A couple years ago, Mazha and Fazha bought us an old fashion home theater popcorn machine. This is a larger version of what you’ll currently find in the department stores. They bought this to go in our game room downstairs. When we first got it, I thought. “Great. This is just one more thing to take up space in our house. We’ll never use this.” Boy, was I wrong. It never made it downstairs… it has had a permanent home in the living room. For months on end, we’d come home many nights and pop a large batch before we’d settle down to watch TV. For Duncan, pizza crust and popcorn are the two things he goes absolutely crazy for. He sits next to the machine, while it pops away, and with his tail a-wagging he salivates all over the floor. Disgusting, yet cute.
A couple months ago, the machine died. It would spin, but it just wouldn’t heat up properly. A cloud of sadness hovered over the house and Duncan has never been the same since. Microwavable popcorn just wouldn’t cut it for him, or for us.
This past Sunday, Chris decided to be butch (God help us all). He dusted off some tools and went to tinkering with the wires to see if he could adjust the connectors so the power would properly flow through to the heat sensor.
“Chris, did you unplug the machine?” “Yes, I’m not stupid!” [I frown as I think about the increase I just took on out his insurance plan. It could buy Kensi and me a small plantation in the south]
After ten minutes, the heat was working. Hallelujah. The stirring system was heating up the stuck kernels in the hot oil kettle. “Chris, you should open up the door or put on the vent in the kitchen. If that starts to smoke, it’s going to set off the alarm.”
Two and a half minutes later, smoke starts streaming out of the machine and the smoke detector goes off. The smoke detector is tied into the central alarm system which sends out its warning throughout the house. I’m upstairs starting another batch of laundry so I head to the keypad in the bedroom and type in the code. It doesn’t take. I try again. Still nothing. Third times a charm, correct? Nope. Chris was encountering the same problems downstairs at the keypad next to the door. We were both entering codes at the same time and we were canceling each other out. All of a sudden, the alarm chime turns into an alarm siren. The way our system is set up, once the alarm goes off, we receive a call from ADT to confirm or deny the incident, before they send out the fire/police/ambulance. In the past, the phone has rung within 30 seconds once the sirens start. 30 seconds pass and we don’t receive a call. A minute passes and we still haven’t received a call. Chris decides to call them instead of waiting for their call and the phone is dead. I run back and grab the phone on the nightstand. It wasn’t the phone that was dead; it’s the phone line. Our little munchkin, who LOVES ‘playing’ with the phone, left one of the cordless phones on and hid it in her playroom. Chris grabs his cell phone and gets an automated voice recording. “If you are calling from a company, press one. If you are calling from your residence, press two. [he presses two] If you are calling because your alarm system is activated, press one. [he presses one] Please hold. All available representatives are assisting other customers. [Are you kidding me??]
Chris then reminds me that we need to call our own community Public Safety because they also monitor the local police/fire scanners. When I call the main line, I tell the dispatcher our address and our pass code and let her know that the smoke alarm went off but it wasn’t a fire. In the background I hear the officers calling over the radio, “All Units to [address]. All Units to [address]. Fire in progress”.
Oh, Holy mother. I’m going to kill Chris.
Our house sits up on the peak of the mountain and we have oblong windows that overlook the bottom. I see flashing lights headed up our way.
The car comes screeching around the corning as I run out the front door. I’m running up the driveway waving my hands and shaking my head back-and-forth, as if to tell him to slow down. The assistant fire chief hops out of his car, leaving his door open. His scanner in the car is echoing the same thing that I heard from our own public safety department, “Unit on scene at [address]. Fire in progress. All units needed at [address]”.
“False Alarm. It’s a false alarm. Our smoke detector went off and we didn’t type in the code fast enough. SORRY.”
“What did you burn?”
“What, you didn’t bring any out for me? Um… actually, I don’t any” and he turns back to his car to call off the Calvary.
I’m now standing outside, in the cold, because I don’t know what to do. Do I wait until he leaves? Are there papers that need to be signed? Is there a “We’re stupid and we’re sorry for that” fine that has to be paid? The assistant fire chief remains in his car on the walkie-talkie, but with the door shut so I can’t hear anything. He looks up at me and I just stand there with a stupid grin on my face. I wave. [Oh my God, did I just wave at him? And with this stupid grin on my face?]
A few moments later, he backs up his car and I head back inside.
“Should I start another batch?” Chris says as I shut the door behind me.
I go to the hall closet and pull out our sewing machine.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m making Kensington a Southern Belle Dress. We’ll soon be moving to our own plantation and I need to make sure she has something that looks historically accurate…bows, puffs, ruffles and all.”
He looks at me like I have three heads. “Oh, don’t worry. You won’t be around to see the finsihed project. Trust me.”