Where there’s Smoke…

There’s not always fire. And when the smoke alarm goes off, if it’s a faulty machine, there’s not always fire or smoke. But there is an ALARM. That goes on as long as the battery is good.

My apartment had a faux fire when I was in Germany/Netherlands. Oh, I don’t think I have mentioned that trip. Maybe later. So yes, on a Monday morning I am in Maastritch getting packed to come back when I get a text from the landlady. URGENT. Basically: where are you? As in are you dead? Nope. Happy to report. But the smoke alarm went off on Sunday night and never stopped. The neighbors called the police. The landlady was also out of town. She would see if her dad could get over there during the day. Great. Sorry neighbors. But we texted again later in the day – dad couldn’t make it. Ew. More sorry, neighbors!

As I climb the stairs about 7 pm, I am listening for the alarm. On the ground floor. Nothing. First floor, nothing. Second floor, not a sound. Did the battery die? Open my door on the third floor and see the alarm has been taken down – it’s not on the wall. OK. Dad did make it. Great.

I unpack. Pour a glass of water and start to sit on the couch to relax. But there is a yellow piece of paper on my couch. Foreign looking. (Well, it was official French so maybe not foreign.) It was a notice from the Sapeurs et Pompiers of Paris. That’s the fire department to you and me.

Playing detective, my analysis is: the police arrived. Pounded on the door. No response. No smoke. No fire. But they called the fire department who put their ladder on the front of the building to climb up to my fourth floor apartment (Europe counts floors differently – our first floor is ground, our second floor is their first, etc.). And yes, they broke the window so they could reach in and undo the latch, come in, take the alarm down and take the battery out, leave the official yellow paper notice, and exit the same way.

Yup. Lots of glass on the floor. Instead of relaxing after my journey, I was hotfooting it down to Monoprix to buy packing paper and tape to cover up the hole.

So to give you a better picture, I have the lovely old fashioned windows that are about 9 feet tall, Each side has two panes of glass, at the bottom, a square pane about 18 inches. Above it , the long open pane that curves delightfully at the top.

A delightful curve becomes an expensive curve. Super pere can’t fix this. And then a hassle between me, the landlady, the insurance, and finally an estimate and repair.

The window professional says it will be about 1,000 euros. And he has to fix it at his atelier (workshop).

The window guy (who thankfully speaks Englilsh) took the frame out today and will bring it back tomorrow. Just over 3 weeks.


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