Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Julie CAN'T Cook!

In a combined effort by both the Glendale Fire Department and Southwest Gas, Julie had her cooking privileges suspended until further notice. This is a serious problem, as it turns out. The events of last night were both shocking and restrictive. Here is what unfolded...

Dressed like a cat burglar, I carried my recent purchase of roses to my sweet Julie's abode. I'm not exactly sure why I can't just do things like other people, I just can't. After planning my evening down to bringing a flashlight along with me, to use in searching her backyard for contraband, I delivered my flowered offering to sweet Julie at her Glendale location.

I pulled up like the frustrated cat burglar that I was and tiptoed past her front door to the side street near the golf course and then took a right on foot, to the back exposure of her rear yard. Pawpaw was on duty and doing his job by barking and alerting everyone to my presence, but I was mistaken for another coyote that had just lost his way. After heaving the flowers over the rear wall of Julie's home, I quickly ran around front to ring the front door bell, something that I never do. Hey, I've got keys! Julie yelled, "come in" from her position on the sofa, where she was busily reading from her laptop. Her security system had been triggered and I actually thought it was my activating her motion detectors by tossing the flowers over the fence. I was wrong, Julie was researching how to turn off the carbon monoxide First Alert warning device that was screaming it's plastic head off, with a constant although intermittent beeping. In the oven was her passion, chicken Madeira!

Julie explained that her carbon monoxide device was somehow triggered by something and I could tell she was truly concerned about it. We together tackled the job of getting to the bottom of the problem, volleying for who would lead the project. After I studied with no result the annoying device, Julie pulled it off the wall and walked it to the kitchen. I suggested she call the authorities, but who would they be? This was clearly not a problem for 911, Julie called the non-emergency number for the Glendale Fire Department. The firefighter on duty suggested we change the battery, in spite of the fact that it was not indicated. We did that and the triple beep changed to an annoying occasional chirp every 60 seconds, better but not the solution. Frustration set in as Julie threatened to call Phil, her ex-husband as he would surely have the solution. As I felt my masculinity drift away, I let her know in no uncertain way that Phil was NOT the answer. I took over and called the fire department and gave the updated information to the firefighter that answered. He told me that a constant beep every 60 seconds in an indicator that the sensor in the device was defective and not to concern ourselves about it. I asked if they had a devices that could read the amount on carbon monoxide in the air and he told me no, that's the job of Southwest Gas. He then offered to transfer me. In other words, "it's not my job"!

Answering the phone at Southwest Gas was a pleasant young woman that I got along with well. She asked me for the address and the last name on the account. Foolishly I replied with the answer and Julie's last name, Harland. The young lady told me that the name on the account that they have is Morgan. I told her that he's gone and that I'm here with his wife. Julie punched me in the shoulder and I immediately reported the punch to Southwest Gas. She told me that she would have one of their technicians come out to give us a reading on the situation. I pulled out the battery and ate my chicken Madeira. Julie sat outside nursing her asthma attack and peace was restored as soon as that stupid device shut the hell up.

About 2 hours went by and after Julie examined the idea of she and her dog going to a hotel for the night, I suggested we just risk the night and spend it right here, waiting for the technician to arrive.

Enter Southwest Gas, a young man that was a recent victim of a shaved head. I always wonder if they had ring worm when I see that, but it's just a sign of my age. The technician went back to his truck and got his device that read the amount of carbon monoxide in the air. After going to the spot that once held the annoying plastic piece of crap, he announced he was truly getting a reading, leaving the firefighter with egg on his under reacting face. As he walked closer to the kitchen and the oven the readings rang out an alarm! We lit the oven and the reading skyrocketed into the danger zone. There was in fact a reason for First Alert to be alerting us!

As the technician got closer to the oven, Julie's face was whitening and when he asked if he could go inside the oven she turned a weird shade of pale. I didn't know what to expect! When the oven was opened it exposed a combination of foods in there while Julie listed off the reasons for it's existence. The caterers did it, the self-cleaning device is broken, the dog ate her homework and so on. Southwest Gas, in his infinite wisdom, explained how uncooked food works and how it creates carbon monoxide in the home. I liken it to barbecuing in the house without proper ventilation. I suggested he write her up and give her a stiff fine. Julie once again punched me in the shoulder! That's when the technician took out his ticket book, to my surprise and started writing her up. He was required to disconnect her stove from the gas line and give her a stiff reprimand, which he did. With her head down, Julie took the verbal beating. I knew the true punishment would be that she can't cook, her passion. The technician pointed out that they invented the microwave for people like her and took his leave. Jules, a beaten woman spent the rest of her evening with her head down in shame, with the ever present oven pulled out from the wall, as a reminder of what could have happened. Carbon monoxide poisoning is nothing to fool around with. I was just happy that the oven didn't contain the body parts of her ex-husband!

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