Summer in Toronto is hot, humid and unpleasant. No, before you ask, I don't recall Florida being anything but idyllically tropical and you're ALL WRONG if you heard me say otherwise.

Besides, my apartment down south had air conditioning.

This apartment has underfloor heating which is great for winters, but doesn't even attempt to multi-task as a cooler during the summer. The one saving grace is that I have a basement. While completely uninhabitable when the snow closes in, this semi-underground room has now become the only remotely habitable place in the house. I celebrated by furnishing it with a futon.

The first night I slept down there, I was insomniacal from jet-lag and sat up reading for a couple of hours (Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters, in case anyone was interested). By the time I put my book down, I had developed a headache. I am prone to this particular ailment and wouldn't normally have thought anything of it except that (a) it was irritating and (b) I was relaxing in a cool room and there was just no call for it. No call at all.

Annoyed, I rolled over and tried to ignore it; a popular strategy of mine that has never once worked. Still, statistics can be manipulated and .... then a thought occurred to me. The basement was also the location of the boiler. What if I had a headache due to carbon monoxide? WHAT IF I WOKE UP DEAD TOMORROW MORNING?!

No, there is nothing wrong with that statement.

There wasn't really any good evidence to support this idea. Said boiler had been put in by the landlord new in the last year and the basement bedroom actually had a window, albeit a small one, which was open. Still, once you get a thought like that into your head it's kinda impossible to shift. Especially because if it was carbon monoxide and you did snuff it, you'd feel pretty stupid at the Pearly Gates of Heaven.

Saint Peter: I'm sorry my child, you died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Me: Ah, I thought that might happen.
Saint Peter
: ........ WTF? 100 years in Purgatory for being too stupid to enter Heaven.

Yeah, it'd be embarrassing. So I grabbed my pillow and went up to my sweltering bedroom. Then I realised the cat was still in the basement.

Me: Tallis~!
Cat: Meow?
Me: We're sleeping up here now.
Cat: ....... meow?!

Which I think roughly translated as: 'You've got to be kidding?! You do realise the basement is the only habitable place in this sauna? YOU DO REALISE FUR IS STILL IN FOR ME?' No one slept well that night.

The following evening saw me driving over to Canadian Tire (a Walmart equivalent) to hunt for CO detectors. There was too much choice but in the end I opted for a mid-priced one that showed a child sleeping peacefully on the box. At least, I hoped the little brat was asleep and it wasn't a promise for how much a parent could save on college fees.

Returning home, I plugged it into the wall. It flashed green. A likely story. I pressed the 'test' button. It emitted a sound that sent the cat fleeing from the room to produce a mournful yowl from the top of the stairs. The detector then turned back to green again. Hmm. I rescued the cat and eyed it for a few more minutes. So far, nothing. Perhaps we were good after all. Or perhaps I should wallpaper the whole bedroom with detectors. Statistically, one is likely to fail and sound its alarm. THEN SEE IF YOU CALL ME PARANOID.