For Safety Devices, for Peace of Mind, for Being Alive, We’re Thankful
The Pilgrims had a good harvest; we have carbon monoxide alarms and pet microchips
In early fall 1621, the 53 surviving Pilgrims (of the more than 100 who landed on Plymouth Rock), along with 90 Native American guests, celebrated the successful harvest that would allow them to survive the coming winter.
I’m thankful for: baby monitors
One night I was half-asleep when I heard something that made my hair rise. “You woke me up just to take you to the bathroom? …I need my sleep!” said the night caregiver, who affected a saccharine-sweet demeanor whenever I was around. I went downstairs and told her that I was sorry, but she couldn’t work for us anymore. Thank you, baby monitor.
- Diana Hembree, senior editor
I’m thankful for: pet microchips
I’m grateful for the microchip I had inserted under my dog’s skin when
she was a puppy. Ruby is a purebred Sheltie, but her value to our family
has nothing to do with her pedigree. During a move when she was a few years old,
she managed to slip out through an open door as the movers were lugging
furniture and boxes inside. It was some time before anyone realized she was
missing. When we figured it out, my kids and I canvassed the neighborhood (which
was a few blocks from our old neighborhood). No Ruby.
It was starting to get dark when I got a call from our local animal shelter: Ruby was there! Someone had spotted her wandering around, picked her up and, because her tag hadn’t been updated, took her to our old address. When no one was there, they took her to the shelter, where the staff scanned her chip and found us. The next morning, before I unpacked a single box, I took Ruby to the pet store for new tags. It’s amazing something the size of grain of rice can reunite a lost pet and her family. Ruby (Photo: Maura Rhodes)
- Maura Rhodes, contributing editor
I’m thankful for: carbon monoxide detectors
Years ago, I was planted on the couch in front of the TV, feeling tired. I noticed a headache developing. Soon my fatigue turned to an almost flu-like exhaustion with a touch of nausea. I was on the verge of “falling asleep” when it dimly occurred to me what might be happening. I wondered whether the carbon monoxide detector plugged into an outlet next to the couch was working (it hadn’t gone off) so I pushed the test button and the alarm screamed — then wouldn’t stop. I stumbled out of the house and called 911.
Turns out, my very old gas stove was leaking. Had the carbon monoxide alarm not ultimately gone off, I might not be writing this. I vowed to buy a new detector as soon as possible.
- Marianne Wait, executive editor
I’m thankful for: "stop, drop, and roll"
I was shredding a junk mail when the shredder stopped working. I couldn't see any obstructions, so I suspected an internal sensor of some kind had become fouled by paper dust. As an old school computer nerd, I keep canned air around for removing dust from hardware, so I sprayed the inside the shredder’s housing.
Then I reached for the power switch. Now, what I didn't know at the time is that "canned air" is made of compressed fluorocarbons, and these fluorocarbons are combustible in certain situations. As it turns out, the inside of a shredder that's been turned on is one of those situations, which I discovered after flipping the switch. Thankfully, I was wearing glasses, which I believe helped to protect my eyeballs as a giant ball of flame erupted from the shredder housing, melting the hair off of my right arm and most of my left eyebrow, singeing a good chunk of hair going up the left side of my head, and fusing all of my eyelashes together. The smoke alarm began to shriek.
I began to notice a smell that I'd imagine is akin to a filthy salon getting hit by a nuclear weapon, which I interpreted to mean my face or hair or clothing was on fire. I instinctively ripped off my glasses, the lenses of which were now a strange purple from the burning of the anti-glare coating, and, recalling the "stop, drop, and roll" teachings of my wonderful kindergarten teachers, rammed my body face-first into the carpet and furiously rocked back and forth to extinguish whatever flames were present.
I wasn't actually on fire, but I did have to go to the bathroom and cut my eyelashes with pocketknife scissors so I could get my eyes fully open again. I'm grateful for being taught to stop, drop, and roll because it may well have saved me from further damage had my clothes caught fire. Sadly, it couldn't save me from the continued embarrassment of my wife and friends retelling this story.
- Ben Boyd, VP of product and engineering, Mother Nature Network
I’m thankful for: water filtration systems
Every time we travel abroad, we make sure to pack our reusable, water filtration bottles. Two months ago, our UV water filtration bottles kept us hydrated and healthy while traveling around Morocco. Most of my friends that traveled there before us drank water from local sources and got sick.
Before our camel trek across the Sahara Desert, we filled up our bottles at the hotel, held down the power button, shook the bottle and within 60 seconds, we had potable water. (Our bottles have instructions printed on the side so we never wondered if we were doing it right.) As we rode our camels to our tent camp, I felt confident reaching for my water bottle and taking a sip. One less thing to worry about! Riding camels in the Sahara Dessert (Photo: Muriel Vega)
- Muriel Vega, associate editor/producer
I’m thankful for: home alarms
I live in a city that sees its fair share of crime, and two tiny tots live under my roof. My home alarm system is set up so that at the touch of a button, I can call the police, the fire department or an ambulance. Those emergency responders know exactly where I am without me saying a word, and they will rush to my home in minutes. (My alarm went off accidentally a few times, and the police arrived at my house within two minutes.) Even if phone lines are down or my cellphone battery is dead, I can call for help. We turn on a door sensor during the day in case our 7-year-old attempts to go outside unexpectedly, and we turn on a motion sensor at night in case someone tries to break in. I'm thankful for the peace of mind my home alarm system brings. (Photo: Angela Nelson)
- Angela Nelson, senior editor
Please tell us what you’re thankful for in the comments section below .
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