“detector” doesn’t even look like a word anymore

Today turned out to be a pretty excellent day off. I said a sleepy good-bye to Kevin as he took off at oh-dark-hundred to bike to work. I did some grocery shopping and laundry and dishes and still somehow had enough time to have a leisurely lunch while reading “Goblet of Fire.”

You guys remember the snowstorm of ’08, right? The entire Pacific Northwest got buried under over a foot of snow right in the middle of finals. Everything was canceled and students fled in every direction, trying to get home before another night of snow stranded them. I remember being very relieved that I didn’t have to do my Japanese final. Anyway, that day was to epically awful winter as today was to Ray Bradbury’s autumn. The skies were clear, the temperature was in the low 60s, and there was that delicious October bite in the air. Since we’re destined for about five months of gray skies starting any day now, I found excuses to get outside. I took more trips than necessary while doing the laundry. I drove with the windows down. And at Winco, I spotted the seasonal displays and realized what today needed.

Hot cider.

So around 2, I text Kevin informing him that we’d be going to the park after work. His job starts at 7 and he takes half-hour lunches so he can leave at 3:30, which is pretty handy for both of us. I picked him up and drove to the riverfront park, and we sat for a while planning what kind of wedding cake we wanted and sipping our thermoses of cider. And life was good.

And then I set out to make dinner and set off every smoke detector in the apartment and almost ruined everything forever.

I tried a new fajita recipe from my favorite stir-fry cookbook. As someone who as a rule hates peppers and onions, fajitas are usually not my first choice dish, but these were flippin’ delicious. It took me a while to figure out why they tasted so good, but I realized they taste exactly like World Wrapp’s teryaki chicken wrap, which I used to get all the time when I went to the mall with friends.

(Teriyaki? Fajitas? I know. I have no answers for you.)

The problem was that the pan smoked a lot, and one of our smoke detectors basically has asthma.

Smoke detector: “WHAAAT. BEEEEP. WHAT IS THAAAAAT.”

Me: “Aw *$&@.”

Smoke detector: “WHAAAAT. IT’S SMOKEYYYYY. BEEEP. WHAT ARE YOU DOOOOOOING.”

Kevin ran off to wave a towel at it while I threw the veggies and the pork together and stirred frantically, desperate to keep anything from actually burning.

Kevin: “It’s not even smokey over here!”

Me: “I know! Just…set up the fan or something.”

Smoke detector: “NOOOO. BEEEEP. IT’S SMOKEEEEEEY. DEFINITELY. BEEEEP.”

After some rummaging in our newly-organized closets (we switched back to our “winter bedroom” this weekend), we managed to find the fan. Kevin took over stirring while I consulted the book for the next step.

Smoke detector: “OH HEEEYYYY. BEEEEP. STILL SMOKEEEEEY.”

Me: “AUGH YOU HAVE THE FAN NOW WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM.”

I ran off to fan at it again, only to discover that a second smoke detector had gone off.

Smoke detector #2: “BEEEEP. OVER HEEEEERE.”

Me: *fans at the hallway*

Smoke detector #2: “NOOO. BEEEEP. IN HEEEERE. WHERE IT’S SMOKEEEEEY.”

Turns out it was the bedroom smoke detector, a whole two feet away from the hallway one, which just hung there docilely.

Smoke detector #3: “Hey, don’t look at me, dude. Anything on fire? No? Then we’re good.”

I flapped my towel at the bedroom ceiling and howled for Kevin to come open the bedroom window. Finally, silence – except for the three fans we’d just turned on to try to solve the problem. We sat down for dinner with four windows open, a ceiling fan whirring overhead, and the kitchen fan buzzing ineffectually.

But the fajitas turned out great – in fact, that was the first recipe I’ve ever successfully used cornstarch in. (You Have Discovered Thickened Sauces! +10 Grown-Up Points!)

Unfortunately our apartment is now really really cold. Time for more cider!

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