June's stupid life

Some like it hot June

Yesterday, my office BURST INTO FLAMES.

I love this time of year.

I promise I’m ’bout to tie those thoughts together.

But, really. I love this time of year. Spring has always been my favorite, but here in the South, it’s glorious. Right now, the leaves are new, so they’re still pastel green. And then you have other trees that are lavender, some that are pink, and then there are the beautiful white dogwoods.

There are the daffodils and the tulips, the hyacinth and the irises. Everywhere you look, it’s a pastel impressionist painting right now, sans the cut-off ear.

And if that weren’t enough, we get a lot of thunderstorms in the spring. The 14 years I was living in Seattle and Los Angeles, the rain was namby-pamby. Now here the rain is bold and loud and shakes the house. Oooooo, I love a good thunderstorm.

[toots in fear]

Yesterday afternoon, the Guy Who Sits Next to Me, Fewks, announced that a bad storm was coming. Men always seem attuned to the weather. Weather and sports are men’s reality TV.

Sure enough,

BOOM!

“Ooooo!” all 900 people in my completely open, please-read-all-my-thoughts here-are-my-exposed-innards floor plan said.

Then

CRACK!

lightning.

“Oooo–“

WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Our group Oooooo was interrupted by the shrill of the fire alarm, an alarm we’ve all heard a hundred times during drills.

“Is that the fire alarm?” someone asked, and what I like about us is we all just sat still, assuming it was fake. Then from the recesses of my mind, where there are monkey bars and large red rubber balls, I recalled some statistic that the reason people die is they assume alarms are fake.

“EVERYBODY PANIC!” I screeched, and no one at work likes me. Nevertheless, I lead a group out the door, while

WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

the alarm continued to screech at us like a fishwife, or at least a fish hookup.

The thing is, it was raining outside, and I’m not sure if I mentioned that part. We were in an actual, you know, thunderstorm, so this inferno evacuation was most inconvenient.

“Does anyone want to go sit in my car?” I asked, and The Other Copy Editors said yes. I get into work earlier than a lot of people, so I usually get a good spot right by the door. Once I saw Griff actually race to get the last good spot and I ended up having to get trail mix and a sherpa to make it from my parking spot to work. I had to sleep in a base camp the first night.

As we sat in my car, we heard sirens. “Oooo, how exciting!” I said, because up till that time I assumed it was a false alarm. Like the time I went in with my labor pains. Remember that?

Naturally, the towering flames and people leaping out of the building was a perfect time to take a selfie. “Everyone look alarmed,” I said.

I want you to hang on to your fire hat, but I am the most dramatic of the copy editors.

Copy Editor Red Shirt, over there, brought her laptop with her, to finish her task. “Well, it’s due by the end of the day,” she said, licking flames reflected in her eyes.

Once the fire truck pulled in, I dared everyone in the car to leap out and scream, “MY BABY’S IN THERE,” but no one would. I did, however, check to see if any of the firemen were cute (answer: of course), but it turns out?

False alarm. The lightning must have convinced the fire alarm to go off. As a heat expert, because I’m so hot, that is my theory. My theory of relatively nothing.

So, in the end, we lived, and I know that that’s boring, but at least Copy Editor Red Shirt met her deadline.

The end.

81 thoughts on “Some like it hot June

  1. I know I am supposed to be deeply impressed by the chick who hauled her laptop along on the evac. It says a lot about me (and none of it good) that I just want to roll eyes and tell sis to lighten up. I’m sure she’s sweet though.

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  2. If I didn’t live in Wisconsin, I think I would like Spring also. But in Wisconsin we go from Winter to Summer and rarely even have a spring at all. I long for any plant that is green or new and tender at this point. What you have in the south sounds lovely.

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  3. Love me a good thunderstorm. Very rare here, though. Before getting divorced, the house I lived in had a metal roof. I loved how torrential the rain sounded. But one day we got the mother of all hailstorms, and my new 5-month old golden retriever panicked and came flying at me (I was in a chair) and flung himself onto me at full speed. It was simultaneously cute, sad, and painful.
    Why was there no one in your passenger seat? It’s like you were all dressed up as chauffeur with nowhere to go.

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  4. Well, reporting from the land of MTM, whose house, by the way, I drove by the other day, we’re getting a big old shitload of snow on Thursday. What I want is those pastel, impressionist-inspired flowers to pop up. I’m sad.

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  5. I had my mammogram a few years ago and some spot of doom showed up so I had to have a biopsy. It was nothing. They had me come back for a 6 month follow up and something was there again, so they said I had to have a different type of biopsy. The PA told me it’s the worst kind. Thanks. I got it scheduled, showed up and at check in I was handed some earplugs. “You’re going to need these because a fire drill is going to happen in the middle of your biopsy.” Great. So there I was on a bed with my left boob hanging through a hole, the bed was raised up close to the ceiling and the doctor was underneath me with my boob squeezed in a mammogram machine to guide her during the biopsy. Right in the middle of all that, the fire alarm started blaring and the strobe lights were flashing. Thankfully we didn’t have to evacuate. And I was grateful for the earplugs for sure. Also, my car was broken down at the time so I had to take an Uber home after all of that. Thankfully the spot of doom turned out to be nothing, but finding out sure was an adventure.

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    1. Oh good grief! I’d have been scared the doctor would flinch and mess up or hurt me with all that going on!

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  6. The best storm experiences were in my grandma’s house. She had a metal roof on her house and no gutters. Inside, you felt like it was the end of the world…in a good, apocalyptic way. Outside, on the porch you witnessed a wall of water.
    I work in a hospital on the ground floor. When the fire alarms go off, we close the doors and continue working unless our area is mentioned in the overhead announcement. In 28 years, we’ve never had to evacuate. I imagine I’ll be killed by crushing when the building collapses on me, not by a direct fire. Hope it’s quick !

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  7. I have to say that the rain in NC is not like anything I have ever seen! In AZ you can walk out in the rain and get a little damp. (whenever it does rain here) In NC it was like buckets of rain dumping on you! In AZ the weather people get excited over 1/4 in of rain. In NC it usually rains 4 or 5 inches. Nothing.
    And the spring is beautiful there but the mold on my furniture from constant dampness was more that I can stand so I did come back to AZ! I do miss the green there… but not the mold.

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  8. I think the last time I was involved in any sort of fire alarm shenanigans was when I was at City Hall a couple of years ago to get a business license. I’d already been waiting a solid 45 minutes for my number to be called when the alarm went off and the entire City Hall had to be evacuated. Everyone had to traipse down multiple flights of stairs and that took forEVER. When we got outside, we were instructed to stay put but I just went back to my car and headed home because I knew I wasn’t going to be getting my license that day.

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  9. Dutifully leaving a comment. Just don’t have the energy to write a comment about my fire drill experiences.

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  10. I remember in college it was winter, and I lived on the seventh floor. We had an expected fire drill and had to march down all those steps to stand forever outside in the cold. And I was sound asleep before like only college kids can. Thank God we only had the one.

    And I have always been afraid of thunderstorms. We used to have a Chihuahua who got so scared she would climb up in the machinery in the back of the refrigerator.

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  11. You are such a hero! Saving all those people, otherwise they would have perished. I have a love/hate relationship with spring, like PJ said April is so cruel. We have beautiful light green and all the flowers are in full bloom, that part I love. The other side of that is all the pollen and the violent storms that happen here in the deep south. They are deadly. I be like Edsel when we are under a tornado warning. Poor Edsel.

    While I was still working, the fire alarm went off one day around 5:00ish and all of us still there just stayed in place until the maintenance man came running in our division yelling for us to get out because there was a fire in the mechanical room right at the entrance to our part of the building. I gathered my belonging, proceeded to our designated exit in the event of fire, went to my car and drove right home.

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  12. This post is a case study in how to hook the reader and keep them riveted until the end.
    Keeping this one.
    Fun post Juuune. Or is it Junnne?

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  13. The first thing I thought of regarding Copy Editor Red Shirt was how they are usually the ones killed first in Star Trek.

    So Kirk, Spock, and Bones all beam down to the alien planet with a couple to Red Shirts…who will possibly survive?

    Also I miss great t-storms. Don’t get them much here in England either.

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  14. Our company entices us to participate in the fire drills by hiring an ice cream truck to be parked outside to service us with cups and cones while we wait to go back inside. When the actual fire alarm unexpectedly went off last month almost no one evacuated. I guess they knew there would be no ice cream truck and just resigned themselves to die instead.

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  15. “…I ended up having to get trail mix and a sherpa to make it from my parking spot to work. I had to sleep in a base camp the first night.” I am SO stealing this. Not at work, because OF COURSE I get here early enough to score a decent space, but when my husband and I go out. He parks so far away from everything and I’m sure he’s tired of me commenting, “I can get an Uber from here. See you inside.” Now I have the sherpa/base camp snark, so thank you for that. I’m sure he will thank you also.

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    1. I am stealing “I can get an Uber from here.” My husband also likes to park far, far away because he has a big truck (not a euphemism) and it’s just easier to park in BFE apparently.

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    2. Paula, what is it with husbands?! Mine parks a mile away from everything! Over the weekend, we were in a parking garage and he bypassed a brightly lit 3/4 empty level to go down to the lower dark level next to a wall that could easily hide a car break in. Why??? I considered letting it go, but we were in my car and I didn’t want a broken window in return for not being a nag.

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  16. I also love a good thunderstorm and don’t even mind if the power goes out. I get to play pioneer girl with my oil lamps.
    Your spring sounds wonderful. Ours has just barely started. We’ve had a few teaser days of warmth but it’s still too cold for me. I’m praying I’ll be able to ditch the down parka before June, unlike last year.
    Glad you all survived the non inferno and had a safe place to wait it out.
    My favourite false alarms were during my hairdresser school days.
    There were always a few students with perm or colour clients who needed rinsing so they’d troop across the street to the Chinese restaurant and use their kitchen sink. Fortunately I was never one of them.

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  17. I notice that Nebraska seems gray and brown until it is suddenly very green in one day. We just got to the very green stage this weekend and it’s supposed to snow about 12 inches tomorrow. I wish spring would come to stay.

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  18. Poor Edsel!
    I live in fear of setting off the fire alarm at work. We have a toaster oven, but I’m afraid any toasting smells may set off an alarm. One time, a lady on a lower floor accidentally microwaved her hot pocket for far too long and it caught fire in the microwave. The alarm went off and we all evacuated. For a couple of years, I thought of that hot pocket incident every time I saw her. Then, the same year, someone microwaved a doughnut so long that it blackened and set off the alarm. The two employees in that department (their boss wasn’t in bc he wasn’t ever there) wrapped up the doughnut and hid it in the trash. They told no one, but of course the fire department could see where the alarm was triggered and found the charred doughnut. They had to be so embarrassed! After the two incidents, we were told that if anyone left food cooking unattended and set off an alarm, their department would no longer be allowed to have a microwave. I think the hot pocket department gave up their microwave voluntarily.

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  19. Now when I hear an alarm and assume it is fake, I will remember that statistic from your blog and get the F outta there.

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  20. Beautiful springs are why we are plotting a move south in retirement. I mean, technically it’s spring here in CT but today it’s 42, grey, foggy, damp, with very few flowers in bloom. Not my personal idea of spring.

    Last time we had a fire drill at work I stepped out of my office and saw people still in the building. I thought I’d missed the announcement that it was NOT a drill so I kept on working. About 20 minutes later a few people stormed into my office and asked where I had been and when I replied “right here,” they had a fit that I hadn’t left the building. Then I remembered that during a drill there was a person designated to check every area to see if folks had responded so I asked why no one checked my office. Dead silence.

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  21. This post was just so cute and started my day with a smile.

    Also—random question. Do you feel like you are more in tune to color than other people? I ask because I live in a similar climate and I don’t really notice the color changes throughout seasons, new paint, makeup, etc the way you do.

    Do you think it means anything?

    I’m really really sensitive to the color of light, mostly natural light. We’ve lived all over the world and, to me, the sunlight is different colors in different places at different times of year. I realized a few years ago how much it affects my mood and my memories (and sometimes my migraines.)

    Do you find any of those affected by your sensitivity to color? (Or is it just part of your writing style and I’m sounding like an idiot right now?)

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    1. I definitely have noticed the different light in the places we’ve lived & traveled to.

      Michigan has some of the most glorious summer evenings when it’s light out until after 9 PM. Also, fall afternoons with the haze of burning leaves. Both are ingrained in my childhood memories & one of the things I miss the most.

      I loved the light in the Tuscany region of Italy, there is something magical about it. If I could, I would pack up & move tomorrow.

      The German Mosel & Rhine River Valley wine villages also have an interesting light during various seasons.

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  22. Great post Coot. I worked along the Gulf Coast where there are numerous chemical plants which at anytime can and will explode sending noxious chemicals into the atmosphere. At this an alarm will sound to shelter in place. We had a thunderstorm roll through one afternoon which caused SIP alarm to sound as well as set our fire alarm off. Mass confusion ensued. I decided to shelter in my car while high tailing it the hell out of there. Oh, I guess I need to add I was the resident safety officer.

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  23. Here at school we have very organized, planned months in advance fire and weather drills. They all go off like clockwork. But let the fire alarm go off when no one is expecting it and it’s like the Three Stooges times 500 around here. I’ve said for years they need to just spring them on us so we can practice when we AREN’T pre-warned.

    Your description of spring in NC is so lovely. Here in Chicago-ish, we’re still waiting on spring. And tomorrow is supposed to bring more cold and snow, so the vigil will go on.

    Lovely post lovely June!

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  24. You have finally found your office space ,enclosed, quiet, no one to June? you to death, no smells to bother you, comfortable seat. Now to figure out how to run a hose with air conditioning to a close parking spot.

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  25. You certainly made the best of a ridiculous situation. Were the rest of your coworkers who weren’t copy editors cowering in the storm around your car?

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  26. I’m so relieved to hear that you survived the inferno, and Red met her deadline.
    The hot water heater at work blew its top one time, setting off alarms and summoning the fire department. While the rest of us scrambled around trying to shut off the water and move things out of the flood, one of my coworkers stood back and took pictures of the firemen. Such fun!
    Spring has arrived here in typical Colorado fashion, it will be 78° today and in the 40s tomorrow and rainy.

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      1. Period. Sentences that start “I thought…” are statements. They don’t get question marks at the end. Remember when people said, “I don’t want to comment and hear I made grammar or spelling or punctuation mistakes”? Yeah. Why? Why did they say that?

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  27. I want to experience a NC Spring now! It sounds fabulous. I am grouchy because it was suddenly 78 degrees in my damn house yesterday. I need my A/C wall unit put back in! So tacky looking but I love me some cold refrigerated air as some people call it. I’m trying to hold off a bit for financial reasons.
    So glad you didn’t burn, baby, burn, hottie, Joon.

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  28. Can we please get an update on the fence situation? Also, I love and hate this time of year. April is the cruelest month.

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    1. I’m going to go look up that April is the cruelest month line and remind myself of its source. I’ve used it many times especially in the northlands where April weather was cruel. You’d buy into the hope of spring and then bam, 30 mph slanting rain and snow flurries. T.S. Eliot, that’s it! Anyway, April is indeed an exquisite feast for the eyes in the South.

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      1. Thank you PJ! You saved me a google. Anyway. Yesterday in Minneapolis it was 67! 67 is almost 70! It is supposed to snow 12-16 inches tomorrow. Cruel indeed.

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  29. Did you have to stay in your wet clothes all day? Just the thought of that makes me cold and uncomfortable.
    Cleveland is still stuck in the phase between winter and spring. I can’t wait for it to come alive.

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    1. YES. Fortunately it was already after 4:00 when the building burned to ashes. I told Red Shirt copy editor that this would be a great time to get into fluffy robes and have brandy before the fire, and then passion would ensue.

      No one at work likes me.

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  30. At my office, we “shelter in place” if the fire alarm goes off. I think that means we’ll all burn at our desks. So I have THAT to look forward to. Lovely post, as usual!

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  31. Even though spring in Illinois was pretty when I was growing up (and presumably still is), there’s nothing so lovely as spring in North Carolina. I remember Rocky Mount was a riot of pink and red when the azaleas bloomed. The redbud trees at the edge of the woods behind my house make me happy, as do all the other plants you mentioned. The forsythia is just about finished blooming and the azaleas are just beginning. Don’t you like how there’s a progression to the season, as if the blossoming plants politely take their appointed place in the schedule just so we can enjoy the splendor of the season for a long, long time? Ok, I’ll stop now.

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      1. There is nothing better than moving to a new place and seeing what flora comes out of all the cracks and crevices and way back yards during the springtime.

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  32. Hr ‘re it’s 70 today, snow tomorrow. We just hope it doesn’t kill all the incipient blossoms.
    You have cool coworkers.
    Lovely post, Joon.

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  33. In Lexington, KY we’re REAL green at the moment. I also love the flowering trees and tulips. Never mind that my backyard looks like a mud pit because our greyhound mix rips the grass right out of the ground during her afternoon “laps.”

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  34. So glad you lived to tell the tale.

    I remember in student accommodation the fire alarm would be set off weekly in the early hours due to drunk toast making or whatever. We’d all try cram into the 24 hour kebab shop over the road in our pyjamas to avoid standing in the rain.

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  35. My dog used to be Edsel-like with thunderstorms but as we discovered over the weekend when we had some massive storms roll in, he can’t hear them anymore. It was so pleasant to not have nervous Nellie, or rather, panicky Paco, trembling in fear. It only took 13 years to get to this point, woohoo!

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  36. Poor Edz. We had to buy a Thundershirt for our last dog (oh, how I miss her so) bc she trembled so much her teeth actually chattered. (no, the Thundershirt didn’t actually help, but we felt better for putting it on her, during electrical storms.)

    I am a floor captain for my office, meaning I am supposed to be in charge of making sure all of my colleagues get out safely during a fire alarm, and to the park across the street, and report to the building manager. I am good at getting everyone out, but then on the way to the park there’s this coffee shop, see, and… yeah. I don’t take attendance. Sorry, relatives of my colleagues.

    (guilt commenting 🙂 )

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    1. Oh you just reminded me that I am the assistant floor warden for our office. I hope the official floor warden is at work if we ever have a fire. I will forget to count everyone. As the assistant floor warden, I had to attend a stair chair training session. We had one employee who would likely not be able to make it down all the stairs due to some back issues. Her coworkers said she had already told them there was no way she was getting in that stair chair to be helped down the stairs. People were all in a tizzy about what to do in the event of a fire. Do they need to stay with her to wait on a fireman, etc. I finally spoke up and said, “I’m getting out if the building is on fire. If she doesn’t want to get in the chair, that’s her choice, but I’m not hanging around.” People looked surprised and some laughed. I’m considered “nice” at work, but I was over all the what if and hand wringing. I’m thinking they should choose a different assistant floor warden.

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  37. My little spot in Georgia has gone straight from a mildish winter to summer. But we do have the lovely flowers.

    Riveting fire account, Juan.

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  38. Oh, so exciting! I would have been tempted to just drive on over to Chick Fil A while we were already in the car. A little lemonade never hurt anyone, right?!
    Actually a very similar alarm(ing) situation happened to me a few months ago. Our building was full of children between 15 and 60 months old, so there was no way we could all fit in my car. Ha!

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  39. So glad everyone is ok. At my job we all just sit and work through the fire alarm like we don’t even hear it. I am sure one day we will need to be rescued as the flames rise.

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  40. I like how after all the fire drills someone still says “Is that the fire alarm?” What is the point of all the preparation if no one recognizes it when it actually happens? Also, spring flowers are the best. I love having tulips and daffodils and hyacinths to cut and bring in the house.

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