Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Burning Down the House

Last night I was sitting on the couch watching Secret Diary of a Call Girl when I smelled something burning. It was an acrid smell, electrical and hot. I sniffed around the TV and lamp but that wasn't it. I thought maybe my air conditioner was being stupid again, so I smelled around the vents, hmmm, not there. I decided to look out the window at the outside unit to see if it was running. As I went into the dining room the smell was stronger, but the a/c unit was whirring along. Hmmm, what is it?

I headed into the kitchen and OHMYGOD IT'S IN HERE! WHERE? WHAT? DID I LEAVE A CANDLE BURNING? DAMN 100 YEAR OLD HOUSE WIRING! I opened the oven, but that wasn't the source. The refrigerator was fine. I opened my bedroom door - nope, no candles. I looked in the bathroom - not there either. I smelled outside but no, it was in my house, and definitely in my kitchen. I could see a slight haze in the air. My mind is racing - where is the fire extinguisher? I need to put on clothes (I was in my pj's), I need to get Maddy, I need to get the dogs, I need to grab the silent auction stuff off my table, oh hell oh crap oh dear God are you KIDDING ME? You're going to burn down my house? Seriously? What the hell did I do to deserve this? You take my kids, now you're going to make us homeless? I can't BELIEVE this!

As I'm alternating between anger and outright fear, I open the dishwasher and discover that the lid from Maddy's sports bottle had fallen on the heating element and had melted. Mystery solved.

I was so upset by the experience I had to sit down. My knees were shaking, my heart was racing, and I was a little dizzy from the adrenaline rush. My mind was still running a mile a minute through all the What If? scenarios. What if it was on fire? What would we do? Where would we go? What would I save? I know the experts say don't save anything, just get out. I say to hell with that. The pictures, books, papers, and personal items of Jessica and Kelli are the only tangible things I have left. I couldn't stand there and just watch them burn.

When I finally calmed down, I opened my back door to let out the burning smell. I stood on my deck and looked up at the stars. I took a few deep breaths to get some fresh air, and said a silent Thank You to God for not burning down my house. I also apologized to Him for thinking the worst.

I also turned off my dishwasher's heating element.


jill.prettyman said...

I know that He never give us more than we can handle, but sometimes I'm not so sure.(I took one of my daughters journals to my husbands office so I had something of hers somewhere else)

My Life My Life My Life said...

Its scary but I look at those things as reminders to be thankful. We had a fire and I was nervous wreck the entire time it took for us to rebuild...6 months into being back home, my central air units wire's were burning...sent a similiar smell throughout the house, similiar to that same smell and I remember thinking 'WHY???'

Zookeeper said...

I can't tell you how many things I have melted in the dishwasher. It's sad to lose a water bottle, but it's so much better than a house fire. Glad all is well!

Frogdancer said...

(I think that your mind works in emergencies the same as mine. Right down to the not feeling the physical reaction until it's all over. I'd be cursing the heavens, and then going...um...sorry ... too!)
But hey! You got a good story out of it. That's always a good thing.

She who said...


I hear you when you say the fear and frantic thoughts race through the head and then the physical letdown after the emergency is over. Thankfully every thing is OK.

My thoughts are with you.


mysecondjournal said...

That is some scary stuff..I'm glad it worked out but I know what you mean, we had a sililar incident w/ our old dryer..the belt motor yada yada = smoke coming up from the basement..OMG..
NOT a fun though. I always feel so bad for victims of fire..they get fire, smoke and water damage..horrible.

Kelli said...

I am so glad it wasn't a fire! I was worried reading through this post...

Jill of All Trades said...

OH GOSH...how scary. I know how scared you were. We actually had an outlet catch fire in a wall, thank goodness I'm married to an electrician who know exactly what it was. Whew.

Andrea said...

Oh my god, as if you needed one more thing to keep you up at night.

I hate melting stuff in the dishwasher. It's bad enough to have to do the damn dishes.

mn said...

two words. safety deposit box. ok, three words :)
glad it all went well.
you know that post about bees in your wall, yeah, the heart racing, knee shaking, happened to me when i heard scurrying about in the vents. i keep waiting for a squirrel or worse to fall into my lap. the maintenance guy said its probably a squirrel, that it is in the attic and not the vents. and that it won't fall in my lap. slight relief there, just slight. and after saying that he told me he was going to Florida for a week's vacation.
so fear and heart racing, i know all about that :)
hope you are doing well.

Zip n Tizzy said...

First... I'm glad it was just the water bottle!
Now, don't you have a really amazing vacation coming up? Girl, you need a break!