Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Good Morning: Part One

When the alarm went off at 2am at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Boise, Idaho early Friday morning, I naturally became a bit disoriented. I thought it was the alarm clock going off, even though we didn't set the alarm clock. I jumped out of bed to find the offending timepiece, but could not locate it. The illuminated read-out on the wall thermostat said it was 72 degrees. I assumed I'd found the clock and that it was 7:20am. I began a futile search for the "off" button on the thermostat.

"I think it's the emergency alarm," Robert said. And he was right. A very soothing lady's voice began issuing instructions. "This is an emergency. Please evacuate the hotel. Use the stairs. Do not use the elevator."

Stairs? I didn't remember seeing any stairs. Besides, we were on the 8th floor.

Ethan, Jonah and Isaac were sawing logs. I ran to Jonah and said, "Wake up! We have to go now." (I didn't want to worry him you see, so I left out the details about us possibly being trapped on the 8th floor of a burning building.)

Jonah was blissfully unresponsive.

"We need to take our valuables." Robert said, running into the bathroom. (I can only assume to check for valuables.)

I grabbed my purse and threw a coat on over my pajamas. I considered grabbing my laptop but figured it was probably more important to wake the kids first.

That's when a second voice issued forth from the PA system. It was a man's voice. "We apologize for the inconvenience. This is a false alarm. The fire department has been notified and we are trying to get the alarm to turn off. Do not evacuate."

What luck! I didn't have to walk down 8 flights of stairs and out into the cold Boise night in my PJ's, and would be spared the difficult choice between saving my kids or my laptop. And the kids slept through the whole thing.

Despite the continual screeching of the alarm, I got back in bed.

Robert climbed on a chair and tried to dismantle the alarm.

"I'm sure there is some rule against that." I said.

"Get me a knife and I can remove the speaker." He said.

Instead he opted for a strategically placed pillow which muffled the sound quite nicely--as long as Robert stayed perched on the chair, holding the pillow against the wall.

The the alarm finally stopped, Robert got down from the chair, the lights went out, and sleep was the only thing on my mind.

Just as I was dozing off, the alarm sounded again. The soothing voiced woman instructed us to use the stairs and leave the building.

Ethan woke up.

The man's voice returned, assuring us there was no need to evacuate and that they would turn the alarm off just as soon as they could. The alarm continued and Ethan began loudly protesting the disruption.

Isaac woke up.

The alarm stopped.

Moments later, the alarm went back on and we started the whole "evacuate-don't-evacuate" routine all over again.

We heard fire engine sirens approaching.

Ethan shouted at the alarm to go off.

Isaac started crying.

The alarm stopped again.

This scene repeated at least 3 more times before finally quieting down for the rest of the night.

A few hours later, at 6am Ethan got up and started badgering Robert and I to get out of bed so we could get down to the complimentary breakfast. He continued badgering for the next 2 hours, with out mercy for our missing hour of sleep, until we got showered, dressed and finally, out the door. Ethan and Isaac filled Jonah in on all the excitement he missed over little cups of yogurt, Froot Loops and western omelets.

"Do you think they won't charge us for last night because of the alarm?" Ethan asked.

Robert was sure they would charge us. It would be quite a hit if they offered every guest in the hotel a free night, he reasoned. And after all, the alarm was meant to keep us safe. A false alarm was certainly a small inconvenience we'd all have to endure to be assured greater protection.

At check out, the desk clerk asked Robert how his stay had been.

"Good, except for the alarm last night," he said.

And thanks to Robert's simple and honest feedback, we got a free night at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Boise Idaho and only had to pay $10 for parking.

Which made elevator humiliation and hot chocolate clothing stains just a little more bearable.


Emily Laing said...

Yeah! Free Breakfast! I guess you'll be doing a fire drill in your own house now right? I have one kid that could sleep through a fire...his name is Patrick!

Senia said...

I LOVE this post. I could picture it all, especially Robert trying to dismantle the fire alarm.

I got in on one "fire drill" in the dorms my Freshman year (for dramatic effect, I could say it was on the coldest night of the year, but I believe it was a relatively-mild fall night) and one at Trendwest in Seaside, I believe... That might have been the same trip our oven caught on fire.

a said...

This happened to me at the McMinamins in McMinville, and is why whenever we stay at a hotel our shoes and coats are always right by the door. We did not get a free night though. Do you think Robert could call them? It was only four years ago, and we did have to wait out in the cold; my slinky nighty hanging below my coat. Embarrassing!
Jef did not try to silence the alarm maybe because of the kitchen fire; do you think Robert can teach him how to silence an alarm?

Allyson said...

This happened to us when we went to see the movie "Cars" on it's opening premiere. Up, down, go out, come back in. Finally the kids reached their breaking point and we had to leave on the 4th fire alarm and come back again to watch the movie another time (free, of course). Too bad it was in the middle of what was probably much needed sleep.

kanishk said...

I LOVE this post.
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Debbie said...

Hilarious! I actually teared up a bit because I was laughing so hard!!! :)