Birthday Fire Alarm Candles

February 14, 2008

On August 19 of 2007, Vicky wrote,

Another thing that might make your 3 yr old laugh is to find some of those candles that relight themselves and next time there is a family birthday celebration, sneak one of the candles in with the others – I’m figuring your 3 yr old helps blow out the candles, right?

We recently celebrated my husband’s 58th birthday – the grandkids, 5 and 3 1/2 decorated the cake with the candles and our son helped with the “funny” one. After singing to Grandpa, they helped him blow them out and then many giggles ensued as this one lone candle kept flaming – they’d blow it out and it would relight etc.

I’ve been meaning to tell this story about “candles that can’t be blown out” for a while. Feb 12 was Random Granddaughter’s birthday. She is a child with a birthday too close to Valentine’s Day (a problem similar to the ones children with birthdays too close to New Year or too close to Christmas have). She had an early birthday party shared with Grandpa’s birthday party ) already described and I presume she had a “real birthday party” with her best friends this week and then Grandma’s birthday is at the end of this month so she will probably have a “late” birthday party too. I don’t think three birthday parties is too many for someone turning four years old, do you?

Anyway, on my last job in an computer school in an elegant refurbished four-story office building in downtown Portland, Oregon, we had a birthday party for our boss, “T”. One of the employees (the lab manager, Donny) was a real smart ass. (Much worse than I am, hard as that is to believe.)

He snuck some “relighting” candles on to the boss’ birthday cake. When the boss (who also had a excellent sense of humor) tried to blow them out, the candles relit themselves..

The refurbished office building was well equipped with fire detectors. About the third time the candles relit, all the alarms on the first floor of the office building started ringing. The alarms were wired into the downtown Portland Fire Department. Within a few minutes, fire engines, sirens howling, pulled up in front of the office building, and firemen in full gear came rushing in with hoses and axes ready to put us all out.

They weren’t as amused as they probably should have been.

This story is still probably a little too early to tell to Random Granddaughter (who, as regular readers of my blog know, considers herself a fire chief.) However, when she is five, she may be amused. Or like a real fire chief, not amused, as the case may be.


7 Responses to “Birthday Fire Alarm Candles”

  1. Pete Says:

    When I graduated from college I took some kind of career test, and it said that I should be a fireman. And I ended up in computer networks… Maybe I should have been a fireman, as I have started quite a few in my day. When I was 14 or 15 I accidently (But very stupidly) set off 900 firecrackers in my bedroom closet! I blre holes in every piece of clothing I owned! My mother made me wear most of them for years to come. It took days for the smell of gun powder to clear the house, and it never did leave my clothes!

  2. modestypress Says:


    We haven’t got chickens yet, but when I was a kid, we did have chickens. My brother and I played with firecrackers, also, though we never had 900. (Now we all know where Saddam’s “Weapons of Mass Destruction” went!

    One day I said to my brother, “I wonder what would happen if we set off a fire cracker next to an egg?” (I was holding in my hand a freshly laid egg.)

    My brother, a young man of action, said, “Let’s find out.” He took the egg, put it on the ground, lit a firecracker, and put it next egg.

    We backed away, the firecracker exploded…and we found no trace of the egg. It’s now 52 years later, and I still don’t believe it. No shell, no white, no yolk, just a little firecracker wrapping.

    Either at 12 years of age I had a hallucination, or the firecracker completely transformed the egg to energy. Perhaps we had a little hydrogen bomb at the time and didn’t realize it.

  3. …. 900 firecrackers?????

  4. pandemonic Says:

    Random Granddaughter probably won’t be amused by candles that can’t be extinguished. Or maybe so amused, she will put them on YOUR cake.

  5. modestypress Says:


    Please understand that Pete, nice as he is, is given to exaggeration and hyperbole. I know for a fact that he did not have an explosive more than 898 firecrackers, and not a single bomb more than that.

    Don’t believe everything you read on my blog.

  6. modestypress Says:


    RG will be both. I wrote once that I was teasing her one day about something and she became quite upset and told me stop.

    The next day she started teasing me about the same item. This is true.

  7. Pete Says:

    Ok I will come clean David. I had 3 bricks of 300 each, and I was probably 25 shy of 900. So yes there was a trace of exaggeration. However if one measly little firecracker can make an egg disappear like magic (Yeah, right Mr. R…and I exaggerate???) you can imagine what 875 of them can do when placed in a tool box and ignited. See actually all I wanted to do was blow up a pen. So I took the guts out of the pen and put the cracker in with the fuse sticking out where the ink would be. I lit the fuse and threw it in the toolbox with the 875 firecrackers, figuring that the pen would win, plus about 860 of the firecrackers were well wrapped in bricks. The toolbox was in the closet, below all of my shirts that were hanging in the closet. I closed (But did not latch) the toolbox, then closed to closet door. It was actually rather fascinating the way sparks and smoke came out all around the perimiter of the door. Be assured that this story comes up at every family reunion. then one haoolween I put an M-80 in a can of sterno! The police came knocking the next day.

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