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Happy Birthday from the Fire Department

August 7, 2007

After spending a wonderful evening with an old high school friend, her mother and her sister at my now-stapled Manhattan restaurant Cibo (which is becoming my upscale version of Harrington’s Bar & Grill – the only two places I go to with people from out of town. Must explore city more fully.), I took one of the last trains home to New Jersey.

The late-night travel meant I didn’t leave Secaucus Junction until midnight, so I arrived at my house until approximately 12:30 a.m. As I jabbed the doorknob with my key to get inside my apartment, I heard a chirp. I was on the other side of the door, so it was very faint and I had no idea where it was coming from.

Inside, I heard it again. A very quick, sharp chirp.

Then I dropped my purse on the table and went to the bathroom. And I heard it again.

And again, and again, and then again.

Finally, I saw (or rather heard) where it was coming from. It was my carbon monoxide alarm. The light was flashing and it was chirping.

Oh, fabulous. Just what I need at one in the morning on my birthday.

My smoke detector at my studio apartment last spring had a silencer on the alarm (which I used frequently since the smoke detector was right by the kitchen and would go off each and every time I cooked chicken), so I tried to do that with the monoxide detector. I poked and prodded the machine. I noticed a small hatch on the front, and while I thought it was just the batteries, I tried to open it in case the silencer was inside.

Bang. Bang. Tap, tap, tap. Scratch.


Off comes the smoke detector and onto the floor it goes in a million tiny pieces. Well, okay, not a million. More like 5. The batteries roll under the ironing board and hardware inside the smoke detector is now laying on the ground outside the smoke detector.

Uh… whoops.

I tried snapping everything back together again, but every time I tried to put the last battery, the chirping would start again, and loudly. Instead of chirp, pause, chirp, it was BEEEEEEP. BEEEEEP. BEEEEEP. BEEEEEEP.

Talk about scary.

I have never had a carbon monoxide detector before, so I didn’t know what could be setting it off. So I called 911. I told them I didn’t have an emergency, just a question, and when I explained what was going on the operator said he would send someone out to take a look. “Better to be safe, than sorry,” he said.

Throw the clothes back on and out to the front stoop I went.

Minutes later a police car pulls up along the parking lot. I wave. He pulls over. He takes a look at the apartment and then we go outside to wait for the fire department.

Yes, the police and the fire department. That’s how exciting my carbon monoxide alarm is in my town.

So the police officer (who’s name is Mario, I learn later) takes my information.


“Allison. Blass. B-L-A-S-S.”

“What’s the address?”

I give him the address.

“What’s your date of birth?”

“Today,” I sigh.

After making small talk about moving, New Jersey, work and my birthday (which apparently makes him feel old since I just turned 22 and he’s over the hill at 26), a fire truck (a baby one, it was more like a fire van) comes rolling down my street. With the lights on. Sheesh. It’s a god-forsaken carbon monoxide detector. There are no flames engulfing the apartment complex. Are the lights really necessary?

The guy gets out, asks me a couple of questions and heads inside. Through the window I can see (and hear) him play with the detector which continues to beep obnoxiously.

He comes outside and tells me the carbon monoxide detector is broken.

No, really? It flew across the room and cracked open – of course it’s broken!

Then he tells me that because I haven’t been using the kitchen (which is run on gas), the batteries were probably failing and that’s why it was beeping.

But they won’t know until more freaking people come to my apartment at one in the morning. Minutes later, another fire truck comes rolling down my street with its lights flashing. Which they decide to leave on. Mario teases me about having to buy the neighbors brownies for waking them up. Three men hop out and off they go into my apartment to test the air. They return, just minutes later, to tell me that the air tested negative and it probably was just the monoxide detector.

I’ll of course need to buy a new one.

Then I’m told that a man from the public service department will be coming out to check the work of the first department.

So let’s do a head count for those who are just joining us:

  • Mario, the police officer
  • The man in the fire van
  • And not one
  • Not two
  • But three men in the fire truck

So the public service man will be the SIXTH person to come to my apartment to tell me nothing is wrong with my apartment. At two in the morning.

I bid farewell to my saviors (::rolls eyes::), but before I can get too comfortable while waiting for the Pointless Check-up Man to arrive, Mr. Police Officer Mario comes knocking at my door.

Now this is actually where it gets good.

So he tells me he needs my phone number. “For our records,” he says. Of course you do.

I give him my phone number.

“Well, you should let me know if you want to hang out sometime,” he says. I nod. “Except you don’t have a way to contact me.” This is true, I think. “But I have your phone number.”

“You do have my phone number,” I agree.

“I’ll give you a call.”

“Okay!” Walk inside. Close door.

Wait a second…

Did I just unintentionally give my phone number to an actually pretty hot police officer at one-thirty in the morning while wearing only capris and a camisole, with no shoes and no make-up?


Needless to say it was one of the more bizarre evenings of my life, but if last night is any indication, my Year 22 is shaping up to be a very interesting one indeed.

  1. August 7, 2007 7:14 PM

    Hmm, at least he made the whole thing interesting! 🙂

  2. August 7, 2007 8:05 PM

    Wow! What a night! Topped off by a guy asking you out!

  3. Allison permalink*
    August 7, 2007 8:14 PM

    No, no, he didn’t ask me out. He just said he would call me. I’m still waiting for my phone to ring.

  4. August 7, 2007 8:21 PM

    I’ve been so behind in reading blogs lately, this certainly made up for it! Late happy birthday, Allison. Can’t wait to hear more details after he calls and you go on a date! 😉

  5. mama permalink
    August 7, 2007 9:09 PM

    Hey kiddo,
    happy belated b’day. From sounds of it….my baby doesnt need a mom anymore….lol
    I am happy you are adjusting to big city life. I am going back home and probably getting married next month. Pray for me.
    love ya

  6. August 7, 2007 9:38 PM


  7. August 7, 2007 9:44 PM

    Wow-what a morning! I take it you didn’t need caffeine to stay awake,with all that going on..

  8. Allison permalink*
    August 7, 2007 9:48 PM


    Well, I was pretty awake when it was all going on, but now I’m freaking exhausted!

  9. August 7, 2007 9:48 PM

    Did you get his badge number? In case, you need to contact him. 🙂

    I’ve had a carbon monoxide scare at our last house. I think we had a lot of people come out and it WAS a furnace problem, so I’m glad we had the alarm.

  10. Allison permalink*
    August 7, 2007 9:50 PM


    There was a woman, I think in Oregon but I’m not sure, who actually *called* 911 in order to talk to the police officer who had just been to her house. She thought he was cute and wanted to talk to him, but instead she was arrested for improper use of dialing 911! So, no, I never would contact him through the police department. I don’t need a date that badly!

  11. August 7, 2007 11:12 PM

    A hot police officer named Mario. Nice one, Allison.

    And I have it on good authority that Babbo is also an excellent place with reasonable (for NYC) prices – If you try it, let me know how it is. Craftbar is also supposed to be excellent.

  12. August 7, 2007 11:47 PM

    What an adorable story! 22 is looking like a good year indeed 🙂

  13. RichW permalink
    August 8, 2007 1:43 AM

    I don’t know. Sounds like a “Summer of Love” to me.

  14. Wendy permalink
    August 8, 2007 2:40 AM

    You will soon learn the that it is typical of NJ. My family is on the fire company for our town. We had a fire in a house down the street from us. One of the firemen went to the wrong house because it was so foggy. Well you may have picked up a cop boyfriend in the deal. Waiting for more details on the 18th.

  15. August 8, 2007 9:31 AM

    Even if Mario doesn’t call you, you’ll always have this great story to remember your 22nd birthday by:)

  16. Allison permalink
    August 8, 2007 1:57 PM

    Happy Belated Bday, Allison! I’m glad everythign turned out okay with the detector and it was just a false alarm. You’ll have to let us know if Mario calls!

  17. August 8, 2007 6:56 PM

    Great to meet you in Chicago! Twas a great couple of days, yes? I’m wondering if you know of food blogs by people with diabetes. I’ve been struck that while the celiac community is full of bloggers, I haven’t really come across any representing diabetics. The only one I know of is, who was a ‘regular’ food blogger (and still is, of course…) before being diagnoses as pre-diabetes.

  18. August 10, 2007 5:00 PM

    A belated «¡Feliz Cumpliaños!» to you too!

    Glad everything was safe, and I hope Mario gives you a ring soon.

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