Raemi and the Chimney Fire: Tales from the East Coast

I have a very best friend in the world and her name is Raemi.   Raemi and I met on our first day of college at Boston University, when she walked into our dorm room in her all-black outfit with her dark eyeshadow and eyebrow piercing and found me sitting on my frilly denim bunk in my Gap chinos (which I owned in every shade of khaki) and my Gap polo (four of each in white and pink).  It was love at first sight.  Twenty-five-ish years later, we still exist in entirely disparate universes – she lives an incredibly glamorous jet-setting life on the East Coast, and I am me.  The things we have in common now are the same as they were then: a disdain for even the most minor inconveniences; cheese; and the fact that we both often find ourselves in completely absurd situations of our own doing.

 One of these situations recently happened to Raemi, and I forced her to write it down so I could put it on here.  She doesn’t live in North Dakota.  Her only connection to North Dakota is through me (and my children, who know her as Miss Raemi, the person who sends the best presents).  Also, I’m also pretty sure she’s never been in a Gap.  However, I think a lot of things about me make sense when you hear Raemi’s stories, and so here you go:

A few things you need to know about me.  First, I love bad movies of all kinds, but bad eighties movies hold a special place in my heart.  During college, I subjected Amanda to countless hours of the “cinematic genius” of Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the Bruces: Willis and Campbell.  And second, I hate, hate winter and snow.  This has complicated my life in New England where it snows.  A Lot.    

So on a frigid Friday evening in late February while a Nor-Easter (what we New Englanders call snowstorms) raged outside dumping upwards of 9 inches of snow, I decided to light a fire, open a bottle of wine and finish the Winston Churchill biography I keep insisting to myself is riveting, despite the fact that my Kindle’s recent reads are only “new adult fantasy.”

I’m enjoying my evening, warmed by the crackling fire when I’m yanked from literary bliss by the blare of the fire alarms.  All five of them.  On all three floors of the house.  But, I do not have normal fire alarms, God no. Normal alarms aren’t nearly techy enough for my household.  Rather, I have the hardwired NEST ones that scream like the horns of hell at eardrum shearing decibels so if the fire doesn’t kill you, the sound waves will melt your brain.  Smoke is billowing from the chimney, filling the house and further infuriating the alarms screeching in rage.  Rather than run away or call 911, I am a fighter so I just screamed back at the alarms, in the hope they will silence like a shamed Alexa device – to no avail. Finally, many (many) minutes later, I collected enough wits to call 911.

The 911 operator calmly instructs me and my family to immediately vacate the house.  I commanded my human family to save themselves and then searched for my beloved pets: two evil cats.  I was able to find Otto and whisk him to the safety of a below-freezing car, but DolphLundgren could not be found. 

In my mad hunt for DolphLundgren I grabbed my cat backpack (note from Amanda: I had to have her repeat her ownership of this item to me twice and then send a photo, which is above and below) and when the fire department arrived, I answered the door in my pajamas, boots, and a neon blue bubble backpack.  The firemen urged me to leave the property and move to safety, but I would not leave without DolphLundgren. I ran through the house, checking under couches and in closets, yelling over and over for the six-foot-something, C-list 80’s action star obviously squirreled away somewhere in the house.  It never occurred to me to tell the fire department I was searching for a cat.  They watched on confused.  One fireman nicely suggested that he doubted I’d find Dolph Lundgren under a chair.  Alas, the heroes put out the blaze, (a tiny, but smokey, chimney fire). There was no damage.  The firemen left.  DolphLundgren came out from whatever hole he’d climbed into, and Otto was retrieved from the cold.

The moral of the tale being, you may think it’s funny to give your pet a stupid name, until you yell for him in an emergency, look like a lunatic, and now have to move house to salvage what little self-respect you have left.   

This item was purchased willingly by the human wearing it, and has been utilized unwillingly by a cat who also happens to love being on a leash.

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