...all the while remembering that compared to a lot of other things it wasn't that bad.
"Do you smell smoke? I smell smoke."
"No. I don't smell anything."
"I do. It's definitely smoke. Not cigarette smoke either."
"No. No. Don't smell it. Doch! Ja! That's smoke!"
It was shortly after 3am. We'd just finished watching the concert for the Katrina relief effort had just started watching Larry King Live when I smelled smoke. After B confirmed what I knew I tossed my knitting aside, went into the kitchen, turned on the light and saw a fairly thick haze of smoke. Begin pants wetting. I rushed around the kitchen thinking "Great. I just bought this kitchen and it's on fire! What's burning? Something is burning!". I snatched out the plugs for the microwave, the coffee maker and the radio - the only things that stay plugged in all the time - but didn't notice anything wrong with them. The smoke didn't seem to be coming from the refrigerator and I didn't unplug it because I'd need a step ladder to reach it and the oven was cool. No burners left on. Still the smoke seemed to hang in the center of the room.
"Honey, there's lots of smoke in the kitchen. I don't know what's burning but it's a lot of smoke. Should you call the fire department? I think we should call the fire department."
"What are they going to do?"
"Find out what in the hell is smoking, for starters! This isn't normal! I'm not going to bed with a potential fire somewhere in the kitchen!"
And at that moment fire trucks rolled up to the front of the building. I opened wide the kitchen window and saw four of them parked in front of the building, firemen putting on breathing masks and getting out hoses.
"It's something in the building. There's a fire in the building. I'm going to see what's in the hallway."
Opening the front door wasn't such a bright move. Lots of black smoke rolled in and I shut it again. Whatever it was it didn't seem like it was coming from a specific apartment - more like from the basement or along the stairwell or perhaps from the elevator. Another nearby apartment building had a fire in their elevator about a week ago and it was so bad they're going to be without a elevator for about three months while it's being rebuilt. Sucks now to live on the 10th floor in that building!
I could see from my bathroom window dark smoke rolling out of the open windows of the stairwell and that's when it dawned on me to shut the windows on that side of the apartment - I was letting in more smoke than I was letting out. Never let it be said that I'm not quick on the uptake!
I saw my neighbors that live below me coming out with their zillion kids but no one had told us to leave. They knew I was up there and still okay so I figured as long as I kept the smoke out we would be alright.
An hour later the hoses were rolled up, firemen back in their trucks and they were gone. We'd find out the next day what had happened.
As it turns out there was a fire in the storage area of the basement all the way in the back of the basement. Our building has concrete slabs for floors, ceilings and walls but the flames had come up through the openings where the conduits holding the cable TV cable are located and had burned some of the floor of the people below us - that's why they had to get out for a while. And the basement storage area is about half burned up. My MIL lost everything in her storage area from the fire since it's located towards the back but mine didn't burn. Instead I have everything that was stored in there ruined by water damage from the fire department. The insurance will cover my losses and I'm thankful that for one my laziness has paid off. Against reproachful looks from my MIL I have faithfully neglected to store my Christmas decorations in the basement and have them in our spare room so the Christmas ornaments I've spent the last twenty-five years collected are safe. My MIL, however, lost all of hers and that's not so bad. I love buying Christmas decorations and she hates it so I'll get to pick out all new stuff for her and have the time of my life doing it.
It still stinks like the mouth of hell in the hallways but the smoke didn't linger in my apartment. However my MIL's next door neighbors claims that smoke has ruined her sofa. Interesting as she has no windows that open to that side of the building where the smoke was blowing in and she lives on the 8th floor. I live on the 2nd floor, did have smoke rolling in and my sofa smells fine.
Get some Fabreze, lady, and stop dreaming of an insurance check.
Aside from the stench the only other inconvenience was that we were without hot water until around noon today. Inconvenient, to be sure, but better than losing the electricity or the cable TV or my internet access. I can heat up water on the stove - I can't check my email on the stove.
As I understand things the police haven't made a final conclusion yet but believe the fire was arson. And here's the head scratching part. The basement door was locked. The firemen had to get a key from my neighbor to get through the door to put out the fire. Either one of my neighbors is an arsonist or they tore out a vent window and threw something in to start the fire.
On to more "This just ain't my weekend!" events...
Saturday night found me cursing my computer because of a browser hijacker. Sweet Jesus, those things piss me off no end. Why is it illegal for someone to create a virus or worm but someone can install shit on my computer and hijack my browser and it's just e-commerce? I want the ass licks that do that shit to suffer for it. As my operating system is in German and this isn't something you want to just guess about I made B fix it for me. Only took him seven hours to get things going again. At least we think they're going again.
And while he worked on my computer I took that time to knit. Mollie's cracking the whip at me to get the scarf I'm making her finished and eventually I noticed the ribs aren't where they should be anymore. I realize that I'd skipped a row and got things off kilter and it'll take unknitting three or four rows to get it back on track again. I will need the services of my knitting superhero to get me in business again.
So let's recap. Fire, smoke, stink, no hot water, hijacked browser, off kilter knitting.
I gotta start being more specific when I wish for a little excitement in my life.