Tonight’s Excitement

The series of events:

  1. We offer to look after our neighbor’s dog while she’s away.
  2. Our neighbor deposits her keys with us and leaves town.
  3. Liam’s friend Noah comes over to spend the night with us.
  4. We go have spaghetti dinner with friends down the street.
  5. Liam, Noah, Maggie and I return to the house so that they can get chores done.
  6. While I’m sitting in the bedroom, Liam says “Dad! Come quick! Noah can’t breathe!”
  7. I run into the living room. My throat immediately starts burning.
  8. We rush everyone outside.
  9. Liam was worries about Noah, Maggie, and the cats, who are sitting in the front window looking at us.
  10. I hold my breath, go back in and grab the cats. We toss them in the tent we already have set up in the front yard.
  11. Kathy, Abigail, and Abby’s friend Ethan arrive. Kathy and Ethan go in for a moment and quickly get driven back out of the house by the chemical burning.
  12. We call 911, explain the situation, and have a fire truck and ambulance parked outside in about 3 minutes.
  13. After hearing about the situation, the firemen suit up and go inside while the paramedics talk to all of the kids and take their vitals.
  14. The remaining firemen quizz us about cleansers, chemicals, or anything else that might have been spilled. We can’t think of anything.
  15. One of the firemen asks whether we had pepper spray or mace. We answer “No” at first, but then remember that our neighbor’s keychain has some sort of black cylinder attached.
  16. Kathy asks the boys whether they had touched the keys. They assure her they hadn’t. Then she calls Maggie (who has gone over to the neighbor’s house) and asks her. She told Kathy that she had squirted out some of the contents, but had no idea what it was. Mystery solved!
  17. The EMS and firefighters wrap up. We sheepishly thank them and wave them on their way.
  18. Noah’s mom shows up to retrieve him.
  19. As Kathy is explaining the situation to Noah’s mom, she squirts the pepper spray again to demonstrate what happened, upwind from everyone, setting off another round of coughing, irritated throats, and amused recriminations.
  20. Our coughing ends. We repatriate the cats. All is back to normal at last.