October 20, 2007: Very Long Day – And An Apartment Fire

Today was an insanely long day for me.  If you look at yesterday’s post you will see that my “long weekend” began on Thursday night with a three hour trip home from the office in Warren.  That wasn’t bad but it was just the beginning.

Yesterday I worked thirteen hours and then had Oreo get me up just an hour after falling asleep to take him for a walk around the block.  So I was very tired going into this morning.

My alarm went off at a quarter ’till six and I peeled my tired body from the bed and dragged my sorry butt out into the living room office and sat down at the computers that I had prepped and left on from last night so that I wouldn’t have to worry about anything additional this morning and could sleep for an extra few minutes.

I had a crazily busy day doing multiple projects for “the office” this morning.  Running from just before six until just before noon.  That made for a crazy start to the day.  I also had to build our replacement Windows XP Pro machine this morning as Dominica’s Windows desktop is just about dead and the replacement for it is finally here.  We really can’t wait on it anymore and I have been needing to document my Windows XP build process for The Surfing IT Wizard for a while so I took care of that as well.

The IT Wiz was working in Ithaca today and had a lot of questions for me so he kept me busy on the phone much of the afternoon as well.  In between everything else I finally, after over a year, managed to hook our home Vonage phone back up!  I can’t believe how long we have been without it.  Without any sort of home phone line at all.  So if any of you know our “old” Geneseo phone number – it is back online and working fine.  I have tested it out a few times and it works great.  That has been hanging over my head for quite some time.  It is going to make my life a whole lot easier in general.  My cell phone barely works at all when I am in the apartment so we are mostly unreachable when we are home.  Now that is no longer the case.   We have been paying for the phone line all of this time so having it working will actually save us money rather than cost us more.

Around nine thirty this morning Dominica decided to clean the oven.  She did some light cooking earlier and we noticed that it smelled a little bit so we figured that the oven was dirty and needed a good cleaning.  It is a relatively nice day out and we have the windows open so there is a breeze.  The perfect time to do an oven cleaning with a self cleaning oven.  Otherwise it gets way too hot in the little apartment.

Around ten o’clock the smoke detectors went off.  This is nothing new.  They go off when we cook, when we shower and sometimes just for fun.  So we have a routine of fanning the ceiling where the troublesome detector lives and it normally just shuts off.  So when the alarm went off Dominica immediately grabbed a blanket and stood in the hallway trying to turn off the fire.  Oreo started to panic because of the noise and I was preoccupied trying to get him into the bedroom where it isn’t quite as loud.  It really shows how dangerous it can be to have false alarms on a regular basis.  We were totally unprepared for the smoke detectors to be actually doing their jobs.

It turns out, as you can guess, that they were actually doing their jobs.  Oreo ran out of the bedroom convinced that he didn’t want to be in there and ran into the living room.  As I ran past the kitchen following him I caught a glimpse of the black billows and flickering red and yellow.  I grabbed Oreo and sent he and Dominica down to the lobby.  Min had no shoes and no time to put Oreo’s harness or collar on but carried them with her.  I ran into the kitchen to see what could be done.  Fortunately the fire was inside of the oven and never spread outside of it.  The oven is designed to contain a fire and did its job well.  I had a really hard time figuring out how to turn the oven off from its clean cycle, though, so it had a bit more time to continue heating with the additional natural gas being pumped into it.  A quick “shut off” button would be required if this was for a business.  But one I got it turned off the fire ran out of oxygen – I am assuming that the vents that bring in fresh air close off – and the fire went out.  It took many hours for the smoke to clear.  What a mess.

It turns out that the fish from last night had leaked a bit of oil that had collected in the bottom of the oven.  We never guessed that there could be grease in there.  As vegetarians that isn’t that much of a real possibility.  So that was our real excitement for the day.  It couldn’t have happened on a busier day.  I had no time to spare dealing with this.  One of the guys who works for the apartment building came up and made sure that everything had operated properly and that there was no more danger.   But everything was fine.  The oven did its job well.  Just surprised us a bit.

Oreo was very upset by the whole ordeal and had accidentally peed in the kitchen when the alarms were going off.  Maybe he had seen the fire and didn’t know how to tell us that it was there.  For the rest of the day he had bad diarrhea and we had to walk him many times.  Dominica walked him four times and I walked him twice for six total times which is an amazing amount for a dog who will often only go out twice in a day.

Every spare minute of the morning and the entire afternoon was spent doing my really intense Java homework for my class at RIT.  I had almost no time for the past two weeks to prepare for this and I have to squeeze everything, including the planning, into this one, long session today.  This is the homework equivalent of a software production death march.  I drank coffee and diet soda all day to keep myself going.  I was on quite a buzz.

I took no breaks, not even really for meals, and Dominica sealed herself away in the bedroom and watched the entire third season of The Cosby Show so that I could have the living room office area to myself to work.  Even Oreo mostly avoided me.  Dominica ran interference on everything she could all day.  It really made a difference and at fifteen minutes until midnight I was finally able to turn in my assignment.  What a day.  I definitely feel like a bit of the project was rushed but it couldn’t be helped.  Everything was functional and I am sure that I correctly met the specifications of the assignment.  But I am not sure that I was able to do it with my usual finesse.  But I did what I could and I am proud of my work under the circumstances.  I did not slack off at all and drove as hard as I could all day long.

I was deliriously tired when I wrapped up at midnight.  I was so wired, though, that I couldn’t fall asleep.  Oreo made me take him for a midnight walk and then he and I settled in to watch an hour or more of The Cosby Show before finally retiring for the evening.  Dominica had fallen asleep around eleven.

At two thirty in the morning Oreo woke me up for another trip outside.  I was so tired.  It is amazing that I was even able to take him out at all.  I can’t imagine how he was able to wake me up.  I don’t really remember the walk.  Just the fact that I did it.  Dominica didn’t even wake up or know, until morning, that we had gone out at all.

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