Monday, September 13, 2010

On Second Thought (cont'd)

Before reading this post, please refer to the previous post dated September 7, 2010.

     "Do you smell smoke?"  I queried as I awoke from my afternoon nappie with a start.
     My teenage son, C.P., looked up from World of Warcraft and responded with a grunt.
     "I smell smoke!" I yelled.
     The bottoms of my bare feet burned as I skidded to a stop in front of the open kitchen window.  Everything looked OK outside but the smell was stronger than before.  What an odd time of year for someone to be stoking up their fireplace, I thought.
     "Fire!"  I spun to my left and saw that my son had run behind me and was now standing at theback window in the mudroom, yelling. Beyond that, flames were spiraling out of control throughout our back yard, headed straight for the house.  Time immediately slowed and the thoughts that went through my mind during the next several minutes could have filled a journal:  Oh, my...look how those flames are leaning towards the electrical, cable and phone lines.  Wow!  Those flames are really tall.  They're taller than the weeds.  If the fire reaches those lines, the rest of the day is shot.  Everything electronic will be gone!  I just want to sit comfortably on the couch and watch TV.  Should I run outside?  This is gonna suck!  I don't have a bra on.  I'm still in my nightgown and I haven't shaved my legs for 2 and a half weeks.  The back yard is such a mess.  Jake's gonna kill me (did I mention how at the party the night before, Jake gently reminded me that my back yard weeds...the ones that he had been waiting to come over and help me with needed to be dealt with NOW and it didn't matter if the washing machine was broken down or not because those weeds needed to be taken care of NOW and that he had the field mower all lined up and he was ready to do it NOW and even though I said that I needed to take care of the washer first that that he was going to ignore me and just show up and take care of those dam weeds NOW because it couldn't be put off any longer?) (big breath)!  What will the firemen say when they see a crazy lady with no bra on who's still in her pajamas in the middle of the afternoon?  Crap.  My pajamas are kind of see-through!  How embarassing. I wonder if I'm going to have to take the day off tomorrow?  Wait...tomorrow's a holiday.  Maybe I can just fold my arms across my chest when the firemen get here.  Surely they've seen people in their pajamas before and maybe they'll think that I have a bra on underneath because surely nobody is that big of a slob.  If the power lines burn, how will I live without air conditioning?  I wonder if we'll have to stay at Mom and Dad's house.  Sheesh...I could go on and on, but I think you get the general idea.
     Running out the back door seemed to be the best option, so I chose it.  Then I ran back in.  CP was still stanidng by the back window.
     "C.P!  Call 911!  Grab the phone!"
     He ran and grabbed it.  Handed it to me.  WTF???  Why did't he just call?  I pushed 911.
    "What is the address of your emergency?"
     "4- 2 - 4 - West - Wasatch - Street,"  I responded deliberately.  Chatter-Chatter-Chatter.  Don't they have caller/address ID or something like that?  At least they picked up.  All those recurring nightmares where I dial 911 and get a busy signal over and over are not going to come true...thank God! 
     "Could you repeat that address?"
     I repeated as I ran back out the door, "4 -2- 4 - West - Wasatch -Street. Send someone quickly!  Please hurry!  My back yard's on fire!"
     A neighbor from across the street (Tim) was just rounding the corner of the front of my house as I reached the padlock on the gate of the 3' tall fenced entrance to the back yard.  Oh, good.  He wasn't wearing a shirt.'s been a while since I saw a man who wasn't wearing a shirt.  Well, that's not quite true because what about all the times that we go swimming at Jolen and Jake's swimming pool?  Yeah.  How could I forget about that?  I think I'm kind of turned on...crap!...I'm in my pajamas and I'm not wearing a bra.  How embarassing.  Tim's two kids were in tow and they all looked panicked!  What am I saying?  They ARE panicked!  I started fumbling with the padlock and was having a really tough time.  Two unknown men (one who was barefoot) flew in front of my face and over the fence into the back yard as I continued to fumble with the lock.  CP flew over the fence behind me.  CP came running with the hose just as I saw a set of arms reach in front of me and grab the hose from his hands.  CP ran back to the spigot and the water began a-flowin'! 
     "Can you open the padlock?" I shouted at Tim.  Duh...what a stupid question.
     "Stay on the line with me until the fire truck gets there," the dispatcher gently urged.
     "OK."  I handed the phone to Tim.  WTF?  What was I thinking?  That they could make plans to meet for coffee?
     "OK.  I can do this.  I'm gonna take a deep breath.  In.  Out.  In. Out. I can do this.  The firemen are going to need to get through this gate and I've got to do it.  In.  Out. In. Out.  One of Tim's kids was patting me on the back, helping me breathe and reassuring me that I could do it.
     Yes!  Success!
     Turning around, I spotted the barefoot guy, holding the hose and spraying madly.  The second guy (who was shoed) was stomping on the ground on the watered-down sections and the sections where the flames were only 12" or so high.  Sometime within the next hour or so (or at least it seemed like it), firemen were descending upon the Anderson household.  A firetruck pulled up behind the house (there's a road to a middle school back there-no neighbors) and one in front.  There was an ambulance in there somewhere, too, but I can't remember where it fits into the story. 
     Soon, the fire was out and there were lots of firemen walking around with shovels and rakes, squelching the last of the "Great Fire of 2010."  The house was saved!  No one died!  The stench was horrific!  Smoke was everywhere!  Wow...the fire took out half of the back yard.  But, hey...the house was safe!
     Lots of hugging commenced.  I even got to hug shirtless Tim (giggle-giggle).  I think I was kind of turned on.  I hugged barefoot Joe (seriously...his name was Joe) and the melted-sole-shoed guy (I can't remember his name now, but somehow I learned that he lived at 325 West Wasatch Street and I can't remember where that tidbit fits into the story, either).  I started hugging the firemen (who, by this time, I am picturing with their shirts off after fighting a big, scary fire).  I think I was kind of turned on.  Seriously, have you every seen anything foxier than a fireman with his shirt off.  Well, I haven't seen it in real life, but I've seen it in calendars and on TV and stuff.  As to seeing it on the internet, I'm not gonna comment on that one.  I hugged Tim's kids.  I hugged C.P.  I hugged Tim again.
     Life at the Anderson residence had been restored to its former state.  Sort of.  Maybe I was going to get to sit on the couch and watch TV after all.   Hhhmmmm....on second thought...I nixed that.   There was still the other half of the yard that needed to be dealt with...the other half that was still flammable and weedy.  Shit.  You know exactly where I'm going with this, don't you?  Jake.  There was no way I was gonna get around that one.  He was gonna kill me when he heard about this.  Guess who got the first phone call?  Yep.  Jake.  (The story surrounding that whole scenario will be covered in yet another epic post which will shortly follow this one.  It's a good one.  Stay tuned, please.)
     Lesson learned #1:   Fire is a really efficient way to clear a field of weeds in a short time.
     Lesson learned #2:   When you get up, get dresseed.
     Lesson learned #3:   I need to get lucky.
     Lesson learned #4:   Mow my lawn in a timely fashion.
     Lesson learned #5:   (Yes, I'm finally going to reveal why I asked you to re-visit the post entitled "Blessed or Lucky")  Maybe there really are such things as blessings, are the subsections to "lesson learned #5.
     a.   Had CP and I not played hookie from church, the house surely would have caught on fire because my heroes wouldn't have been able to find the hose or the spigot because they were covered with ivy.
     b.  Had we not played hookie, my dogs would most likely have died because when wer'e away from home, they're left outside (there's a dog door into the garage so that they can get away from the lements) but there would have been no place to where they could escape.
     c.  Had the heroes not been there to start hosing down the yard, the fire would surely have reached the structure before the firemen could get there.
     d.  Had we not played hookie, we wouldn't have been there to catch the so early.
     e.  The section of the yard that the fire burned was the half that needed the field mower...thus...I didn't have to pay to rent the field mower.  The unburned section was easily cut down with a mulcher ('ll read about it in the next post).
     f.   Had the fire progessed one foot further to the east, it would have been completely done for...there was more flammable underbrush along the east side of my property than the rest of the yard all put together.
    g.   I am blessed with wonderful friends who came to my rescue (did I mention one of them was shirtless) friends (Joe and he-who-cannot-be-named-because I don't remember) and the old ones...Jake (Jim), Jacque (Jolene), Cindy (I haven't come up with a fake name for her yet), Bobbie (or her), and Daniel (or him), who flew immediately to my rescue (hold your'll be in the next post) to help us.
    h.  I got to hug a shirtless man!

     Yep...there ain't no way you're gonna catch me callin' this one lucky.  I am freakin' BLESSED!!!

P.S.  No, I am not recanting how I feel about those who suffer misfortunes...they are equally as worthy as I of receiving luck/blessings...I'm not saying I did anything at all that qualifies me for getting special treatment from fact, the opposite is quite true...I'm the last person who is deserving of special treatment  I'm just saying that I'm re-evaluting my thoughts about the long-held opinions I expressed in "Blessed or Lucky" and I'm left with lots of new questions now about why some people have horrific ordeals to suffer through while others don't. 
P.P.S.  Someday I'm going to tell y'all about my theory regarding why I was the "recipient" of this divine fire. second theory, that is...the one about why I think God blessed me with a hug from a man who wasn't wearing a shirt.

Please forgive me for typos or the lack of editing/revision...I'm anxious to get this posted for precious Jacque...she's been dying to read the rest of my story.  I'll get back to the revisions later!  Hope you like the story, Jacque-O!




Tuesday, September 7, 2010

On Second Thought...

Before reading this, please review my post "Blessed or Lucky" from August 13, 2010.

The month started badly with the washing machine's demise.  It was an inconvenience, but it was easy enough to work out a schedule between the landromat and Mom and Dad's house.   A nasty summer cold quickly set in and a week later, it had turned into pneumonia.  Not as bad as two years ago when it landed me in the hospital for five days, but it was enough to sap all of my energy.  And on top of that...the last several months (well, maybe the last couple of years) have not been kind to my my body.  Every muscle hurts and I'm starting to understand the concept of creaking bones.  The first Saturday of the month began with hauling laundry to Mom and Dad's followed by hauling it all back home.  There have been more than one morning when there weren't any clean socks (I am always running one load ahead of where I am at the moment) since the washer died.  There were soccer cleats to be purchased, fundraisers for school and church to work on, kids to run around, a dead, overgrown and tinderous back yard to be dealt with, dishes to be washed, writing that needed to done, a sleepover birthday party for a 13-year old that must be a smashing success event though the bank account is sorely know the routine.  After getting all the laundry home, I needed to run home and take a shower.  It had been three days (I was sick, remember?  Give me a break!) and I couldn't stand my own company.  Then a party at Jolene and Jake's house (the names have been changed to protect the innocent).  It was sheer torture getting ready and by the time I arrived at the party two hours late, I was having a hard time putting a smile on my face.  As  soon as I walked in, Jolene took one look at me and instantly knew something was wrong.  She pulled me into another room just as the tears exploded from my face.  Before I knew friend, Candy, was also at my side.  These two women have uncanny empathic skills.  What followed was a diatribe of verbal self-pity that was a real downer.  "I'm so exhausted.  I'm so tired.  I'm so overwhelmed.  I just can't do it any more."  You get the idea.  I left the party early (as I usually do because I turn into a pumpkin at 9 PM).  I decided to play hookie from church the next morning.  I slept in.  My son slept in.  We stayed in our pajamas.  Had a late breakfast.  Stayed in our pajamas.  Watched a movie.  Stayed in our pajamas.  And then...all hell broke loose.  Quite literally, it was hell on Earth...right in my own back yard.

To be continued...