told us that they didn't detect anything. Nothing at all. They said that it could be a faulty detector. I must have just been caught up in the moment and thought that I felt dizzy. Or maybe it was an adrenaline rush. I mean, the good news is that we didn't die - but hello - SO freaking scary... and kind of embarrassing!
After he told us that we weren't in any danger, two of the other firemen came out and were absolutely dying laughing. One of them said to us "which one of y'all were born in the fifties?" and we both said, "Neither". He then kind of rolled his eyes and pointed in our dining room window and said, "Are y'all seeing what I'M seeing?"
I answered, "Oh! Well we were born in the 70's but it wasn't our favorite time so we're trying to..uh...capture... something?" It was obvious that while we were outside freaking out because we thought that our cats were dying or that our house was going to explode in a giant fireball, they'd been inside making fun of our house colors. The other fireman then said "What color are you going to paint the outside? BRIGHT PURPLE? NEON GREEN?" and they all erupted into laughter. The Mister and I both chirped, "Aqua!" and they looked at each other and shook their heads as if they'd just seen a two headed calf walk up the sidewalk.
Needless to say, we learned a lot that night: Carbon monoxide detectors can save lives. We need three cat carriers. Oh, and that one minute, you can be making yourself a sandwich in your kitchen and the next, you're being made to feel like a freak show by the local fire department!
Until next time (make those emergency plans, folks)
x's and o's,