My apologies for those who read this post when it was originally published on August 16, 2010; I’m sloooowly moving some 7,000 posts from my old blog into this new one, and a WordPress glitch sometimes notifies my subscribers as if old posts were new. This particular post was written during a very adventurous job interview in Seattle (even more adventurous than what you’ll read here, had I only known at the time) and introduced a concept I now call the God of Adventure.
I was trying to explain the GoA to someone on Facebook so decided to publish this a bit ahead of schedule. Someday I may tell the entire adventure…but don’t count on it.
“Your burglar alarm company just called; your house is on fire,” Mom said on my mobile phone…just as my flight was boarding.
Sigh. It’s been a busy week, and it’s only Monday.
Been doing my usual 72 things at once: Houseful of guests (the incredible glass artist and lovely person Carol Carson, with her equally lovely sister and daughter). My sister’s family is here from DC, staying with my folks. My plane lands back in Glassland four hours before the party I’m throwing for Carol on Wednesday (y’all come!). I’m getting ready for a sculpture show this weekend. The antmind decided that BigBoy, my ginormous old Dell desktop, was a perfect place to raise the kids.
You know, I think there’s a god of adventure sitting in an office somewhere, and everytime he gets bored he types my name, hits the send button…and here we go again.
I discovered the ant problem about two hours before Carol&Co arrived on Sunday. I picked up BigBoy to carry him upstairs to the guest office, and a herd of annoyed ants streamed over my toes (eek). I looked down, and couple thousand antcorpses had been interred under the computer in a huge, zombie wars-like way–apparently ants can’t dig into a maple floor to bury their dead.
Fortunately (for the ants), there appeared to be plenty of survivors.
I sprung into action (i.e., I got out the bug spray and blasted the hell out of anything that moved), then I dragged the computer out onto the back deck, opened it up and sprayed its innards. Be interesting to see if BigBoy works any better minus the ants but with a coating of bug spray.
Anyway, when my guests arrived, I was down on hands and knees with the vacuum cleaner, sucking up ant corpses. That may set a new low for gracious hostessing.
They very kindly took me to dinner anyway (wonderful meal at Wildwood), yakked awhile and went to bed. In the morning, her daughter Emelia and I played Barbie fashion decisions. Since my childhood Barbies generally became hammers and crowbars and doorstops, I gotta say the kid is good. Really good.
Then they went out househunting and I headed for the airport–big job interview in Seattle, one of those behavioral “please leap this tall building in a single bound” kinda things.
That’s when Mom called.
“Fire?” I said stupidly, “There wasn’t a fire when I left.”
“Well, they said there’s one there now,” she replied, “Your father and I are going down there to meet the firemen.”
I hung up and called the burglar alarm company. “Welcome to ADT,” they said, “Please choose from the following options…” and sent me straight into voicemail hell. (Gee, good thing there wasn’t an emergency like, say, my house was on fire.)
Since “You said I had an emergency” wasn’t one of the options, I waited through about ten minutes of muzak, on hold until a nice lady came online. The people around me at the airport gate–including one of the pilots–were by now listening in and offering advice. One of them suggested I “let it burn and collect the insurance.” (I thanked him and edged away)
“Your house isn’t on fire,” said the burglar alarm lady.
“Whew!” I gasped, “You have no idea how relieved I am to hear that so I can get on this plane…”
“Actually,” she interrupted pleasantly, “Someone’s broken down your front door and the motion sensors are going off. We sent the police right over.”
Uhm, well… that’s better than a housefire (I think), but still..I texted Carol, who sped back to the house to meet my parents and figure things out. And I finally got on the plane thinking, “OK, if all they take are the computers, fine, my data’s stored in the cloud. If they destroy the art, I’ll just jump off a bridge or something.”
We landed, I turned on the phones, and immediately got a text to call Carol. “Do you have a secret passcode? The alarm’s been going off since we got here and they won’t turn it off until we give them the passcode.”
“And,” my mother said indignantly “They wouldn’t turn it off for me, either, even when I told them I’m your MOTHER!”
“Uhm,” I said, bemused, “You’ve been in the house all this time with that alarm going off?” (Air raid sirens are quieter than that alarm)
“Yesssssss.” (I gave them the passcode and blessed silence ensued)
“So,” I asked, “Is there much damage?”
“Oh, none at all. It was a false alarm. Apparently the alarm’s battery is low or something, and it was sending false readings. They said when you get back you really should get it fixed.”
OK, so I’m thrilled (really, I am) that it wasn’t a burglar, fire, flood, vampire, zombie, landslide or terrorist attack. I suppose I don’t even mind the $250 fine or whatever the police department hits you with for a false alarm. (well, I DO mind, but at this point it’s definitely the lesser of several evils)
But when the cab dumped me at the hotel around 7:30 tonight, I headed straight for my room, ordered a steak and lots of berries from room service, and went to bed.
Thanks to Carol, Laurie & Emelia, and to my parents, for putting up with this nonsense. Next time I invite Carol to stay with me she’ll probably run screaming from the phone.
But whew! This is one chick who is READY for bed. G’night, folks.