Apologies to 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 (GoA).

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. Backstory: I’ve been cooking up my usual 72 things-plus-a-dash-of-chaos:

  • Houseful of guests (the incredible glass artist and lovely person Carol Carson, with her equally lovely sister and daughter Emelia.
  • I’ve been in a tizzy, trying to figure out what an ex-chef’s-wife would like to eat in the way of groceries, and rebuilding/rearranging the guest quarters.
  • My sister’s family is here from DC, staying with my folks, and I need to get up there to visit.
  • I’m in the process of interviewing for a Big Job in CorporateLand (actually two big jobs, but more about that later) and my potential new boss needs me to spend a couple days in Seattle.
  • My return Seattle flight lands only four hours before the welcome party I’m throwing for Carol and about 60 folks on Wednesday (y’all come!)
  • My big sculpture gallery show is this weekend and I’m still firing and packing and delivering.
  • The antmind decided that BigBoy, my ginormous old Dell desktop, was a perfect place to raise about 12,000 kids.

I discovered the ants about two hours before Carol&Co arrived. When I moved BigBoy into the guest office for web access, a herd of annoyed ants streamed down my legs and over my toes (eek). Where he’d been sitting, I saw a couple thousand antcorpses, apparently interred under the computer in a huge, zombie wars-like way.

It would seem that the antmind hasn’t figured out how to bury its dead in a maple floor. Fortunately (for the ants), there appeared to be plenty of survivors.

I think there must be a god of adventure sitting in an office somewhere, and everytime he gets bored he types my name into his adventure app and hits the send button. 

Anyway, I sprang into action (i.e., I got out the bug spray and blasted the hell out of anything that moved). I tossed the computer onto the back deck, opened it up and blasted its innards. Be interesting to see if BigBoy works any better minus the ants but with a coating of bug spray.

When Carol, Laurie, and Emelia arrived, they found me on hands and knees with the vacuum cleaner, sucking up ant corpses and setting a new low for gracious hostessing.

They very kindly took me to dinner anyway (wonderful meal at Wildwood). In the morning, Emelia and I played Barbie fashion decisions. Since my childhood Barbies generally became hammers and crowbars and doorstops, anybody who can get me to play Barbie the normal way is good. Really good.

They left to househunt and I headed for the airport, prepping for my big, behavioral “please leap this tall building in a single bound” interview in Seattle the next morning…and that was when Mom called.

“Fire?” I said stupidly, “There wasn’t one when I got in the cab.”

“Well, there’s one there now,” she replied, “Your father and I are going down to meet the firemen.”

I hung up and called the burglar alarm company.

“Welcome to ADT. Please choose from the following options…” and with that, sent me straight to 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 ADT’s options, I listened to ten minutes of muzak until a nice Burglar Alarm Lady came online. On my side, people surrounding me at the airport gate–including one of the pilots–were listening in and offering advice. One man suggested I “let it burn and collect the insurance.” (I thanked him and edged away)

“Your house isn’t on fire,” said Burglar Alarm Lady.

“Whew!” I gasped, “You have no idea how relieved I am to hear that. See, I have this flight…”

“Actually,” she interrupted pleasantly, “Someone’s broken down your front door and the motion sensors are going off. We sent the police right over.”

Well, better than a housefire (I think), but still..I texted Carol, who sped back to the house to meet my parents and help out. I got on that 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, and my reanimated phone filled with texts and voicemails. I called Carol immediately but had trouble hearing her over the electronic shrieks.

“Cynthia, do you have a secret passcode? The alarm’s been going off since we got here and they won’t turn it off until I give them the passcode.”

“And,” my mother said indignantly, in the background, “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 for 90 minutes with that alarm going off?” (Air raid sirens are quieter than that alarm)

“Yesssssss,” she hissed, clearly at the end of her rope. I gave them the passcode, blessed silence ensued, and I timidly asked for a damage report.

“Oh, the house is fine; it was a false alarm. Apparently the alarm’s battery is low or something, and it was sending false readings. The police said you really should get it fixed.”


OK, so I’m thrilled (really, I am) that it wasn’t a burglar, fire, flood, landslide, vampire, zombie, or terrorist attack. I suppose I don’t even mind the $250 fine or whatever I’m gonna get charged 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, with a significant glass of wine.

Thanks to Carol, Laurie & Emelia, and to my parents, for putting up with my God of Adventure. The next time I invite Carol to stay at my house, she’s gonna run screaming for the hills.

This is one chick who is READY for bed. G’night, folks.