How the Fire Department Came to Admire My New Wood Floor

Friday evening we had what I hope is the first and last true adventure in our home improvement project.

As we are temporarily kitchen-less, our neighbors down the block invited us over for dinner last Friday, and after a fun evening (Taco night!!) which included two margaritas for me, we said our thank-yous and good byes, and prepared to hop in the car for a short drive to a friend’s house in Chicago where we were staying for the weekend while the wood floors were installed.

They say timing is everything.

As we headed to the car, Jen and I noticed a fire truck parked out front. “Hmmm, let’s see what’s going on,” we said. As we walked down the block, it became obvious that the firemen were standing in front of our door! What the–?!?! Turns out the fumes from the sealer on the wood floor had triggered the carbon monoxide detector in our basement and the alarm company had notified the fire department.

Two things had to happen–The fire department had to test for levels of carbon monoxide and we had to shut the alarm off. However, with the entire first floor newly varnished, there was no way to get in to the basement or the second floor…without climbing through a window.

This is how Jenny, fresh from chemo and sporting a wig came to climb a ladder into her bedroom window.

As you’ll recall, I’d had a couple of margaritas, and while not totally loopy, I was definitely a bit leery of climbing a ladder to the second story and launching myself through the window. As we were debating who should make the climb, the firemen got a call and had to rush off to a nearby kitchen fire. Once they returned, about twenty minutes later, the ladder was raised, a fireman went up, determined there was no carbon monoxide reading, and Jen quickly made it up and in. (Believe me, it was very tempting to snap a pic with my camera phone, but I resisted. Sorry blog.)

Jen was able to disarm the alarm but the carbon monoxide detector continued squawking from the basement. So, I was next up the ladder, in order to call the alarm company on my cell phone and punch whatever code that would shut the thing off. We opened up the windows to air the place out and then we returned through the window (easier said than done) and back down the ladder.

Timing, as I said, is everything. If we’d left our friends’ house even five minutes later, the firemen said they would have broken down the front door and tromped in upon our lovely, hours-old wood floor, only to determine there was indeed no carbon monoxide emergency. I don’t even want to think about what a mess that would have been.

And as you can tell from this story, Jen is handling her second chemo treatment pretty darn well, thank you very much.


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