12 July 2005

My neighbors' house was fine

I was outside, under the lanai at 7:30 in the morning, enjoying a cup of coffee and watching the koi in the pond. I started hearing this really faint, digital-sounding beep noise. I couldn't figure out where it was coming from. I listened a little and decided to ignore it because it wasn't anything at my house. I went inside to check the weather to decide if I was going to drive the Grand Prix. Rain and a 38 year-old convertible whose top is on the fritz don't get along too well.

Oddly, the satellite signal went completely out as soon as I got to the television. So, in the japanese bathrobe that had picked up during my first visit to Japan -- one in which an idiot in a beat-up pickup yelled "fag" at me for wearing outside last spring while driving by -- I went outside to see if there was a bird on the dish. Nothing.

But, I heard the beeping again. Intrigued, I started walking around and noticed that it was louder near my neighbors' window air conditioner. So, knowing that they'd already left for work, I walked around front and looked in their front door's window. The living room was filled with smoke, much like that which fills a home when something is burned in the kitchen. And, it smelled like that, too. I ran inside and looked for the keys to their house, but remembered when I didn't find them that Gene had borrowed them when he lost his set. He'd never replaced them.

So, I looked for Cindie's work number on our handy-dandy "University Circle Neighbors" list, which I try to keep updated for all of the neighbors at least twice a year, on the bulletin board. As things usually go it wasn't there. Then, I remembered telling Cameron a couple weeks earlier to give the new neighbors our copy because I didn't have any extras. So, I called another neighbor to get Cindie's work number, which turned out to be out of date. First with a number change. Then, with her transfer from Methodist University to Methodist North. So, with the third number as supplied by her former co-workers, I got in touch with her.

When I told her about the smoke detector and the smoke, and that I didn't have keys anymore, she said "call the Fire Department".

MFD kicked in the door. Came back to me, said "you did good, sir" and placed a big, gasoline-powered fan at the front door to pull the smoke out of the house. Apparently, there was a skillet on the stove, with only a light coating of oil inside, smoldering on top of the gas range.

When Cindie arrived at the house, the smoke was cleared and the stove was off and the skillet was in the sink. That's when I learned the rest of the story. The fireman told her that a skillet was left on. She said, "we didn't use that skillet this morning."

He said, "is one of the knobs always missing from your stove?"

That's when she said, "the dog did it."

Perplexed, the fireman said, "the only dog I saw was a little one in a crate." Cindie ran inside to look for Max, the fourteen-year-old yellow Laborador. While she was gone, I explained to the fireman what was going on. Apparently, Max has done this before. He opens the refrigerator, too. He's eaten a complete box of petit fours, among other things. He has left the door open and ruined all of the food.