Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How We Started a Fire in Chicago

But first, to build the suspense, here's a lovely photo of the sunrise from our room. We didn't get up this early; we just woke up, took some pictures, and went back to sleep.

Now, on to how we started a fire, and no, this has nothing to do with euphemisms about how to celebrate 25 years of marriage. This is the other kind.

Our room, you notice, faces east. It's a very cool room, very art nouveau, lots of little extra decorations, including a shelf of books. On the marble desktop, they had seen fit to place a slightly out-of-period art deco lamp with a clear globe base, full of water. This watery globe sits exactly in front of one of the eastward facing windows, through which the morning sun streams like, well, blazes.

Hank and I were doing our morning get-ready-to-check out chores when I asked him, "Are you on fire?" Turns out, he wasn't, but his sweater was. We had tossed it on the desk near the lamp, and (I swear I am not making a word of this up) the sunlight through the globe of the lamp had ignited it. Smoke was spiraling upward, and the edges of the sleeve were laced with tiny, festive flames.

I put the sleeve in the sink to extinguish it, and moved some magazines that were under it. Then I called downstairs to let them know that their lamp positioning didn't take basic physics into account. I understand that much interior decoration doesn't. They were very apologetic, but did not apparently feel that our trauma warranted, say, a free stay at some other time. They did, however, promise to move the lamp.


Anonymous said...


Peggy Hubble said...

Janet, thanks for the mini vacation via words. I truly needed a respite this evening and you have provided just that. I have so enjoyed reading about your adventures and learned a bit too! I hope you both continue to enjoy your trip. Thanks for sharing!