Startled Awake

At 3 a.m., we were startled awake by the smoke alarm blaring and screaming “FIRE, FIRE.” It stopped very quickly, like someone had pushed the test button, but no one was here but hubby and me and we were both soundly asleep. Needless to say, I bolted from bed, I didn’t see flames, didn’t smell smoke, but still went into every room, touched every outlet, checked the utility area of the finished basement, and the circuit breaker boxes, peered into the garage, even stepped out on the rear deck to look at the heat pump and to determine if I smelled smoke as many of the folks up here heat with wood, some indoors, some in the outdoor wood furnaces. There was no indication of fire, no smoke visible or by smell, so back into bed with the adrenalin pumping. The detector in our bedroom was flashing a red light every 10 seconds.

After a few hours of restless tossing and turning, I finally dozed back off, the alarms silent, the red light flashing.

A google search of the manual indicated the flashing light was a low battery indicator, but there was no accompanying chirp, so I guess it triggered the alarm. The alarms themselves are only about a year old. Son 1 when he was here one weekend replaced all the 16 year old alarms with new ones, but the batteries hadn’t been changed since then. Most of the alarms are easy for me to reach with or without a low stool, but the two in the loft and our bedroom are very high. The 8 foot ladder is a challenge for my senior body with achy shoulders, but changing those batteries was a necessity so hauling it upstairs had to be done. It requires negotiating it around the stair railing and not knocking the wall, avoiding ceiling fans and hanging light fixtures once it is upstairs to climb up.

During the restless early morning hours of tossing and turning, wondering what we would do if there really was a fire and could my anxious brain remember everything for the insurance company. I know there are some very, very old photos from prior houses with some of the furniture in them stashed in the safe as an inventory, but this morning as soon as I was up and dressed, I created an album in my Google photos of pictures taken at various times of the rooms in this house and filling in with photos this morning of areas not found and uploaded them to the cloud. To accompany the photos, a Goggle Doc written inventory by room is in the works. These could be accessed by us on any computer at any time should we ever have to prove what was in the house.

With the batteries changed, the light quit flashing. With the morning efforts underway, my mind is more settled. We do have fire extinguishers throughout the house, in easy reach, but hope never to have to use them.

This is third time I have been startled awake by smoke alarms. The first was in my single days when my Dad and I bought a duplex that I lived in the upper half and we rented out the lower half. My tenants were less than stellar, playing loud music all night, and it turned out doing hard drugs down there, setting a chair on fire with a lit cigarette (before laws that prohibited smoking in rentals) after falling into a drug induced stupor and setting off the alarm. I had never heard one before, they were a new invention then. The second time woke us and our three children and it turned out to be a carbon monoxide alarm had failed. We ended up going to the all night pharmacy and buying a new one to make sure we didn’t actually have a carbon monoxide issue.

Hopefully, this will not happen again, but I was one battery short of replacing all six so tomorrow one more will be acquired and that one is a bit more challenging to change, but not as bad as the upstairs two.

Week end Olio – 10/31/2022

Every morning that there isn’t extra family in the house, I prepare myself a protein/berry smoothie. As I only make about a cup, the equipment of choice is an ancient (more than two decades old) Magic Bullet. This morning it quit. The motor still runs, but the plastic cog that spins the blade in the jar exploded into many tiny shards, contained below the blender cup, but rendering the motor useless. I can’t say it owed me anything, but this morning’s smoothie was not stellar as the frozen berries did not get blended into the liquid, ground seeds, and PB2 powder.

When I told hubby of its demise, he suggested I should replace it. Yesterday while in the grocer, I saw a “smoothie” maker that was basically a plastic jar with an attached immersion blender. This morning as we were headed to town to try to get our daily walk before the rain resumed, a look at that tool was in order. As I was about to add it to my basket, sitting back on the shelf near it was the newer version of the Magic Bullet (twice the price of the immersion blender). I hope the new one holds up as long as the old one did. It comes with one less blender blade and one more blender container, but otherwise looks very much like it’s predecessor.

Though not a big fan of electric small appliances, this one certainly gets nearly daily use.

And today was soap making day for us, and to have a few bars available at the Christmas Bazaar at the museum in early December. A couple of batches were made and are curing. It is a messy proposition that even after cleaning up requires an additional day for the pot and tools to finish saponifying before they can be cleaned tomorrow.

With daughter available to check in on hubby, I was able to attend a Fall Festival at a local State Park on Saturday to be the demonstration spinner in Colonial Costume and sell some of my wares, the next to last event before the cottage business shuts down in December.

The day was gorgeous, a couple of hats, some fingerless mitts, and a skein of yarn were sold along with a few body care products. November’s spindle challenge is using some of the yarns that have been spun and a couple of hats and more fingerless mitts will be knit from some yarn that has been previously spun and made available at the Christmas Bazaar.

Another routine week ahead with two trips to “the city” for appointments. Today is rainy and no walk was done, but time to clean up from the weekend and make the soap that I have been putting off for a couple of weeks.

OLIO – Oct. 8, 2022

Olio: a miscellaneous collection

We made it another week. Yesterday was the cardiology team member meeting, who has referred us to an at risk cardiology specialist and we await that appointment. This upcoming week is a return to the Urology team for update and discussion on how to move forward. Appetite is improving and daily walks, albeit much more slowly than a month ago and not nearly as long, but up to a couple of miles per day are happening. The walks wear him out, but stamina and muscle mass take time to rebuild. We strive to enjoy every minute we have together, never knowing if it will be 15 minutes more or 10 years more. Hug those you love, express to them your love for them. Don’t take life for granted.

The berry box was mulched with another 4 bags of Cypress mulch over the cardboard. Hopefully that will keep the weeds at bay while the ones outside the box are continuously hacked back, hand pulled, and removed from the garden. Tonight there is a freeze warning in place, probably signalling the end of the season for the vegetable garden and most of the flowers. Some poppy seeds and milkweed seeds will be sown for spring germination in the flower garden. The bed that hours and hours were spent pulling grass and weeds is sprouted back up. Since more soil is needed in that bed, seeds won’t be sown there this fall for the spring, but rather in flower barrels. Perhaps that bed will eventually just be very heavily mulched and the perennials and spring sown seed just placed around the bed on the mulch in barrels and large pots. It would certainly be easier to care for it, but the grass in there needs to be gone first.

Because one of the vending events that I thought I would participate in this fall didn’t happen and a second one is occurring as I write this, that I wasn’t comfortable attending yet, there is only one more event to try to sell off the remaining Cabin Crafted goods. Forty bars of soap went home with Son 1 last weekend for him to use as gifts, some soap is saved for a local friend that always gets her soap from me. Because the is gone, remaining goods are being relabelled without the shop name. I wonder if I should maintain the domain name so that the blog doesn’t have to have a name change. As long as I own the domain name, it should be good. There are a couple of braids of wool that should be spun before the Christmas event to place in the sale basket of yarn.

The end of the month is scheduled to be busy as a living history spinner and as a “Spirit” at Wilderness Road Regional Museum and at a heritage event at Claytor Lake State Park. Each of these events are just a few hours each. My wheel will be dusted off and brought out to play as only spindles have been used for the past couple of years. At the Museum, I can generally borrow one of the spindle wheels and not have to carry my wheel with me.

The past month has really made me re-evaluate what is important to me and has resulted in some major destashing 0f goods for sale and donation. It has made me realize that we don’t need “stuff,” we need people. I am ever so grateful to my children for their support, for my friends who have reached out offering emotional and physical support.

To end on a more positive note, we noticed a few days ago, that the bronze frog that is one of the 16 Frogs of Blacksburg has been replaced with a new one. We were angry and upset when the one on the Huckleberry Trail was stolen after a Virginia Tech Football game a couple of years ago and never found. It was amazing that it could be taken as it was on a concrete pier about 8-10″ in diameter and a couple of feet long. The new one is on a slab. Hopefully it will remain there for walkers to enjoy.