Sometimes my life feels like a sitcom. And looking back on what happened to me earlier today, I really have to laugh. This morning my son wasn’t feeling well, so I decided to stay in with him and make some Christmas cookies. After nearly two hours of heating my tiny apartment with our gas powered oven (and making some pretty delicious cookies, I might add), suddenly the carbon monoxide detector starts going off. My son is freaking out because the alarm is, well, alarming…and its incessant beep, beep, beeping was sending him into a tailspin. So I haul a bar stool over to the detector, climb up its impossibly high height (made impossible by the fact that I am now seven months pregnant), and turned off the chirping monster at the end of my hallway. No more than two minutes later, the detector starts beeping again, my son is freaking out again, and I am pulling myself onto a barstool…again. After going through this another three times, I finally decide to remove the battery from the detector while finishing the cookies.
I later called my husband to ask him what to do. Although I did think that the source of the problem was the oven, I didn’t want to assume that was the only issue, and I also didn’t want to assume that as soon as the oven turned off that my carbon monoxide problems would be over. We ultimately decided that it was probably best for me to report it, but to whom do you report such a thing? While my son napped I called 311, which is a local information hotline here in New York, and the woman told me that whenever someone reports carbon monoxide, they are obligated to connect you immediately to 911. 911?? Oh geez, I didn’t want this to turn into a big thing – my son had only been napping for 30 minutes, and I knew if someone came to check things out it would wake him up. So I said to the woman on 311, “Is it possible for me to just hang up with you now and call 911 later?” (Call me irresponsible, but sometimes your child napping trumps life-threatening oder-less gases. Don’t judge me.). I’m pretty sure if I could have seen the operator’s face she would have been rolling her eyes. “No, ma’am”, she replied. “We need to connect you to 911 right now”. Oh boy, here we go, I thought.
They connect me to the Fire Department division of 911, and suddenly I am on the phone with an all business-sounding, fast-talking, emotionless man who says, “What is your address? What are the cross streets? What is your phone number? What is your emergency?” So I start to explain. “Well, I was making cookies…and the carbon monoxide detector when off…and…” He cuts me off. “Ok, we’re sending division 737 over there right away.” “What?”, I say. “Oh really, it’s not necessary for them to come right now. You see, my son is napping. Maybe they can come later this afternoon?” “No ma’am”, he quickly responds. “We are sending someone right now”.
And let me tell you, when they say “right now” they mean right now. Suddenly, I’m thinking “Oh shit”. I am super pregnant, I am in my pajamas, I’m not wearing a bra, I haven’t even brushed my teeth yet (It’s 1pm by the way), and don’t even ask about makeup. Makeup? you might be asking yourself. Why on earth would you need makeup? Well, allow me to digress for a moment: I walk by the fire department near our house almost every day – it’s only two blocks away. And every time I walk by, the men of the fire department are always standing outside, and, well, there is no other way to put this. They are hot. Super hot. And maybe it’s just because they are in firemen uniforms. I don’t know. I’ve always had a thing for men in uniform, especially a fireman’s uniform. But out of the corner of my eye, when I walk by, they look pretty hot to me.
So with this in the back of my head, again I’m thinking “Oh shit…I look like shit. And their firehouse is only two blocks away.” So I run back to my bedroom, put on a bra, swig some mouthwash, and slap on some lip balm. And literally in the time it took me to do those three simple things, they arrive at my doorstep, sirens blaring. “Beep, beep, beep!!” They ring my doorbell. My son wakes up. Oh shit. Again.
I run downstairs, and sure enough, there is a huge firetruck parked in front of my house, and SEVEN firemen are at my door, dressed in their full fireman’s best. “Wow, you guys are fast!” I said. “This really isn’t an emergency”, I stuttered in an attempt at explanation. But all seven of them followed me up to, and into, my apartment. Seven huge 6’5″ men in uniform, in my 900 square foot apartment. “Is this one of my cool hormonal pregnancy-induced sensual dreams?”, I thought hopefully. But reality came crashing down on me when I realized that they looked like this, and I looked like this . Looks like my dream was going to have to remain a dream.
It turned out that they could not detect any carbon monoxide in my apartment, and I was left just feeling stupid for sending SEVEN firemen into my apartment to investigate a situation that took them 30 seconds to determine was completely benign. They were actually incredibly cool about it, and said, “Feel free to call on us in the future, if your carbon monoxide detector goes off again”. ‘Oh, I will’, I thought. And next time I’m getting a makeover before I do.