Yes, fire. As if cancer were not enough to keep us occupied, we added fire to the list of experiences in our year of living in the now. We optimistically looked forward to an early evening, the kids all in bed at a reasonable time and Mark and I ready for a night filled with sleep. Mark lit a candle while I was finishing up some laundry. As I was plugging in my computer and turning out the lights, the fire alarm started going off in Titus’ room. Do you know how mad that made me? It seems the only time the fire alarms go off in our house is when we are in the deepest of deep sleep, because the batteries have died. How many times have we stumbled through the house, blindly groping for the circuit breaker box to stop the madness, while all the babies wake up and start screaming? So, I was not happy the alarm was going off. Mark came out and said he did smell smoke. We looked around a bit and couldn’t determine where it was coming from. I think the lit candle dawned on both of us at the same time and we headed to our bedroom. As we entered, we could feel the heat from the flames before we could see them. Flames, three feet high, were consuming our mattress and blankets.
Thankfully Mark had purchased a kitchen fire extinguisher after some of my kitchen adventures. He ran to grab the extinguisher while I started beating the flames with his favorite CU t-shirt. Bummer. Totally ruined. He came back and started yelling, “What do you do with this thing? I don’t know how to use it!!” It is kind of funny that one never thinks to practice using a fire extinguisher. You just feel better having it around. While he tried to figure it out, I ran to the bathroom and started filling a pail with water. He finally pulled the trigger and dry retardant shot out, putting out the majority of the flames. In our haste, we hadn’t closed the door to our bedroom so smoke was filling the house. We shut the door and then ran around the house to make sure the fire was really out. Mark and Thomas dragged the bed and mattress outside and doused them with the hose. Burned down feathers fluttered around the room and out the door. It looked like some poor bird had been mutilated in our room. It was a bad smell too. Burned feathers. Yuck! By this time, everybody in the house was up, wondering what was going on. I was running around the house in my pajamas and high-heeled sandals that had sat by my door for the donation truck. It was a good look. All of the neighbors appeared to be sleeping because I am sure we were quite a sight to behold.
Now we had to decide what to do for the rest of the hours that were quickly headed to morning. We opted for showing up at my mom’s house since the smoke seemed to be filling the entire house. I called my nephew Tim, waking him out of sleep and told him we had had a fire and needed to stay at Grandma’s. He groggily assured me the house was unlocked. It wasn’t but Mark managed to slide under the partially opened garage door and let us in. I quietly woke my mom in her room and she jumped up, wondering what was going on. We finally settled everyone in beds or sleeping bags and caught a few hours of sleep before a new day began.
Thankfully, just our mattress and bedding appear to be casualties of the fire. I think we can salvage our bed frame. My only sadness is the quilt on our bed was destroyed too. It was made for our wedding almost sixteen years ago by our dear friend, Dorothy. She is really like a grandma to us. She hand-quilted it all and embroidered our names and wedding date on it. We use it every summer as our bed covering and I always look forward to pulling it out of storage, admiring Dorothy’s handiwork. Unfortunately, something like the quilt is irreplaceable. I am going to try to salvage the center portion with our embroidered names and wedding date.
We are thankful for that annoying fire alarm. Mark just replaced the batteries a couple of weeks ago and it is the only alarm that works in our house. All the rest we have disabled. If it had gone any longer, the whole thing could have been much worse and I would not have been able to relate the story in good humor. We are thankful for the small amount of damage and that we are all safe. Mostly, Mark and I have looked at each other and laughed because really, what else is there to do? As my sister said, “At least it didn’t happen next week.” Very true. It seems so unlikely and ridiculous. How many times have we lit candles and shaken out the match without anything happening? So, we will be painting our bed frame this weekend (I had just thought it needed a new paint job) and buying a new mattress. And some pillows. Boy, those pillows sure made a mess.
Just keeping it interesting here. Never a dull moment. I could sure use some dullness in my life 🙂