5am Thursday morning a smoke detector in my house goes off. Which one? Who knows--once one goes off they all have to chime in and sing out loud. Three minutes later they all stop. I look at the ones in the house that I can see, look for any warning blinking lights--nothing (of course). Two remaining smoke detectors in the house are not easily visible as one is in a small loft space in master bedroom (accessible by small, frail, DECORATIVE wooden ladder used for hanging clothes by lazy me), and the other is in the living room on our 30 foot ceiling. Fabulous! No 24 foot ladder in sight, nor would I want one because this body is not meant for climbing 24 foot ladders, it's meant for baking. Friday rolls around, I forget it all, nothing making noise, must have been a fluke, let's carry on.
4am Saturday morning, all smoke detectors are blaring. No smell of smoke, they aren't turning off even with reset buttons being pushed repeatedly. In a panic I go to open a window and all alarms stop. My mind races to CO poisoning in house as I remember all our smoke detectors pick up carbon monoxide as well as fire smoke. I close window and all alarms start blaring again. Hubby and I both agree to call fire dept to have them come out to check. As soon as I pick up phone to dial, all alarms stop. What the....? My mind says call them anyway, you never know.
So of course when the fire department shows up, there are no alarms going off AND all smoke detectors are showing no signs of distress with different colored/blinking lights. Fabulous! Two fireman race around the house with little devices that measure for any CO leakage while the nice Lieutenant checks all smoke detectors and changes all their batteries. No CO leakage to be found in house! Whew! What a sigh of relief. Lieutenant thinks it could be the batteries all needed changing, a good dusting out of dust/cobwebs or it might have been that all our smoke detectors are over 5 years old and should be replaced. The one smoke detector in the attic did have a red light, which meant it possibly could be showing a fault; this is the one that the Lieutenant says might have set them all off. Replace smoke detectors every 5 years? Who knew?
Thankful to have had the firemen be so nice and explain everything to us three or four times, as well as being generous at 5am to change all batteries as well as dust out each and every detector. Firemen leave in their big giant red truck which of course catches the eye of all our neighbors now standing outside our home (fabulous!). Hubby and I both breathe a sigh of relief and make mental note to call electrician on monday to replace all smoke detectors. Easy right? Not so fast.
Saturday night rolls around and of course I am all alone, and the one smoke detector in the little attic only accessible by the little, unsecured wooden ladder goes off!
And it keeps going off. I waited for that little *&#$ bugger to stop, but it wasn't happening. I knew I had to do the impossible: either run across street to nice neighbor man, wake him up at 10pm to come over, go up the ladder and disassemble detectors OR face my fears and make this non-climbing-ladder body go up the ladder and disconnect smoke detector. Maybe I should take a shot of whiskey before going up? No, don't do that, because if you fall and die the coroners report will say woman was drunk and attempted to climb ladder in drunk fit. Oh no, that would not be good. Just do it, Focus, you can do this. I get to the top relatively easy; HUGE sigh of relief there as I thought it would be a lot worse. Go into attic and try to unscrew smoke detector. Flashback to when my hubby showed me the smoke detector downstairs and how he disabled it: a SIMPLE un-click of a tab thingee from the wires and you're done. This flashback does not help me now as this smoke detector is nothing like the one downstairs; its completely different with no "easy-to-unclick-tab-thingee" How fabulous is that? Let's just panic shall we? And of course the detector is blaring away, at full speed, numbing my ears as I stand under it thinking I should have had that shot of whiskey! My brain comes back, and tell me to unscrew the bottom half and look inside. I do this and see three wires with plastic caps on them and think to go ahead and unscrew the caps, pull apart the wires as this will release the detector from it's base. Why did I think this? Who the hell knows, but to make a long story short (and about 15 minutes later) the noise stopped, the base was apart and the detector was DEAD. Amen.
Did I mention that I got zapped? I didn't? Oh yeah, I got zapped trying to pull out the last wire, that was nice and snug up there and refusing to come down. Sticking my finger up there to pull it down I got zapped. Did it make me cry like a baby? Yes it did. But I ventured on. See when said baker meets said annoying smoke detector that won't stop ringing, said baker triumphs and wins. OK now, stop crying, you need to go down the ladder. Oh wonderful, I had completely forgotten about the climbing down part. I promised myself that when I got down I would have two shots of whiskey. Rewards make people do better--that's my philosophy.
Here's where the really tricky part comes in: going down the ladder was hard because I stupidly stood at the top and looked down. Not good. This is a bad visual to have. So I laid down on the floor and inched my way to the first rung of the ladder, foot down, firmly on ladder. Now the creaking of ladder starts. Fabulous!! Really fabulous! My mind says hurry the hell up and get down before this f****er breaks! Of course halfway thru I pause with fear and hear more creaking. I think just jump down! Only 5 more steps to go. I made it down. Nightmare over.
As I write this post, the electrician comes tomorrow and the whiskey shots, btw, were amazing, and I am not a drinker, but was that night I became one. The pineapple-cream cheese blondies are for me. Two of my comforts: pineapple and cream cheese together. This is when the word fabulous is truly fabulous.
pineapple cream cheese blondies
10 TB unsalted butter, room temp
Extra butter for pan
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ts baking powder
3/4 ts salt
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
½ ts pure vanilla extract
8 ounces cream cheese, room temp
¼ - ½ cup diced (and well-drained pineapple chunks)
1 egg yolk
1-2 ts sugar (a lot of sugar is not needed here as the pineapple chunks are very sweet)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
For the pineapple-cream cheese mixture:
In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese, pineapple chunks, egg yolk and sugar until well combined; set aside.
For the blondie mixture:
Line a buttered or non-stick spray a 8-inch square baking pan. If your pan needs to have parchment paper to avoid sticking go ahead and do so. In medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt, set aside.
In a glass or cup, mix the eggs and vanilla extract until combined.
In a large bowl mix the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; cream on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Then add in eggs and vanilla mixing well; add flour mixture and mix until just combined. No need to overmix.
Pour batter into prepared pan; spread with a rubber spatula or wet hands.
Take the pineapple-cream cheese mixture and gently, using a spoon or pastry bag, place lines down the pan. No need to cover the entire top with cream cheese mixture; we want lines instead as the blondie batter will puff up when baked.
Bake in oven for about 25-35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into blondies comes out “almost” clean; okay to have a few bits of crumb on the cake tester. Cooking times vary depending on oven, so please check at 25 minute mark.
Let cool before cutting into squares. If you are having a hard time slicing squares, you can either use a wet, sharp knife or I’ve found putting blondies in fridge for a while helps to harden them up.