March 26, 2013

And Now for a Little Excitement...

Now that my fingers have thawed out a bit, I can recount our crazy, wonderful, chilly, ridiculous weekend.
It started out quietly enough (too quietly??) with a cozy Friday evening on the couch. In a sleepy haze that morning I had managed to put short ribs instead of pot roast in the fridge to defrost, so we had an odd but tasty dinner of slow-cooked short ribs over leftover mashed potatoes. It was actually so good that I might make that mistake again next time...
I got sleepy early and the hubby kindly shooed me up to bed so that he could play a video game without my constant requests to turn the machine guns down a little bit. I fell sound asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow, only to be shaken awake what felt like minutes later by Dan.
"Do you smell burning?" he asked.
"I don't smell anything. What the hell are you doing? It's still dark outside."
[I am not a very kind person in the middle of the night.] 
But something about Dan's dashing around made me sit up and sniff a little more... and then I definitely smelled it. Over the next few minutes, the smell got much stronger, but we couldn't figure out where it was coming from -- there was no smoke, no noise, and definitely no fire. Dan even poked his head up into the attic, where our resident squirrel (another story for another time...) got the fright of his life, but luckily didn't seem to have started a campfire. We hemmed and hawwed a bit, but eventually decided that Dan should call the non-emergency line for our county. I went to the bathroom quickly while he dialed, but as soon as I heard him start to recite our address, I started to get a little concerned. Dan mouthed to me "They're coming," and I'm not proud to say that my first reaction was a rather dramatic groan (safety first, all). I yanked on sweatpants and two coats, took a claw in the face while wedging one animal into a carrier, and we dragged one sleepy puppy, one furious cat, and our own bewildered selves outside.
In minutes we heard the sirens piercing through the frigid darkness, and I started to cringe. "The neighbors are going to hate us," I moaned, "Are you sure they really needed to come?"
Sure enough, we ended up with two large trucks, huge spotlights, and lots of flashing lights parked in front of our house while at least a dozen firefighters trooped in and out for an hour. Despite the fact that it felt like the middle of the night, this whole debacle actually started around 5:30 AM, so we stood in our driveway from about 6-7 (pre-sunrise), freezing and waiting for any sign of flames. Luckily there were never any of those, and the firemen eventually decided that the smell (which they smelled too, thank goodness... I was a little worried that our phone number might be destined for some kind of "boy-who-cried-wolf" list) was from a malfunctioning heat pump/air handler. Truly, I can't say enough about how kind and thorough these guys were -- they examined every inch of our house (I'm still recovering from the mortification I felt upon discovering the door to our "junk" closet wide open) and didn't complain a bit about the terrible hour or the awful cold.
In the end, we were left with a very cold house, no heat for a few days, and a lingering smell. Thank goodness for wonderful neighbors, friends, and family who checked in on us throughout the day, and one friend in particular who went way above and beyond, delivering a truckload of firewood and our two favorite little girls to play for a little while. We spent much of the day by the fire, napping off our early morning. Luckily the weather warmed up nicely, and that evening while Dan headed out to pick up dinner, I took the pup for a gorgeous long walk and dreamed of spring.
That evening, we set up camp in the living room:
(not the best picture, but you get the general idea)
I felt like a little kid in a fort, but a lot less comfortable... turns out, no matter how many blankets you put down, you'll still find at least one bone directly on the hard floor at all times.
Sunday was slightly less exciting, thank goodness (although it was my mother's birthday, and that's exciting! Happy birthday, Mom!) We slept in a bit, knocked out a workout, met up with some friends from out of town for a drink, drove around for a bit in the snow, and then headed home (with a hot cup of coffee) to get a fire going and settle into our makeshift sleeping quarters again. 
If Saturday night had been merely a little rough, Sunday night was pretty miserable. There was a lot of tossing and turning and poking my poor husband, hissing "The fire is dying! The fire is dying!" Thank goodness for him, because he got up several times each night to throw another log on and ensure my toes stayed warm.
Thankfully, after a (ahem) brisk few days (understatement), our heat was restored yesterday and I can feel my extremities again. There is still the matter of the "fixed" air handler that is now causing our kitchen floor to vibrate like a train might be passing through the house at any moment, but I am able to handle that minor hiccup much better now that the icicle at the end of my nose has melted.
Despite the annoyance, I do have to admit -- it was kind of fun to camp out with Dan and our furballs for a few days. Even though I certainly can't sleep on the floor like I used to (the days of birthday sleepovers are long gone, and you won't hear me protest), I enjoyed changing things up and hunkering down in front of the warm fire with my boys. I'd say my sore back was worth the extra puppy snuggles, laughter, and the billion or so episodes of NCIS. And now, I'm just enjoying the warmth and crossing my fingers that it will be a very long time before a fireman has to dig through my closets again.



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