Some Romantic Evening

It was a quiet, peaceful evening ( it might even have been about to become a romantic evening) when my husband, Raul, leapt out of bed yelling, “I SMELL SMOKE!

“Oh my God!  I smell smoke too!”

The smoke detectors weren’t blaring yet, but you could definitely smell hot metal. We ran through the house, upstairs, downstairs, out to the garage, the backyard, around to the front yard, back to the house. We were sniffing everything: oven, stove, microwave, wall switches, outlets, heat pump, laundry dryer, compost pile, EVERYTHING!  And we couldn’t find the source of the smell!

“Can you see any smoke? I can’t see any smoke.  Well, maybe I CAN see some smoke. . . no, wait, I think my glasses are dirty.”

Now we’re running around checking all the things that we checked before and the smell is starting to fade. WHAT? But it was there. We both smelled it. What was it? We’d like to go to sleep, but you can’t go to sleep when something in your house could catch blaze at any moment.

If we were kids, we could tell the teacher, our parents, or a trustworthy adult. But we’re the trustworthy adults. So who are we supposed to tell? Finally, I can’t think of anything else, so I call 911. (I guess 911 is who adults tell.)

The Woodinville Fire Department roars into action and sends out a truck that’s longer than our house. Four gigantic firefighters race up through the snow in the driveway. They burst through the front door like a SWAT team in full gear, and start pointing sensors, lasers and ray-guns in every direction. I wonder if it’s okay to stand in my own kitchen.

Twenty minutes of giant boots and raincoats upstairs, downstairs, attic, crawlspace, garage, and they can’t find anything either. So now they start turning on appliances and pulling off covers. Eventually we realize that although the furnace should be blowing air through the floor vents, it is not. Off come the furnace covers and there we see it. A little burned spot on a circuit board, hiding down behind a very hot fan motor.

Ah-HAH! The furnace did it!

Ordinarily, Raul would just pull out his soldering gun and fix the circuit board. But he was recovering from cataract surgery #1 and was expressly forbidden to bend over and lift anything. He was also definitely not allowed to dissect a dusty old furnace in a non-sterile garage. All he could do was circle the furnace through the night and make sure that his prey doesn’t escape.

The good news is that the furnace repair man arrived at 7:30 am the next morning. He pulled the circuit board out and Raul resoldered it–don’t tell the doctor! (A little bending over was required.) The bad news is that the hoped for cheap fix didn’t work, the new part costs $1,500, AND it’s going to take a week to get here. Did I mention that there was (and still is) snow on the ground and that it’s hovering at about 34 degrees outside?

So now Raul and I are having a cheery, chilly, mini stay-cation rolled up in sleeping bags in front of the still-working gas fireplace. Nothing says romance quite like mismatched, bulky hats, scarves and parkas worn day and night.  Just a few more days and we’ll be cozy again.

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