Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Fire Drill Fail

The fire department recommends families should practice a home fire drill every three months.  Since having kids, we have had (maybe?) three home fire drills.  Those few times we have actually planned a family fire drill, we have all gotten outside quickly and efficiently.  We have met at the mailbox and applauded ourselves on just how safe we were.

That was until last Thursday night.  If Fire Drills were graded, we would have received an F!  For some unknown reason at 3:00AM, our amazingly loud, painful-to-the-ears, alarm started going off. Scott and I burst out of bed in complete confusion.  MAKE THAT SOUND STOP!!!

1-Minute Mark: We had just installed a home security system, which was having tons of issues, so I immediately thought it was the culprit.  I tap in the code, the screen says "Alarm Disabled." The ringing just keeps blaring!!!  I type the code again, and again, and again.  Absolutely, no luck!  MAKE THAT TERRIBLE SOUND STOP!!!

5-Minute Mark:  Scott screams at me over the horrible beeping, "Do you think it's the fire alarm?"  That is when we both take a moment to actually listing to the noise.  In between, the excruciating beeping, a voice is also screaming "FIRE." Why are we such idiots that we didn't hear it yelling "fire?"  MAKE THAT HORRIBLE SOUND STOP!!!

15-Minute Mark: Jaley and Sarah are up.  Yes, it took them that long to wake up.  I usher them outside, to escape the horrible beeping.

20-Minute Mark: Where the heck is Mick?  He is still sound asleep in his bed.  This noise is loud enough to wake the dead, but my son is still snoring away.  I usher him outside, too.  CRAP, MAKE THAT SOUND STOP!!!

25-Minute Mark:  Where did I put the giant stack of owner's manuals the builder gave me when we moved in?  Why didn't I read all those manuals?  Now, with a scarf tied around my ears, I find those manuals and even find the one for a fire alarm.  Why is it for a different brand?  Crap, it is the manual for the fire alarm at our last house. F$@#, MAKE THAT SOUND STOP!!!

30-Minute Mark:  I find the right owner's manual.  Scott hits the button to silence the alarm, and for 30 seconds it is quiet.  Then, it starts again.  F$@#, , F$#@, F$#@, MAKE THAT SOUND STOP!!!

45-Minute Mark:  With ladder in tow, we hit the silence button on every single unit in the house.  The blaring noise continues.  We try to find an answer on Google; no luck.  The blaring continues.  PLEASE GOD, MAKE THAT SOUND STOP!!!

60-Minute Mark:  Apparently, the prayer worked.  The blaring stopped.

So there you have it.  The worst fire drill ever.  It took us 20-minutes to get the kids out of the house and we never got ourselves or the pets out.  What a lesson. The fire department is right, we need to practice more and be ever thankful it wasn't an actual fire.

Beyond our malfunctioning fire alarms, life is running pretty smooth.  The kids were back to school this week.  Middle school, 6th grade, for Sarah.  Kindergarten for Mick. And an upper class, 4th grade, for Jaley.  At the Welcome Back Parent Coffee this morning, the school's safety officer proudly announced they had a successful fire drill yesterday.  They evacuated the entire school (700 people) in 2 minutes, 43 seconds.  I need him to come train at our house.

That is life in MomZania.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Portland - Friends, Flugtag, Falls, and One Funny Train Ride

We just got back from a fast, but fun-filled trip to Portland.  The motivation for and the best part of the trip was seeing our friends, the Millers.  We hadn't seen them since 1999, but some friendships stay strong regardless of the number of years between visits.  Thanks, Amy and Brook.  

While hanging with the Millers, we tried to squeeze in as much of the Portland vibe as we could.  Food carts - definitely.  Hiking through gorges and swimming under waterfalls - absolutely.  Reading books at Powell's - surely.  Enjoying a great micro brew and standing in line to Voodoo donuts - Hell ya.   

Most unusual was the Flugtag.  Don't know what the Flugtag is?  Ask any Red Bull drinking 20-year old.  It is Red Bull's challenge to actually give people wings.  Teams descend upon one lucky city each year with human propelled contraptions with the hope of flying, though none of the teams we saw actually flew.  They just launched off a 30' platform and splashed into the Willamette River with great pomp.  Even without flight it was a fun afternoon of spectactular splashes.  

As with all trips, there is no destination without a journey.  Our journey to Portland may not have been have half the fun, but it was definitely half the funny and a journey we will never forget.  It started with my 'great' idea of taking the overnight train to Portland (Scott needed to work and wisely choose to fly in later).  In theory, the kids and I would board at 8pm and be magically whisked north to Oregon in time for afternoon sightseeing the next day.  Except, it didn't quite play out that way.  It started with a 5-hour delay in San Jose and the kids sleeping in a train station.  Once we finally started rolling came the motion sickness.  Nothing says 6am wake up call, like the sound of a child retching.  With a little medicine, a little food, and a lot of clean up, we all got to feeling better.  Then, came the realization that most of our electronic entertainment wasn't working.  Then, came the broken engine.  Then, came the delays because our late train had to yield to every other train.  Then, came a day with record breaking heat which made the train slow to 40 mph.  And finally, many, many hours late we finally arrived in Portland. While we were ecstatic to be off the train, it was a horribly, hilarious voyage.  We are still laughing about it.

That is life in MomZania.

Friday, July 24, 2015

2015 Summer of Fun

Summer is quickly passing by.  I just got an email from the school about the start of the school year.  I don't know who is more disappointed me or the kids.  I am thoroughly enjoying this "what are we going to do today" summer lifestyle.  

While the days of summer may be numbered, we have been maximizing the ones so far.  Since we were finally moved in to our home, I deemed 2015 the summer of fun.  I was going to make good on all those times I've said, "we should get together soon."  I was also steadfast that we would explore some of the amazing sights of California.  People come from all over the world to visit, we could at least hop in the car and drive a couple of hours. 
From Atlantic (still awesome) to Pacific (still frigid), it has been a busy summer, with more fun coming before the first school bell rings. We camped in Big Sur enjoying some amazing hikes and beautiful coasts, but with weather in the 50's-60's we only got our toes wet.  The girls headed to camp for a week in the Santa Cruz mountains.  While they were away, Mick and I darted off to the Lone Star State to hang in Houston with my great friend Angela.  The trip was a wish for me, but since Angela has three boys it was epic for Mick.  Thanks for hosting, Angela

Most recently, we were off on a North Carolina odyssey.  We had our annual 4th of July family extravaganza in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  There were fireworks and card board boat races. There was zip lining and pool time.  There was amazing BBQ and wonderful sweet ice tea.  Most importantly, there was family. Next up, was time hanging in our old 'hood in Cary.  Nana opened up her home to us and we visited tons of friends.  We were reminded once again what a special neighborhood we lived in - great people in a great place.  

To top is off, we ditched the cars and returned to the amazing, golf cart only Bald Head Island.  We were joined by Nana, Mimi, Poppa, the Fiedlers, and even a quick visit from the Olivas.  We played on the beach and in the pool.  We tried out paddle boarding and decided windy days aren't the best for beginners.  The girls hit the waves on surf boards and even I took a turn hanging ten.  I did grow up in Florida after all.  Everyone agreed the most special moment was witnessing a nest of endangered loggerhead sea turtles rise up and make their way to the sea.  It was truly magical.  

Next up is a long in the making trip to Portland to visit the Millers and then camping in Yosemite.  Like I said, it is the summer of fun.  All the stuff of the real world piling up in the background.  

That is life in MomZania.