Monday, January 10, 2011

Nothing works, or, how Banders tried to kill us all

This lovely tale happened on Thursday, but I was too traumatized to talk about it. It's also embarrassing on a 50's housewife level. It's funny, though, and it sort of ties in with the heat tape... and the water softener, dead swimming pool, non-GFCI leaking hot tub, swamp cooler on stilts hooked up to a garden hose, and yet undiscovered flaws.

So Random Fact About Me #32 is that I have almost no sense of smell. If you want to get really technical, it's something wired differently in my brain - I can perceive a lot of smells really briefly, but I "tune them out" almost immediately. Yeah, I smelled it when the dog farted, but then I quit smelling it about 2 seconds later. There's a scientific term for when your brain quits signaling that you're smelling something, but I can't google it up right now :(

The night before, I ate some leftover broccoli casserole. It was very tasty, but I'd eaten it for two days in a row and I was bored with it. I thought to myself, "The chickens will love this!" and left it out when I went to bed.

I slept pleasantly and not too deeply. I woke up once, before it was light, and thought muzzily "hmm I don't need to wake up." Then I woke up again as dawn was breaking. I stretched and yawned and lay there waiting for my alarm to go off. Eventually, it did, so I turned it off and sat up.

Then I leapt to my feet and went bolting down the hall, because the bedroom was full of smoke. The hall was full of smoke, and so was the kitchen. I was sure that we were all about to die when I skidded into the kitchen. Banders, the fluffy white psycho cat, leapt down off the counter. I stared at the plume of smoke billowing out from under the dish of broccoli casserole. The tick-tick-tick of the stove ignitor penetrated my brain. I blinked a lot, walked over to the stove, and turned off the burner.

Then things got boring and mundane again. The house was smoky as shit, so I had to open the front door and the patio doors and turn on a box fan to flush it out. It was 21 outside, so that was extremely unpleasant. I went outside to feed the critters (who did not care in the slightest that their meal ticket almost died) and when I went back inside the smell of burned broccoli was absolutely horrifying, briefly. Then I couldn't smell it anymore.

The point of this embarrassing and strange little anecdote is that the smoke detector didn't work. I think we both really meant to test it, and after a while we each assumed the other had tested it, but obviously we didn't. My backup smoke detector (Cersei) thought that it was very strange that the house was filling with smoke, but she trusted me so completely that she was willing to sleep quietly through it. My nose isn't even a tertiary smoke detector. Needless to say, I went to HD that day and got a loud as shit modern smoke detector.

What with the other stuff that just doesn't work around here, I don't know why we were surprised about the smoke detector. Or today, about the heat tape. I am trying to get in the mindset of assuming that if it's preexisting, it's just waiting to break or has already broken, but it's kind of hard.

Also: That cat is WEIRD. Not only did he manage to activate a push-and-turn stove knob, he ignored bacon grease to eat broccoli. I'd made bacon the day before, then poured off the grease into a little bowl. I was going to wipe it out with a paper towel and throw it away, but the same laziness that made me leave the broccoli out made me leave the bacon grease out too. There were no little tongue-prints in the bacon grease.


  1. I've never heard of a vegetarian cat :)

  2. Glad this had a happy ending.

  3. Close call! Glad no one was hurt.

    Fifteen years of living with a three-pack-a-day smoker (first husband) left my nose similarly disinclined to smell much! So when *I* can smell the fourth grade boy's socks, I KNOW the teacher's concern about personal hygiene is valid!

  4. Eggs!....Left them to boil, went to feed the dogs, of course one thing led to another? Came back in the kitchen, to find the eggs, exploded all over the walls! The smell? Awful.

  5. I'm glad to hear that everything survived, with the exception of your broccoli casserole. As for your broccoli-eating cat... maybe he's not a cat at all, but really a space alien in a cat outfit?

  6. All of my cats have been green-veggie fans. I had a cat who was a maniac for raw green beans--she would choose those over tunafish. I know, weird. I would take tuna every time, myself.

    Smoke detector: with teens learning to cook, ours is activated pretty often. Sigh. We do have to change the batteries every 6 months, though....glad you survived!

    Also: check *placement* of your smoke detector! If it's not in the right spot, it won't alert to kitchen smoke until there's a lot of it. But don't put it right outside the bathroom door (voice of experience) because steam from the shower will make it go.

  7. I've become that way with machinery over the years. If I haven't taken it apart, I don't trust it too much. :)

    My cat likes garbage. There isn't anything edible in our garbage, but he decides to strew it around anyway. Which is why he is out in the cold right now, and I sorta hope he freezes to death.


  8. Which reminds me our new house doesn't even have a smoke detector....

    Ummm...Yea...I'll be taking care of that in the morning.

  9. I'm glad other people also have veggie/trash eating cats. I often think Banders is actually a disguised observer of some more (or less) advanced alien race, and one day his notes will be complete and he will depart in a cat-sized UFO.

    BEC - Yes! My work is done. Three years of blogging and I did something tangibly good for someone! ;)

  10. Wow, glad to hear it turned out ok. I take it you've tested the new ones, right? ;)

    I've personally been known to sleep through a smoke detector going off, so I'm screwed no matter what. And as for veggie cats, mine don't have much of an option when it comes to people food. But boy, did they mob my mother when she cat sat them. She had to close the door on them to eat most times. REAL FOOD!

  11. I'm going to be a bit worried to come back here because of that "three's thing. First you had the frozen pipe thing, now a fire, girl, what is coming next??

    And what was with the cat?? Brocolli over bacon grease, very scary........

  12. When I was in college my roommate had to wake me up because I was sleeping through the smoke detectors going off. Unfortunately I am now a very light sleeper!

  13. That.
    And I wasn't even there. Thank goodness you are okay!
    It's a good assumption to make in a used house: everything is either waiting to break, or on it's way to breaking.
    We've had a suspicious number of lightbulbs go out suddenly, so I'll be looking at our electrical panel, and checking plug wiring.


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