HFM: Tax Dollars Well Spent

Last week I was sitting at my desk in the kitchen when all of a sudden, my desk lamp started buzzing and flickering. And then I heard the sound no one in Texas wants to hear in July — “vwooomph!” It was the final mournful gasp of our of A/C unit.

The outlet on the wall behind my desk kept buzzing and sparking and popping, so I unplugged everything and then AD and I looked around the house to see what was amiss. I smelled a faint electrical smell from an outlet in Sean’s room and two of the breakers in the fuse box had popped off and wouldn’t go back on. But beyond that we didn’t see anything obvious, like flames licking out of the attic.

Since three other houses in our neighborhood have caught fire since we’ve lived here, we called the fire department and asked if they might come by and look around and just ensure us that we were in no imminent danger, but would it be possible for them just to mosey over without all the trucks and sirens and all that, to just take a look see? No. It turns out that’s not how they do it. If they can’t run the sirens they won’t come. It’s in the fireman’s handbook.

About 30 seconds later three hunky firemen (hereafter referred to as HFM) show up at my door and I let them in. Of course I let them him. Because they are Firemen. Hunky firemen. Hunky big-red-truck-drivin’ firemen, so see, I had to let them in. Plus I had called them.

I took them into the kitchen to show them my now not buzzing, not flickering, not doin’ nuthin’ unremarkable electric outlet. The head HFM points some sort of heat seeking magic gun at it and declares it “not hot”. So I said, “Hey big boy why don’t you point that thang at me?” No I didn’t really say that. I don’t think I could say that without laughing. Or being laughed at.

Photo Temporarily Unavailable

When I turned around to show him some other unremarkable outlets here at the House of Antique, I noticed that the other two firemen were gone. I looked over into the den only to see the feet of one of the HFM sticking out of the tent colossus that Sean had constructed out of sheets, an 8-ft ladder and most of my dining room chairs. It was indeed a tent fit for an emir and apparently too enticing even for professional HFM to resist.

The HFM with the magic gun coaxed the other two HFM out of the tent and they checked everything out thoroughly as I followed closely behind, you know, just to answer questions or to offer to mop their brow. At the end of their inspection, the chief HFM reported that we were in no danger. I said, “Are you sure? Because I think I could use some CPR.”  Yeah, no I didn’t say that either.

When they were done, they had Sean put his hand on the wall and then they showed him how the magic gun could “see” the handprint left behind by the warmth of his hand. He thought that was terribly groovy.  As they left, they took Sean out to the big red truck and let him sit in the driver’s seat and ring the bell and that pretty much made his whole summer.

All in all a fun afternoon for everyone. The HFM got to play in Sean’s tent, Sean got to sit in a fire truck and ring the bell, I got a visit from three HFM and AD got to buy a new compressor for our A/C for $1400.

47 thoughts on “HFM: Tax Dollars Well Spent

  1. Well, except for the $1400, that sounds like an awesome visit! And I suspect that the HFM were pleased that when you called, you reported exactly what was going on, instead of going over the top and calling 911 and getting everyone all mobilized.

    Won’t you need to spend more $$ on your breaker box now too?

  2. Lucky you…we’re gonna need a whole new unit here that will run us around $6000 just for downstairs…can’t live without it in North Louisiana though…no hunky firemen here though…small town, so I’ve known most of them since they were in diapers, that takes ALL the fun out of it.

  3. A former friend of mine DID spend her time saying things like that to hot firemen. She led an exciting but irregular life.

    Ouch for the air conditioner part. We haven’t had ours even ON yet this summer!

  4. Next time you have to pass out – or at least pretend to – and then when you come around you can make such remarks to the HFM and you’ll be excused.
    Trust me, I know: I had a low blood sugar incident after exercising at the gym and the paramedics were called (911). I’d actually lost consciousness but when I came out of it I first lectured them on how to correctly pronounce my name; then I told one guy – young enough to be my son or maybe even grandson – “You’re very good looking.” Later when I realized what I’d said, I nearly lost consciousness again from embarrassment.

  5. If I were you, I think I might consider building a small, but contained fire in the bathtub or something (you know cause there is water readily available there….), then you could call them back so you could have another look around…I mean THEY could have another look around 🙂

  6. Blogging makes even the most mundane thing a Special Event. Thanks for being the star and producer of this show! We did the new A/C compressor in June. Texas in summer. Every August I ask my self WHY I live here. Then the cooler weather comes (long about February) and I relax.

  7. A neighbor of ours is an art teacher. After 9/11 she entered her students in an art contest depicting firemen in various situations. My son, being absolutely adorable, was asked to go the local firehouse for a photo shoot. She took the photos back to her students and they created art based on the photos. Spending the day HFM was a treat for both of us. A couple of the guys were even in the HFM calendar that year. Hubba-hubba.

  8. I feel cheated. I mean seriously. Cheated. We replaced our air conditioner YESTERDAY after a very similar episode in the kitchen of flickering lights, but our repairs – well, replacement – cost $3,000. The 20+ year old unit just finally died.

    The feeling cheated part? I did not have a visit from any HFM. No, not one. No big red truck, no bell ringing, no nuthin’.

    Do you think it is too late to call them?

  9. My son loves firefighters and would have had a ball if they came to our house! Three cheers for hunky fire fighters who took your request seriously and made it fun for Sean. You could take them some cookies/brownies/ice cream to thank them and get to see them again! 😉

  10. Hubba. Hubba. I think it is a prerequisite as a Fireman that you have to have magnificent forearms.

  11. That tent sounds AWESOME! When can I come and play? Didn’t you know that having a small child is a “Get Into Firestations Free” card? We used to walk by the local firehouse and the HFM would call the boys in to sit in the trucks and ring the bell. Lynn’s sister’s brother-in-law is a Chicago HFM. He took the kids up in the EXTENSION LADDER – 3 stories high!!

    I’m glad that you had fun too. Where was AD during all this? Following you around and wiping the drool from your chin?

    Enjoy your new compressor!

  12. Except that you had to spend big bucks on A/C, it sounded like a great day! A fire truck adventure for Sean and awesome looking firemen for you! I should send you a copy of the annual firemens calendar. Then you could look at them everyday. I know the real thing is better, but I would hate for the neighbors to think something was really wrong and come running over only to see you trying to get one of the firemen to give you CPR.

  13. Don’t all be jealous but I’m MARRIED to one of those HFM. (Well, not one of your Texas ones. We live in a much colder state.)

    And yes, it’s true about the magnificent forearms. 🙂

  14. Suddenly Jim Morrison has popped up in my head singing “Come on baby light my fire (or “far” if you live in East Tennessee).”

    Now, dancing HFM are showing up (in my head.) I better stop before they do the Full Monty and I have to spend the rest of the week on my knees repenting.

  15. Well, you’ve got me beat in both the HFM department (zero of those at my house) and the A/C department. We only had to spend $650 this week. And that AFTER we paid $60 two weeks ago for a routine A/C inspection that pronounced our A/C golden. I think the A/C people sabbotaged us and wrecked something so they could get our money. My husband said, “I’d like to think they didn’t do that.” And I said, “Go ahead and think it.” And that’s why his middle name is Optimist and mine is Pessimist. The end.

  16. I just had to giggle! I had 3 HFM at my house a few years ago . . . but it was because I couldn’t cook . . . eggs I was boiling exploded onto the ceiling, setting off the alarm . . . where was I? At the neighbors . . . in my 7 month pregnant stupor with child #2 . . . telling the neighbor’s hubby how that couldn’t possibly be my house alarm because it’s really loud and I could’t hear it. Then I saw and heard the firetrucks . . . and ran over to my house, big belly, barefoot . . . to find 3 HFM in the kitchen, playing with my “watch dog” of a yellow lab who was licking them to death . . . one HFM loudly declared “The eggs are done!”

    How humiliating!

  17. Wow, you’ve got guts! I can’t stand it when guys come to my house. There are 5 men in this world so far that I’m comfortable being around- one is my father, two are brothers, one was my best friend in high school, and the last one I married! Sounds like a blast for your son, though 🙂

  18. Did you have to ask the HFM for his picture with your son or did you sneak it to post for all of us to see?! Sounds like an exciting day!

  19. WhoooHooo! How exciting! It was always the hilight of my prek teacher days to take the classes to the fire station field trip! Oh yeahh!

    Your post was HILARIOUS!

  20. I’m glad to hear that you are still a “fireball” inside your head. It must be the red hair!
    Your three HFM sound like wonderful guys for making Sean’s day. I imagine they could not resist him, because he is so cute.

  21. You know, there ARE cheaper ways to check out the firemen…you could schedule a tour of the firehouse for Sean instead of blowing up your a/c’s air compressor. 😉

    How in the world did you make it through in the HEAT? ugh.

  22. That is a great way to spend a summer day, except for the no A/C part, ’cause it is STINKIN’ hot in Houston, and I’m sure DFW is not different. I am hoping that my reading your post does not make any bad mo-jo rub off, ’cause the house goes on the market TOMORROW, and after spending 5K on 1500 sq. ft. of tile and carpet, an A/C repair is NOT in the budget.

  23. It makes me ALMOST wish my Austin A/C would go out in a similar fashion so that the HFM could come visit us! All in all, a great consolation prize.

  24. AM!! And you only took 1 picture!!!?? You had all of those hunky firemen and only 1…!!!??? LoL!

  25. I love firemen…they’re awesome. They are boys who got to grow up and be superheroes, just like they wanted to. And what superhero can resist a tent made with an 8-FOOT-LADDER?

  26. My hubby is a HFM and I do agree about the forearms . . . and the hotness factor. 🙂

    The story was great and I enjoy your blog a lot!


  27. The only time HFM have come to my house was when my daughter had a febral seizure on her 1st birthday. She was fine and of course she still looked cute even after a medical emergency of sorts. Her mother, not so cute in pj’s, slept on hair and no make-up.

    They haven’t been back since.

  28. Nothing like a few cute firemen to make the day a little more interesting! We had some come to the house once when my oldest split his head open. He was so dang excited about them he forgot about the gash on his forehead.

  29. Wow, you had an exciting day! 😉

    If you’d like to appreciate your safety on a deeper level, you could go read what I posted just today. Weird.

  30. Well, how can you put a price on hunky fireman and an opportunity for a little boy to get to sit in a fire engine. I have had days where I would take a baseball bat to my A/C to have some hunky firemen drop by. My luck I would get the balding overweight one with B. O.

  31. Was there something in the air yesterday? My living room still smells like ozone, burned wire, and melting plastic!

    My electrician was there fixing something when apparently the 220 wire came in contact with the 110 and blew out my surge protector on the TV etc. Certainly adds an element of danger and excitement to your day when a medium size pop, smoke and flames erupt unexpectedly.

    Well like you I pulled all the wires out of the wall – called to the electrician – got my handy fire extinguisher and awaited developments. Fortunately once the plugs were pulled the flames died off and it was JUST the surge protector – who gave its teeny tiny electronic life protecting others – SNIFF
    Kevin the electrician comes up and mentions that fire and smoke are bad — ya think?

    No firemen need to be called however next week I get to have a $1000 electrical panel put in!! I got off cheaper than AD and my AC still works – good thing since the heat index may get to 110.

    I really enjoy your blog and hopefully for the both of us this will be the end of electrical adventuring.

    Kathy Jackson

  32. Oh, what’s that? I think I might possibly be seeing some flickering and maybe I might be hearing some buzzing, too. Gotta run. Must call HFM right away!!! You know, just for a look see:)

  33. When our water heater caught fire (and went out, leaving a smell which triggered my call) I carefully looked up the non-emergency number for the fire dept. I thought they would just send someone over to sniff out the source of the burning smell and call it a day. The guy on the other end of the line said no. THREE trucks, complete with lights and sirens came screaming onto our quiet cul-de-sac. Embarrasing, yes, but necessary.

  34. I’m also one of the lucky ones married to a HFM! 😉 Forearms, shoulders… mmm, don’t get me started! LOL

    Our A/C unit scared me this week by tripping the breaker 3 or 4 times for no apparent reason… it’s behaving again, and after reading some of the estimates on fixing/replacing from the comments here, I’m praying hard it CONTINUES to behave!

    And kids? HFM can’t resist kids! They’re all just big kids themselves! They love to show off their toys like the heat-seeking machine thingy and their firetrucks! 😉

  35. Hi, Jen’s HFM hubby here, or in our eyes just FM, not so hunky, sometimes chunky. 🙂 She showed me this post and I had to respond.

    The “heat-seaking thingy” is a thermal imaging camera that costs a good 5 grand a piece and are worth their weight in gold. Not only for what they did for you. We use them at fires for search and rescue because they can see victims and after fires to look for hot spots. We have two of them.

    Speaking of hot spots, based on your comments in the fifth paragraph if he did point at you he would have seen the heat. 🙂

    I am sorry about your AC. As Jen said, ours gave a scare earlier this week with the compressor poping the breaker, but it is behaving for now.

    Lastly, we do like our toys. Who wouldn’t. 🙂

  36. One of our HFM is daddy to one of BigSpeak’s BFFs, so the H part is sort of not so much any more. And my bro’s a cop, proving they’ll give a gun to anyone these days. So all the fun has been taken out of it for me. The upside, HFM will come help us move heavy things on slow days and both my girls have already ridden around the hook and ladder numorous times. It’s almost passe to them now and they’re only 5 & 2. Spoiled!

  37. First of all, I’m sure that Beck is a beautiful and wonderful person, but that “have not even turned ours on this summer” really made me want to punch her lights out.

    ok, not really, but oh my goodness, it’s 110 degrees here in my part of Texas. . .

    and our AC went out last week. Our brand spankin’ new AC. The AC man fixed it and is now building a new wing on his home, I think. With our check.

    But air? cold air? entirely worth it.

    Truly, in a literal sense, I felt your pain, too.

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