Thursday, January 10, 2008

Where there is smoke, there's fire

So, the fire department dropped by my house the other day.
In my quest to multi-task (cook a meat loaf, pack boxes, paint cupboards, renovate, etc) attention to important details have completely slipped my mind.
A few nights ago, I cooked lasagna. A delicious, aromatic lasagna that had spilled all over the bottom of the oven while it cooked. I forgot to clean it up.
Fast forward to the next day, I was making a meat loaf. I stuck it in the oven and went to the living room to move some of the growing garbage piles to the outside so that we could go through more of our stuff and...throw it away.
As I walked up the steps into my kitchen, I saw smoke streaming out of an element.
I approached the stove and saw flames dancing around inside the stove, reminiscent of the early Sunday school felt board productions of Shadrach, Meschach and Abed-Nego and the fiery furnace.
"Very oddd. "
I walk over to my pantry and grab the fire extinguisher and the baking soda. I'm debating which one to use when I think "wait a minute...if I open the oven door, I will only add oxygen to the fire. That would not be good."
I call 911. I really just want to know whether or not I should use baking soda or the fire extinguisher.
I'm calm. I'm fine. I'm relating details to the 911 operator.
I tell her that the fire looks like it's burning itself out. She puts me on hold as she talks to the fire department.
I'm calm. I'm fine. I smile at Anne whose taken the intiative to get herself and her baby sister dressed to go outside in case things get out of hand.
The operator comes back on and says,"Ok, ma'am. They are on their way."
"They're what?"
"They're on their way."
SNAP. Lose it. Complete and total meltdown. I started crying and freaking out.
So weird. When things are in crisis, I'm fine. When help is on the way, I'm not. Strange.
Anyway, those boys move like lightening. I only have the chance to hang up the phone, check the oven and see that the fire has indeed burned itself out, pace the floor twice and usher the girls to the door just in time to see the fire department pull up into my yard.
The team leader is in full dress and I yell from my doorway, "it's out". He makes a gesture to the men who are unloading from the truck to stop.
Everyone stops.
The team leader and another man come into the house and ask me all sorts of questions. They look at my stove and tell me a few options I can do if this should ever happen again. I look out the window and see the other 5 crew members piling back into the truck (they all had their masks on and full gear), I watch the kind captain in his full outfit talking me through the situation and I look at the meat loaf that has no chance of survival.
The captain says, "...just flip the power switch off if it happens again."
And I burst out crying.
Both men give me a hug.
I apologize profusely but they tell me it's ok. They tell me that this is their job and they are here to help and it doesn't matter that the fire went out before they got here. It wasn't a waste of their time. They just wanted to be certain that my girls and I are safe.
I blubber some more and cry into the firemen's coat. Apparently my emotions are on a delayed timer and they come out after actual events take place.
The fire chief suggest I go show the girls the firetuck--he probably could sense that I needed to be outside after I snotted all over his coat.
I bring my girls to the truck. Thank the men profusely. They all eschew it and say they are just doing their job. Two of the fighters show Anne and Brie the truck and give them each a teddy bear. I take a picture on my cell phone and text Peter: "Guess who's here? The fire department." To which he quickly text back" What's going on?" I let him know we're ok and that he's not going to believe this one.
I've collected some pretty embarrassing moments in the time we've been married, but really this one takes the cake, the prize trophy and is worth a T-shirt that reads "Someone who loves you nearly burned the house down and ruined dinner."
At any rate, we were fine. The firefighters were awesome. These men are really amazing people. And I can't thank them enough for their kindness and staying with me until I felt ok and empowering me with the knowledge of what to do should this ever happen again. They assure me that this is their job and I did the right thing by not opening the stove door and giving them a call. Off they go...everyone of them heroes in my eyes.
I'm calm now. I'm fine now.
soon after, Peter gets home, gives me the biggest hug and whispers the words that I so desperately need to hear, "Baby, I'm taking you out for dinner."


Suz said...

sounds like a literal and emotional meltdown! brought tears to my eyes. and i love the final line, the words of your husband. just what you needed. :)

Brambleberry said...

Oh my stars. What a day! You definately deserved a night out.

And isn't it typical nice gal....that you feel badly for not giving them a fire to fight? That you are compelled to apologize that the fire wasn't consuming your home?

I'm sure they wish every call ended up the way yours did. You're probably "that nice meatloaf lady." :)

Jenny said...

Holly, you need to have a magazine column. Not only do the craziest things happen to you, you have a way of describing these events that makes a reader want to laugh, cry, and have experiences of their own.

Holly said...

too funny! Great story! You have such an exciting life. Teehee!!!

Magda said...

Blessed by your writing. Thanks for sharing unabashedly.

Fellow artsy redeemed Diva.

Rhonda said...

Perhaps one of the firefighters wouldn't have minded taking a picture of you & your girls along with the other firemen beside the truck. Would have made a great addition to your post. :)

Okay, perhaps it wasn't the first thing on your mind.

Tamatha said...

Aaawww...good husband!:o)