Hair on Fire

“Well, at least the washer is new so there won’t be that deployment gremlin,” I chuckled two days ago as we folded clothes together, getting him all packed up for what will be our LAST separation. Letting the kids finish up the school year, we are staying behind for a few months while he goes on ahead to start the next gig.

I woke up at 2:30am this morning from a dream that my hair was on fire. Like deep REM sleep to fully alert in what felt like 3 seconds. One minute I’m talking to Nancy Pelosi and wondering why my hair is burning (Um, hello subconscious. Why are you so weird?!), to racing around the house quietly trying to sniff out the source. “Where is it coming from?” I thought, unplugging everything electric in my house. I quickly dial Eric and think of our laundry conversation, groaning internally at the thought that I just had to say something and jinx us! Getting the emergency number for our housing office, I dial them and am also directed to call 911. At this point, they have asked us to evacuate everyone out of the house as a precautionary measure. Firetruck is on the way.

Have I mentioned that our area has been blasted with snow since Christmas?! I grabbed the keys and warmed up the car, then waking up the kids, I told them to bundle up, that we are going to sit in the car with the dogs until the firetruck arrives. I thought of the most ridiculous things, like how the kitchen is dirty, and that if this turns into an *actual* fire, I won’t have to wash those dishes I left in the sink last night. Dog poop bags, gloves and coats, dog sweaters, I get the broom to brush off the snow so I can see to at least pull my car out of the driveway. I’m still in my pajamas and winter boots and running on nothing but adrenaline.

We had heard a weird chirping noise coming from the furnace closet the day before, and had planned to call housing about it. I thought maybe it was a belt going bad, perhaps that was what the smell was? (I know just enough to be dangerous, of course.) The smell was permeating the whole house, so furnace was my best guess.

Firemen arrive and I let them know what I know, and they tell us to sit tight while they inspect the house. I texted Eric and informed him of the situation and he replied, “Take a pic for memories!” “Seriously?!” I mutter aloud, smirking as I discreetly snap said picture.

The lead fireman came out and told me my house needed a different scented candle, that the one I was using does not smell good. Ohhhhh, okay. Fireguy has jokes at 3am. I laughed, and he explained that they did locate the source of the smell to the furnace and that maintenance would take care of it. We shut off the furnace and were able to come back inside and wait. The firemen start to leave, apologizing for wet bootprints all over the floor. “Your house is so clean, I feel bad,” one of them remarked. I laughed again and told them they’ve all made my day. Not only did they compliment my cleaning skills, (ridiculous that that makes me happy to the degree that it does), but also the fact that I wasn’t in fact crazy and they could recreate the smell, and the source was accurate. And of course that it wasn’t an ACTUAL fire and there wasn’t any danger to minions or pets. Whew.

Maintenance arrives and discovers the furnace motor is not happy. At this point I’ve been up for over an hour and 4 am seems like just as good a time as any to make coffee. Mr. Maintenance takes out the motor to take back to the shop to make it happy again. He replaces the filter and gives us space heaters to use while he’s working, because someone invited Santa and his North Pole weather to stay for a week after Christmas and it’s getting frigid in my house with no furnace. Time for Santa to take his snow and go home!

I decided that if I want to hit my mileage/badge goal for the year, I better get on the bike sooner, rather than later, as we will no doubt have a nap in our future or be heading to bed early – regardless of it being New Year’s Eve. “I have 7 miles to bike today,” I explained to my mom as I had recounted all of the morning’s “excitement” over FaceTime coffee at 5am. I was starting to fade and realized I better get it done or when Mr. Maintenance showed back up, or I would have to interrupt the ride, or worse – not have the energy to do it later. On the bike I went!

It was the perfect icy cold temperature to workout in – and I got the planned miles and challenge badge I was aiming for. (Honestly, it’s the silliest things that are motivating.) Year-end goal accomplished! Just as I was finishing up the cooldown ride, Mr. Maintenance knocked, ready to turn the furnace back on with a recently re-tooled motor freshly installed in the furnace.

Crises averted, hair decidedly not on fire, and heat back on with no odor, it now feels like 872 o’clock. Happy New Year to us!

And here’s to NO MORE GREML– Wait!

Scratch that. I’m not making that mistake again!

Good Riddance 2021!! Yeah, let’s go with that.

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