At least I can cook in the crock pot! Oh yeah???  I have done it many times before — just brown some meat, put some of that chicken broth in a box in the browning pan, scrape off the good stuff on the bottom of the pan, put it in the crock pot, add whatever else goes with the planned result, and let it all cook a few hours.

Tonight was a neighborhood potluck.  I decided to make the old standby, pork, KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce, and canned beans added a couple of hours before serving.  It tastes great.  Actually, it turned out fine and was eaten by many at the potluck.

However!!!  I sliced a large piece of boneless pork loin inte seven thick slices.  As usual, I heated some olive oil in the pan to brown the meat.  As the meat was browning, there was a little more smoke than usual — not sure why.  You can guess what happened.  The smoke detector that has been a part of our security system that was in the house when we moved in thirteen years ago, the one that is monitored for a monthly charge — the smoke detector activated the horn that is loud enough to wake the dead.  By the way, Mary Ann was still sleeping when this happened.

Unwisely, we never use the system.  I thought the smoke detector didn’t work.  It does!!  In fact, it would not shut up!!  I punched the keypad.  It stopped — for a very few minutes — then started again.  I punched numbers, every set I could remember ever using, but it always came back on after a few minutes.  I opened every door and window I could, started a fan, it still wouldn’t stop.  There was no longer any visible smoke, and it still wouldn’t stop.

I frantically searched through a drawer (about eight inches deep) filled to the top with various instruction and warranty booklets that came with with all sorts of purchases, some we no longer own.  Finally, I came upon something from the security company, something with a phone number.  I called.

The person on the other end was sympathetic.   Together we discovered some good news and some bad news.  It was the same news that was both good and bad.  They had no signal and there were no fire engines that had been dispatched.  I was grateful that there were no fire engines about to come roaring into our quiet subdivision.  I was also distressed to think that were this a real fire, there would be no fire engines coming to put it out.

The dispatcher did not manage to provide what I needed to stop the horn from sounding.  She did transfer me to customer service to talk about getting someone out to determine why they received no signal.  All this while the horn was coming back on, I would run and punch in what I determined was our code, which would stop it for a few minutes.  In the course of the the conversation with the Customer Service tech, she told me how to reset the system after there was no more smoke.  There had been no smoke for about fifteen minutes — just the horn blasting.

At $95 for the first 30 minutes and $25 for each 15 minutes after that, a tech is coming to the house this Friday to determine why there was no signal to the monitoring folks that the smoke detector was going off.

By the way, there were, of course, some needs to be met in my Caregiving role while this was happening.  Mary Ann did as much as she could to allow me to deal with the madness.

When finally it was all over, the food was in the crock pot and we were rushing to get out the door so that we could make it to church (just in the nick of time for the 11:15am service — by the way, there is no 11:15am service — it is at 11am) — I announced to Mary Ann in no uncertain terms that that would be the last time I cook!!!!!!  It will be sandwiches and TV dinners and fast food from now on and that is that!

So that those who read this blog will not now call the authorities to rescue this poor woman from a mad man who will no longer feed her anything but junk food, I will resume my feeble attempts at providing nourishing fare for Mary Ann.  I promise!

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