Firefighters Can be Funny

By  | 

Last Monday marked the 8th week that someone has been throwing up or had a fever in our house. In those 8 weeks, there were only 13 days (non-consecutive) where someone wasn’t sick.

So with my calendar-of-doom in front of me, I called my pediatrician.

Calendar of Doom

I’m going to lose my mind.

Do you think we are dying?

Do you think our house is poisoning us?

Will my house smell like this forever?

Should I move? Burn it down?

Why can’t my 2-year-old make it to the toilet?

Should we see a specialist?


At that point, I had a terrible headache and Miles was sent home from school with a headache. Simon had been throwing up all night after Alice had been throwing up most of the weekend after Even Steven had been throwing up… you get the idea.

Our pediatrician said all the right things and encouraged me not to move or burn anything down. But she did suggest that I call the local fire department to see if they could do a quick carbon monoxide check for us.

Me: I have carbon monoxide detectors, and they haven’t gone off.

Doc: Well, maybe you have a very low level that’s just enough to make you sick but not enough to kill you or set off your detectors.

When someone makes a suggestion like this – and when you’ve been sick for 8 weeks – you can’t really argue.

So I called the local fire department and explained the situation.

Me: Do you have carbon monoxide detectors? Could we set up a time for you to come over and do a check of our house?

Firefighter: Yup. You need to call 911 to dispatch us. Just tell them you have a carbon monoxide alarm. I’ll get the guys in the truck, and we’ll see you in a few minutes.

So of course I spent the next 3 minutes running around like a crazy person shoving dishes into the sink, picking dirty diapers up off the floor, putting on a bra and trying to get pants on the kids.

Okay – it may have been more like 5 minutes.

And then I called 911.

Me: This isn’t an emergency, but I just talked to my local fire department and they said to report a carbon monoxide alarm.

911 Operator: Okay. Everyone needs to evacuate the premises immediately. They’re on their way.

And that is why I spent last Monday sitting on the front porch with my kids (in the freezing cold) watching a fire truck and a police car pull up in front of our house.

The firefighters were in full on uniform, so I couldn’t tell if they were hot or not. Which was a little disappointing. I mean, I even put on a bra!

And the police officer stood on the front porch, and I was so uncomfortable with the idea of possibly wasting the time of so many people that I couldn’t even bring myself to take any pictures. (Which basically makes me the worst blogger ever.)

The great news is that we are not under the influence of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Firefighter: Not a bit in the house. We checked the water heater, the furnace, upstairs, downstairs. You’re good.

Me: Great! Thank you so much for checking. Sorry that we wasted your time.

Firefighter: It’s never a waste of time. Always better to check – especially when you’ve been throwing up for two months.

Me: Yeah… you might want to sanitize heavily after you leave my house.

Firefighter: We’ll probably just burn these clothes. No telling what kind of germs are in that house.

You gotta love firefighter humor, right?

So – the good news is we are not suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. The even better news is that no one has thrown up since. That’s more than a week, people! (Well, the 2 year old threw up for awhile on Sunday morning, but it was just clear stuff, so we’re not counting that. Okay?)

Tell me – do you think the plague has passed us by – or will I start puking this afternoon? Have you ever posted a calendar of when your husband is throwing up and has diarrhea on the internet? Have you ever wasted the time of 4 firefighters and a police officer? Tell me all about it so that I feel better!


  1. My Special Kind of Crazy

    January 22, 2014 at 7:40 am

    Firemen are magic like that- they just step inside your house and *poof* puking plague is gone! I can’t believe you didn’t take pictures….

  2. melissa

    January 22, 2014 at 7:48 am

    You guys put up with that shit (pun intended) for two whole friggin months??

    If everything seems okay then I wouldn’t worry about it but just in case maybe look into something called an ozone generator…it kills EVERYTHING. My husband has a mold mitigation business and it’s mostly used for killing mold spores but it can be used to kill major odors (cigarette smoke, pet etc) But we have also used it when ever we have a round of sickness

  3. Lisa R. Petty

    January 22, 2014 at 7:57 am

    Wow, Anna, this is really odd. This is a dumb question, but do you have pets and has everyone been checked for parasites? People can actually catch those from cleaning up the “messes” of animals and other people. I hope this ends soon. This is crazy.

  4. Keri

    January 22, 2014 at 8:13 am

    I set off our smoke detector with the steam from a hot shower. Our alarm company immediately alerts 911 so we couldn’t stop the cavalry from showing up. Two fire trucks with 8-10 firefighters in full gear (they thought we had a fire obviously) and two police cars! They had to come in and check everything even after we explained what happened. I was in my pjs, no bra, and although I felt horrible that everyone had to show up I couldn’t stop laughing. I guess it was nervous laughter, but all the same my husband kept whisper-yelling for me to stop laughing and I couldn’t. I eventually shuts self away until they left since I was unable to act appropriately.

  5. Theresa Wallace

    January 22, 2014 at 8:38 am

    I agree with Lisa you might want to be checked for parasites other then that we had a bought that lasted 3 months in my house last year that sadly ended in my husband having 4 heart attacks and strokes because of strep virus. I bleached everything in my house I got a air cleaner still nothing worked I cold the housing department for mold and bacteria they never came out. not a clue what it was. it has left us now. But I wish you luck that it leaves you soon.

  6. Erika

    January 22, 2014 at 8:39 am

    Not a puke or poop story, but last fall just before we moved across country, my oldest son (8) had a bike accident right outside his school. He was at the corner and thought the pickup was going to go straight, so he was going to go straight at the same time. However, it turned right just in front of him instead. My son saw it coming in enough time to jump off his bike. The bike kept going and got rather crunched. Several people who saw this happen called 911. My son was fine, with only a couple small scrapes, and rather overwhelmed with the fire trucks, base police, and paramedics who showed up when he was mostly just feeling embarrassed for riding into the street too soon. I got to the school just as a second fire truck and ambulance were being waved back since they weren’t needed. He was doing just fine, so I walked him into his classroom after everything was squared away and they were certain he was ok. So, a little more dramatic than checking for carbon monoxide, but still a lot of emergency folks who really weren’t needed.

  7. Anna

    January 22, 2014 at 8:53 am

    The first night we moved into our new house my husband and I locked ourselves out, while of course our small children were inside. We had to call the police, who were super-nice, but what a way to be *those* new people in the neighborhood!

  8. Stephanie {Binkies and Briefcases}

    January 22, 2014 at 9:13 am

    I am SOOOO sorry you are dealing with this. Since you asked…When I was 8 months pregnant we had a small gas leak and they sent 4 fire trucks (not just 4 men, 4 entire trucks full of men, plus an ambulance) And it was 2 days after Thanksgiving and I still hadn’t even done the dishes (because I was 8 months pregnant with my third and freaking tired) so my house looked like an episode of Hoarders. It was so embarrassing. I blogged about it here:

  9. Michelle @

    January 22, 2014 at 9:19 am

    Julie, you crack me up. I can’t believe you’ve all been so sick for so long! I hope it is really and truly over now. Oh, also, you should have demanded that the firefighters disrobe. It’s part of their job, isn’t it?

  10. Michelle @

    January 22, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Yes, I’m aware I called you Julie. I’m sleep deprived. With ADHD. And three (thousand) kids home in the SEVENTH WEEK of an eight week school holiday. Also, we are melting in a heat wave. So, for today, please just let me call you Julie, kay?

  11. Kaily

    January 22, 2014 at 9:24 am

    Oh my gosh!! This sounds like something that would happen to us. Glad the barfing has stopped! *knock on wood!*

  12. Donna

    January 22, 2014 at 9:39 am

    My husband and I were eating early one evening and noticed smoke around a house across the highway from us. It kept building until we couldn’t see the house anymore. He called 911 and they sent a fire truck and ambulance. We felt like idiots when the fire chief stopped by to tell us it was just fog moving in.

  13. Kristie

    January 22, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Could you have gotten the superbug norovirus that was going around? Around here they were saying that it could live on surfaces for a week or more…and Bleach is the only thing to get rid of it… I saw this on one of the sites.
    You can get norovirus from touching a doorknob, or from touching something that an infected person as touched. Another common way to pick up norovirus is by eating food that has been contaminated by an infected person. (Norovirus can stay in your stool for 2 weeks after you start feeling better, so it is very important to wash hands thoroughly after using the restroom.)

    So you could be reinfecting yourselves as it isn’t one of those ones you get once then your body has immunity to it…. ugh…good luck!!!

  14. Romy

    January 22, 2014 at 10:16 am

    I have met our local fire department, twice. The first time my oldest was four months old, one of the smoke alarms was beeping. Since it was the sure sign of a low battery, my husband started changing batteries in our many detectors. When he got to the carbon monoxide one it went off like crazy when he replaced the batteries. We called 911 and evacuated. They sent an ambulance as well because I was sleepy even though I assured them that I was pretty sure I was sleepy from having a four month old. Come to find out, my husband put the batteries back in the detector backwards. Embarrassing. Another time I called 911 when I saw my husband running with a gas grill propane tank away from the house. It had a faulty valve and was spewing propane. Actually, I think I’ve called each time I saw my husband run. Something is always wrong if he runs.

  15. Terri

    January 22, 2014 at 10:18 am

    When I was captain of the volunteer rescue squad back home in NC I was out for a bike ride one day and wrecked my bicycle. Went over the handlebars and landed on my hip…nothing serious, just some bruised pride. Well an old friend saw me wreck, called 911, and sure enough here came 3 members of the squad, 2 more in our ambulance, another in our first response vehicle, and then EMS with their ambulance. My co-captain flipped out, though I was seriously hurt, put me in a c-collar and tried to strap me to a back board. My cousin came rushing over with his jump-kit trying to get vitals, the new guy working for EMS tried to cut my pants off to see my hip, and with all the excitement I started hyperventilating…next thing I knew I was in an ambulance getting a shot of morphine on my way to the hospital for an X-Ray where the nurses in the ER just happened to be 2 of my friends in school…both males…who were made to cut my clothes off of me and prep me for X-Ray……oh what a great day. LOL

  16. Ashley

    January 22, 2014 at 10:34 am

    1. I love the color coding system!
    2. I love that when I hover over the image, it gives me the option to PIN IT! ๐Ÿ™‚
    3. Your husband’s real name. (I’m sure you’ve said it at some point, but I just missed it.) ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Karla

    January 22, 2014 at 10:45 am

    You are so funny!!! I LOVE your posts so much! Hope everyone is better still!!

  18. Michelle

    January 22, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Years ago, our carbon monoxide detector went off and we had the fire department come out with all of their equipment. They just seemed so HUGE in our tiny house! Turns out it was a false alarm, we bought a new detector because I didn’t want to go through that fun experience again.

  19. Bobbie

    January 22, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    I actually called the fire fighters in the sweltering Florida summer heat this past summer thinking there may have been carbon monoxide. I was overwhelmed with dizziness and felt like I was about to pass out and my then less than 6 month old was about to drift to dream land too. I had texted my husband and told him I was dizzy he said he had been too that day. No monoxide, but friendly firemen

  20. Toula

    January 22, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    This is hilarious! I am sure you never wrecked again…

  21. Kristina

    January 22, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    No but I called the police once because I thought these kids down the street stole my cat! The policeman was very nice. He drove me all around the neighborhood and up and down alleys looking for her. He probably had to go for a drink afterwards after dying laughing. My mom thought I was nuts. The cat showed up 3 days later.

  22. Kimberly Broom

    January 22, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Try replacing everyones toothbrush, or at least boiling them to kill germs in them. I’d also replace any sponges you use in the kitchen. And just lysol the crap out of everything, including the bottom of everyones shoes.

  23. Natasha J

    January 22, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    thats what i was thinking too…. has big hairy dog been checked?

  24. Anna Luther

    January 22, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    I know – you should have heard my mom complaining on the phone this morning. “What do you mean you didn’t take pictures? What kind of an amateur are you?”

  25. Anna Luther

    January 22, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Writing this down. Hoping I never need it. But writing this down.

  26. Anna Luther

    January 22, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    HAHAHAHAHA – thank you for that!

  27. Anna Luther

    January 22, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Yeah – we’ve been tested twice now, but nothing’s come up…

  28. Anna Luther

    January 22, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Oh my gosh – that’s terrifying! So glad he was okay!!

  29. Anna Luther

    January 22, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Oh my gosh – I totally remember that story! LOVE that you hadn’t done the dishes yet!!!

  30. Anna Luther

    January 22, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Pffftttt – that. is. awesome.

  31. Anna Luther

    January 22, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    THIS made my day! You can call me Julie whenever you want! ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. Anna Luther

    January 22, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    HA! Oh my gosh – did he tell you that with a straight face? This definitely makes me feel better!

  33. Sparkling74

    January 22, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    First, it’s interesting that you and miles are on the calendars the least. You two must have food immune systems. I agree with throwing out the toothbrushes and starting over. When I was a kid, we passed around strep like it was our jobs and today I think it could have been stopped by throwing out the toothbrushes.

    Second, my dad was a firefighter and none of the guys he worked with were hot, so I always think it’s funny when people get all excited over hot firefighters. We are kind of rural so I think maybe it’s just city firefighters that are all hot and muscular. And you were rally smart to call them for a carbon monoxide check. You can’t be too carful!

  34. Terri

    January 22, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    All I could think about was all the times my aunt told me “make sure you always wear clean underwear…and nothing too slinky. God forbid you were to get in an accident and they had to cut your clothes off!” LOL

  35. Three years ago I was stringing Christmas lights on my upstairs balcony, which is off my bedroom. It was cold and my 6 month old was on my bedroom floor playing, so I shut the balcony doors, not knowing they would lock behind me! My 5 & 3 year olds were downstairs playing and couldn’t hear me banging on the doors. Luckily my phone was in my pocket so I kept calling the home phone, but they didn’t answer and they didn’t seem concerned that i wasn’t answering. The banging scared the baby so she started screaming which escalated my panic. My husband was at work, no neighbors were home and I knew my friends who were home had napping babies, so finally I called 911. 2 minutes later a big truck with 6 firefighters came down my street. I gave them the code to open my garage door and they came up and opened the door. One said, “Ma’am, your baby is upset” and I realized later he was probably teasing me – my baby was beyond upset by this point – but I didn’t get it at the time. I came downstairs to front hallway and say 3 year old pop her head around the corner and say to her big sister in a matter-of-fact voice, “There’s another man, Kate.” Like it’s a normal occurrence to have 6 strange men in our hallway when Mommy isn’t around!! I needed a stiff drink after that episode! And I was so embarrassed I couldn’t even check them out to see if they were cute or not. I did drop off cookies to their firehouse the next week but again couldn’t make eye contact.

  36. Lisa R. Petty

    January 22, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    It’s got to be the water or something in the house then. What else could it be? Has your mom or dad been sick? What about Even Steven’s family?

  37. Erica

    January 22, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    Yes, I have wasted the time of 4 fire fighters and a police office. A couple of months ago my car engine begin “steaming” which I thought was “smoke”, panicked I called 911. They came to check, I was crying the entire time and scared. I’ve never had major car trouble before that day so I had no idea about what was happening. They were so very nice.

  38. Cindy

    January 22, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    Just thinking that maybe it was the fresh, cold air in all your lungs as you waited for the firemen that finally beat the virus!
    You should get a medal for all you have been through.

  39. Elizabeth

    January 22, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    Yes, I’ve called 911, but only because our smoke detectors were going off, no smoke visible, then the carbon monoxide monitor starting going off. I couldn’t stop any of them. Hence the 911 call. And yes 2 fire trucks came blaring into our neighborhood and stopped in front of our house. I had evacuated the house by loading my son and the 8 million toys he had to bring, 2 cats, and some snacks for all of us into the car and pulled it on to the street. All at nap time. I was also pregnant. Once the firefighters rushed in in full gear, my dad pulled up because I called him in a panic, they came out to tell me the batteries needed changed in the smoke detectors and I should do that every 6 months and our carbon monoxide detector was faulty. Needless to say there was no napping. Although my son did get an awesome plastic fire hat and tour of the fire truck. I guess it was worth it…

  40. Magzbrennan

    January 22, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    I had 8 firefighters get me of a ditch recently and I didn’t even have to dial the three digit #. I’m just that awesome. Must be tough to be you.

  41. danee

    January 23, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    First a puke story. When I get sick I puke. I could get chicken pox and I would vomit. I had Hyperemesis (excessive vomiting) with both pregnancies and had to be on meds- IV meds with second baby. So I am not new to the sport. When my oldest was like 8 months old and still nursing all 3 of us got sick. We had a mattress on the floor of the nursery and the 3 of us-mom, dad, and baby- laid on the mattress in between crawling to the bathroom to vomit before crawling back to lay down. The baby would vomit all over us and then try to nurse. I was so dehydrated it was horrible. I remember when we got better I was so disgusted about how the path we had taken- maybe 8 feet-between nursery and bathroom a was so contaminated. Blech.

    Fireman…I was at work at Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor when we had a fire and I am telling you there were some HOT fireman walking through the hospital. But my worst alarm story went like this: we have ADT and the system was giving us trouble- an error message of some sort. We didn’t have a fire or smoke or heat but the system was alarming and my husband needed to change the batteries or something. He was on the phone with ADT when whatever they told him to do triggered the alarm and they refused to cancel it so the fire truck was notified. Yes, even though Rick was on the phone with ADT at the time they still called the emergency. I kept hearing Rick say “You better not notify the firemen…please don’t…”. I ran outside to meet the fireman and profusely apologize and convey how embarrassed I was. I think I even resorted to begging them to forgive us. I just felt so bad to waste their time. Thankfully they just pulled away from the curb with a wave and smile.

  42. Rebekah

    January 23, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    Oh my goodness! That totally sounds like my family last winter. We were sick from November till March with colds, throwing up flu (5 times at least!) and the other end flu also. March was the worst, my kids had the flu 3 times within the month and the worst diarrhea I have ever smelled in my life! it was horrible! I hope you all are done being sick and it doesn’t last till march ๐Ÿ˜‰

  43. Pingback: Why I Chose Young Living Essential Oils - My Life and Kids

  44. Pingback: How I'm a Happier, Healthier and Thinner Person - My Life and Kids

  45. shashi

    January 30, 2014 at 10:20 am

    I have not laughed since one week and this post really is so funny . You are amazing writer . Hope all kids are doing good . I was reading some of the comments how you guys have time to write this much with small kids . Better the ladies take care of themselves during this hour . But anyway enjoyed each comment . Thank u ladies .

  46. ElizabethAnne (

    February 3, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    I love your blog and your sense of humor. Thanks for sharing with us all.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login