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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

just another tuesday

Have you ever considered what you'd grab as you run out of your home in case of a fire?

Yesterday at around 3 or so, I put Bubby down in his crib for a nap, after which I put myself into Superstar's bed (they share a room) for a nap as well. The girls knew the drill: don't answer the phone or the door, don't leave, and please be quiet. Bubby woke up due to a bad dream (I suppose -- the way he was crying), and so I brought him into bed with me to cuddle. Having heard their brother, Curly and Li'l ~j. came into the room quietly to see if he was okay. After a few minutes of talking, Li'l ~j. went downstairs and then returned with a bottle for Bubby, while Curly went to use the bathroom. Waiting for her to finish, I smelled something unfamiliar. After she washed her hands, I called her into Bubby's room again and asked her to turn off the fan (because it was ALL THE WAY at the foot of the bed, and what was I going to do? Sit up and turn it off myself?), thinking maybe the fan was the reason for the quazi-burning weird smell. After she turned the fan off, I asked her, "Do you smell that?"

"Yeah, Mommy, I can smell it, but I don't know what that is."

She then left the room to go downstairs but quickly returned, panicked and yelling: "Mommy! I know what that smell is! There's smoke downstairs!"

I sat up, grabbed Bubby (& his bottle), and bolted out of the room. In the kitchen there was a weird hazy fog, and a huge stink of burning. "EVERYBODY OUT! NOW!" The girls were so scared, they followed me out the back door. Realizing I wasn't wearing a shirt (which is how to properly take a nap), I handed Bubby (& his bottle) to Li'l ~j. and gave them direction: "All of you, go to Shelly's, and stay there. Tell her I have to see if there's a fire. And don't worrry. . . . I don't care that you're not wearing shoes. I'm not even wearing a shirt." They obediently ran to the front of the house, around the corner and to our neighbor's home.

Knowing full well that fire spreads rapidly, I re-entered the house (yes, I know, duh. I don't need to hear that from you today.). I first grabbed a shirt, and then began my careful search for the source. I felt walls and doors, unplugged appliances, and checked outlets. I grabbed the phone from the kitchen and my cell phone. I called Shelly to make sure the kids were over there and let her know what I knew about our situation (that I could see no flame). Darin got home and quickly agreed upon smelling the kitchen, that there was some sort of electrical burn somewhere. I went outside and called la yen, who used to work at the Provo Fire Academy. I told her that I didn't think that this warrented a 911 call, but I needed to do something. She told me that since it was 5:06 pm, the fire academy guys had surely been gone from work for seven minutes, so I should call the fire department, which is what I did (after I went inside the house again to grab a phone book), but not before shooing away the seven little boys who came to stare at my house, daring each other to get closer.

I called the fire department's administration number and explained my situation: something might be burning; I can smell it but not see it, and I have no idea what "it" might be. She transfered me to dispatch, where I repeated my story. "Are you in the house, Ma'am?"

"No, but my husband and a neighbor are; they think it might be the refrigerator."

"You need to instruct them to exit the home immediately, Ma'am. I'm sending someone out there to check it out."

"How long will it be until they get here?"

"Not long."

A minute later I was talking with a neighbor outside when she said, "I bet those sirens are for you."

No way, I thought. That would be silly.


As the police car rounded the corner, followed by the fire truck, the ambulance, and the fire chief's truck, the thirty-eight kids lining our street cheered and screamed. (Honestly: those four vehicles. Really? Was it really necessary?) Five fully-dressed firefighters entered my house and after a while came out, telling us it was "clear".

Head Fire Guy told us that it was our refrigerator motor. He said he's seen it before, even in cases where it's scorched the floor (our floor is not scorched). He instructed us to not plug it back in until it's properly repaired, or just get a new one. (We're finding that it will, indeed, be less expensive to get a new refrigerator, which is super awesome since I just happen to have all that money sitting in my Refrigerator Budget.)

After all the excitement, the children lined up (lined up!) to take a look at the fire truck, so Head Fire Guy gave them a detailed tour, which was very sweet. Also, one of our bishopric members had an extra refrigerator (they just remodeled their kitchen), which he brought over last night, and which resides in our garage with all of our refrigerated and frozen needs.

It wasn't until over five hours after this incident that I realized that I never grabbed the "things" I always planned to grab in case of a fire. Just my kids.


This is me said...

How scary for you. I'm glad everything turned out alright.

My biggest fear is that there will be a fire while I'm in the shower and my kids are in the living room watching cartoons. Do I bother getting dressed? Or just grab my kids and run? Do I really want my neighbors to see me in nothing but a towel? Or will I care at all in that situation?

I'm glad you went back for a shirt. I think I would have, too. It's all that modesty training we received as Young Women.

Monica said...

I miss one phone call from you, and you burn your house down.
I'm sure glad you had a Refrigerator Budget. And I'm really glad that you didn't need your "New House Budget".


sue-donym said...

What else is there?

I didn't get to touch the butt.

Anonymous said...

Then you got it exactly right.

Glad everyone (and face it, yeah, everything is OK.)

Oh, and that you found a shirt, too.

Carina said...

I'm really glad you didn't pull a Constanza, start yelling FIRE and push the little ones out of your way.

Sometimes I don't give you enough credit.

swampbaby said...

Glad that everything, for the most part, turned out ok. Kudos to Curly for telling you she saw smoke - I should tell you about the time when I was a kid and saw and smelled smoke coming from our garage door into the kitchen - and sat there and kept watching TV...

La Yen said...

I am sorry that when yo called the first thing I did was laugh. It was just a funny way to start a conversation: "I think my house is on fire."
Instead of working to buy a boat, now you can be working to buy a fridge!

Christi said...

What? You didn't grab your 72 hr kits--for all 6 of you?

As much as we love our journals and our pics and our "never can be replaced stuff," does it really matter? You can't take it with you anyway, right? I'm glad you are all okay.


Tori :) said...

SOunds like when Tristan and a fried accidently set an abandoned yard on fire. The fire was out and everything was fine, but 2 firetrucks and a cop car came screaming thru the neighborhood. Embarrassing...
I'm glad y'all were all ok. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness for the guy in your bishopric -- I love it when people have appliances to spare.
And I think you got all the important things out of that house.

p.s. I'm a little late with this, but congratulations on the work in progress in your tummy!

wendysue said...

I can't believe you didn't grab your scriptures to sit on the front lawn and read with your children. . .honestly.

LOVE the "line up" of the kids. They'll be talking about that until Christmas!

Geo said...

You should be wearing emergency fanny packs AT ALL TIMES. Put an extra shirt in yours. And some beef jerky.

So very glad you're all safe, and such smart crisis responders.

QueenScarlett said...

So glad your safe. I'm excited for your new fridge. In a case like this...shirt is optional. Hubby might think differently ;-)

You're absolutely right - I don't think we'll grab things... just our babies.

Cari said...

Yeah, you grabbed the right "things" for sure. Fires (or almost fires) are so frightening. So glad all is well.

Bek said...

It is a funny story because it turned out ok. This somehow makes me feel better about not keeping my car clean enough. I could probably manage to feed and clothes my kids and myself for a few days just on what is in there.....

Glad all you had to replace was the fridge....

Lyle said...

Nothing like a good jolt to take a few years off your life. What brave, obedient kids. Glad your storm cloud had a silver lining.

i i eee said...

How scary. So happy it was just a rogue refrigerator!

Kids are all you need to take with you. Screw a shirt! When I just moved, I kind of wanted to just burn most of my stuff in some sort of cathartic bonfire...sometimes it's nice to start over. But only if you can afford it. And I can't, so there was no bonfire had.

Anonymous said...

I love Geo's comment about wearing an emergency fanny pack! Such a funny image.

My husband asked me what I would grab (besides kids) if the house was on fire. I said the computer, of course!

Tiffany UnTwisted said...

ok i think your house might be possessed.

and i think you grabbed all the perfect things, although you did one up me with the shirt. i probably wouldn't have thought a thing about it. My poor neighbors.

Mary Beth said...

Your last sentence made me cry- a reminder of what's really important. Thanks for sharing. Glad everything's okay.