Sunday, August 12, 2007

Tales of a Housefire that wasn’t and three car wrecks in one day

My husband is a great firefighter and is worthy of the title "My Hero." I am the Queen of Panic and Destruction.

This afternoon we had quite a bit of excitement. Granted, I slept through some of it but hey, I woke up for the major part! That counted. I should have stayed asleep.

The spouse was burning something in the outdoor fireplace on the patio. Many fires have been burned in that Pit of Destruction; alas, I fear it has burned it's last time. Maybe not. We'll see. Anyway.........The fire got out of control. How? Well, the fire was supposed to be out and the spouse doused it with a mixture of gas and oil. Why? I don't know. Men do that. To see if it would flame back up? It did. What was left of the gas can, incidentally, was a piece of charred plastic with the word Gasoline clearly visible. Oh, it shrunk from 5 gallons to about the size of a brick. A broken brick. A small brick.

I awoke from a sound sleep - the movie was good - Michael Douglas, Gwenyth Paltrow - A Perfect Murder, but I was soooooo sleepy, to hear the back door fling open and my husband yell, "Call the fire department!" I'm thinking, "What's that smell?" It dawned on me that it was probably smoke, given who he requested I call. I couldn't find my phone. It was in my purse, I later discovered, in the pocket it was supposed to be in; however, it eluded my searching eyes. How I wish it had not. Maybe I wouldn't have panicked. I flung the door back open and said, "But I can't find the phone!" Then I saw it. I felt it. The hottest heat (thank you, God, that I won't burn eternally in hell....I don't think I could stand the heat, not to mention eternal separation from You). The tallest flames! I thought the house was on fire. He tossed me his phone and I was dialing our area code and suddenly remembered, "Self!" That's what I call me in these conversations in my head. "Self! 911 does not have an area code! Think!" I punched in 911 and the guy goes, "What city, please?" I'm thinking, "What a maroon!" " Richland !" I answered, it dawning on me slowly that I'm on a cell phone and it doesn't show our address automatically. I said, "House fire, and gave our address. He repeated the correct number but I never heard of the street he repeated back. I said it again and he got it wrong again. I spelled it. While I am doing this, I'm looking around for Wilson and Buck the Bunny. Yes, I call him Buck the Bunny, even though his name is Buck. For those of you who don't know, Wilson is my 2 year old toy poodle and Buck the Bunny is, well, a bunny. A lop eared dwarf rabbit. Not very dwarf. I couldn't find Buck! I'm spelling the name of the street and going, "Oh, God, I cannot find the bunny! Buck! Buck!" He doesn't come when you call like Wilson does. Must work on training..

The spouse flings the door open and says, "Tell them never mind, I got it out." I'm still smelling smoke and gasoline and I'm thinking, "I have to find my bunny, you tell him!" I throw him the phone and say, "You tell him!" The 911 operator asks him, "Are you sure there's a burgular in your back yard?" Spouse says, "No, a fire, but it's.....ahhhhh..........tell them to hurry!" It flamed back up! I'm thinking, "Oh no oh no oh no oh no oh no."

I cannot think. Oh, I know what I'll do! Wilson is tripping me while I'm dashing around searching for Buck the Bunny. I get Wilson and grab the keys and head for the Kia. I get in the Kia and don't close the door. There's my mistake. I'm thinking, "I'll back the truck out and leave the a/c on and go find Buck the Bunny in peace and get the birds and Daisy (the gerbil) out and roll the birds out (Sonny and Duchess are our parakeets who are in a huge cage on rollers) and put them under the Bradford Pear in the front yard in the shade and then get Willie Wonka, the beta fish, out.

I crank the truck and the door doesn't close, but who cares? I have a puppy looking at me, not excited he's getting to go for a ride but like, "What's going on? What in the world is happening?" He knew something was up. Anyway, I backed out and the door flew open even wider, denting the Saturn, my husband's new truck (new to him, he had it less than 2 weeks!) and bending the door back on the Kia. I looked at Wilson, who's looking at me like, "Mama, what's wrong?" I went forward so I could dislodge the door and backed up again. The door flung back open and lodged again. Forward I go. It hung. I give up! I backed up and, well.....Yes. Step back folks, we have a winner. One woman single handedly damaged 3 vehicles in less than 15 seconds.
Remembering to put the truck in park, I grabbed Wilson tried to shut the door. Why wouldn't it shut? It was too bent.. That's why! I deposited Wilson on the sofa and headed out the back door in time to see the flames dying down and the spouse says, "It's okay." I left Wilson inside and sat down on the swing, not sure what to do. He's still hosing down the house and I'm thinking something but I swear I can't remember now. Probably that I was going to have to tell him I wrecked all our vehicles. I don't know. I went inside and sat down on the sofa and leaned over. Way over. Trying to breathe. It hit me, what if Buck the Bunny is in the comforter and I'm smothering him? I shook the comforter out. No bunny.

I'm outside on the swing. I'm watching my husband wield the garden hose, watering the house. There's a man running through our backyard. He works for the fire department and heard the call over the scanner. Since he lives nearby he thought he'd head on over. I hear fire engines and there are a parade of men in our backyard. My husband knows some of them. They may as well have been speaking a foreign language. I later told da spouse that I thought he said he had some bleach that would take the soot off the house, but what he actually said was that he had an extender brush for a car washing thingy deal that would work.

They left some time later and my husband came inside. I had to tell him. I tried. The first thing I said was, "I can't find Buck the Bunny." He snipped, "Did he go outside?" I said, "No, I don't think so." He found him. I had to tell him. I said, "I had an accident." He thought I meant I wet my britches. Nope.

Oh, my, goodness. It wasn't pretty. Tensions were high and his first instinct was to blame someone. The words flew like daggers and he later apologized for them. He knew I was trying to save the pets. That's what I get for not having babies. I could have worried about one "real" baby but noooooooo, I have a house full of furballs to save. But this is not about that. I was upset that he was upset and I knew he was rightly upset and that he was upset at the situation but I was still operating on panic.

I said things. He said things. Repeat. Tensions were high. He apologized for his words and I apologized for wrecking all three of the vehicles. We were very thankful. the house did not burn down and that no critters were lost.

We prioritized and went to our daughter's baby shower.

Came home, went for a swim, went to Waffle House to eat a bite and smoke and thank God again and just sort of unwound, talking about how we felt while things were going on. I told him how my mind was just blank during parts of it. He said trauma does that.. How well I know!
He was so sweet to apologize to me, the Queen of Panic and Destruction who had taken out all three of our vehicles in 3 movements.

We drove up to the sight of the Kia, with its door hanging open, taunting me. I looked at his truck and the Saturn and apologized again. He isn't mad. He called the insurance company. Or did he do that before we went to Waffle House? We watched The Messengers. Well, you know me and scary movies. I made it through 1/4 of it, LOL!

So the house did not burn down due to the heroic efforts of My Hero, My Husband, and I, the Queen of Panic and Destruction, did wreck 3 cars in under 15 seconds.

We are blessed and highly favored, though. If the fire had burnt our house down..........