Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sound the Alarms!

I have no photo with this post. And, dear readers, it is going to be that way for about a week. I am borrowing a computer and don't want to (or more truthfully, don't know how to) load a picture on my blog without loading it on this computer. But I have taken some nice juicy ones and I'll post them later in the summer. 

But for now, it will just be a story. A juicy story. (And I am not sure why I keep calling things juicy except for the late hour.) 

We are doing a little house sitting while we are in the US. But there were a couple of days between houses that we needed to stay in a hotel. Everything went fine until the 4th of July. Firstborn had been at camp, but had just returned. So for that one night, we had all 5 kids and 2 adults in our room. I do realize this is not legal, but we just strolled in non-chalantly and it seemed to be fine. There was no free breakfast or else it might have been an issue (My kids don't understand the meaning of 'continental breakfast' and would likely have eaten 5 croissants each.) 

So, I bathed everyone in assembly line fashion, sent them through the tooth brushing checkpoint, made sure everyone had used the potty, and they were promptly tucked in bed. After all, we had baby brother's dedication in our church the next morning and everyone needed to be fresh for that. We had a few "She's touching me." and "Get off my covers." issues. It was at that point that we realized we had put the 2 largest Campbell kids in the bed together. The wee ones were on floor pallets and were already sound asleep. So my very rational Campbell Clansman promptly placed the sleeping, tiny ones in the bed, then transferred the larger ones to the floor pallets. There, now she is not touching you. 

Soon, all drifted off. Campbell Clansman was on the laptop. I had washed my face and was ready to crawl in  my bed when the loudest fire alarm I have ever heard in my life sounded. Campbell Clansman scrambled up on a rolling desk chair to try to take it off the wall (thinking perhaps it was faulty). Then we peeked in the hallway and a chorus of alarms were sounding. It was literally so loud I had to cover my ears. I felt like I was back in 8th grade at a Rick Springfield concert. Only I was trying to keep 5 sleeping babies asleep also. 

Two kids woke up and 3 slept. How they slept through it still baffles me. We did have a hearing screening at the school, and they did pass. But still, I wondered, are they deaf?! Campbell Clansman took off down the hallway. It was then we saw the smoke. People started evacuating. Of course I'd have to evacuate. And wake up all those sleeping babies. Ugh. I shook their comatose like bodies and somehow managed to wedge Crocs on everyone's feet (after all, if I sent them out barefoot I'd have to wash 10 feet again). We filed down the stairs along with the 2 old black ladies in granny caps across the hall from me. All I had to say was, "They were all sleeping." and I got plenty of consolation. Perhaps the most devastating thing about it all was that one of my daughters (who shall remain nameless) had gone to bed without underwear. After her bath, I could not find the clean pair I had left out, and we'd already loaded that luggage in the car. I promised her I'd go out and get it before church the next morning. Bless her heart, she tugged that gown down and cut her eyes back and forth the entire time. She lived my worst nightmare. A fire alarm when I am not properly clothed. 

As it turns out, someone (all I can think here is that they must have been drunk) decided to set off fireworks in their room. So it wasn't really a fire. It was just smoke. But as a good mom, I decided to use it as a training opportunity. See, girls,  we are taking the stairs, not the elevator. See, girls, we leave behind our things. Yes, they'll call the fire department. Yes, cover your ears. This is not a drill. And Firstborn dutifully piped up the entire time. "Stop. Drop. And Roll. Mama taught me that when she was my Kindergarten teacher." Over and over and over. Soon, we were given the all clear, and we returned. But not before I told the hotel manager that the Fire Marshall better give that soul a talkin' to, or I would. (Any moms out there hearing me? They were all 5 asleep!!!!) 

It didn't actually take them long to drift back asleep. And I suspect Perma-baby never really woke up. She was moving her legs, but not really her eyes, and I think she was back in her bed and asleep before I even got everyone else in the room. 

So, what is the moral to the story? Never stay in a hotel on the 4th with someone who doesn't have the good sense to set off fireworks outside? Keep your Crocs handy and ready to slip on in case of a fire? Always wear underwear to bed? Any of those could apply, I suppose.


The Fish Family said...

what a great story and what a nightmare just the same. That is too funny!! I think I would have been a grizzly bear myself!!!

SevenSwansaswimming said...

That is so funny, well not having to get everyone up! It is so hard to get everyone to sleep in a hotel!

Melanie Keffer said...

Poor Sara! The waking everybody up is not the part I would dread . . . You can tell how many years it has been since I had a baby-age baby . . . . It would be getting all of them a place to sleep in one hotel room. I have a fetish about floors even in the nicest hotels. Ask my kids what I put them through making them keep shoes or houseshoes on their feet at all times when we are in a hotel. I used to choose hotels by the amount of rollaway beds we could fit in a room!

And the poor darling who was missing her underwear! I would have made Dave unpack the car for the underwear! :)) I know! Bless her heart!

At least they were all so sleepy they went back to sleep easily. Like you, the fireworks would not have been funny and pity the poor soul who set them off! :)

I never told you when Kathleen was a freshman how she evacuated her entire dorm building (400-something students) by ironing clothes, did I? Kathleen proceeded to clean the iron before ironing her clothes. It was late enough that most students were asleep. She said she heard a bell and wondered what it was. She just happened to look out the window and saw everyone in the courtyard in their PJ's and thought, "Hmm, that is weird. Wonder what is happening?" She kept ironing away until her RA found her while checking the building. She never paid attention to all the smoke she was creating. :)

Maybe your fireworks culprit was a college freshman also??? Sounds like it. :)


Sarahbeth said...

this is a great story, Sarah! You know what? Our smoke alarms went off this very week at 1am, every alarm in the house-they're all connected like that. One in EVERY bedroom. AND NOT ONE OF MY FOUR EVEN STIRRED!!! We still don't know why they went off, but we do know that if there ever is a fire, we need to hasten to our kids' rooms to wake them!

John Stone said...

we stayed at a hotel in seattle this weekend - so the first thing i did was read the fire safety instructions to everyone and point out the exits. i guess it's really true that it could happen to us.

Anonymous said...

We just got back from a week in San Antonio and the fire alarm went off at 2:45 in the morning!WE all had to troop out because they are under a drought warning :(
The 'young people' looked great because they had just come in :) and i felt so old with my 'housecoat' and sleepy expression!
Loved getting to see you, Sara - even though it was just a few words~
The Lord has truly answered your prayer not to be a missionary by yourself!! :)

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