I have issues with fire. I know, not many people like a fire that’s not In a pit or a fireplace, but I have more encounters with fire in the WRONG places than the average person.
My first encounter with the bad kind of fire was when I was 9 years old. We had been at a parade a few miles away from our house and saw the smoke cloud. Completely out of character for my mom, she decided to see if we could find it. We drove through a nearby subdivision before giving up and heading home. When we got to the end of our street we saw the fire trucks. It turned out to be two houses over from our own. Neighbors were spraying our shingles and shutters to prevent them from melting, or catching fire. For me it began a fear of fire. For years I would constantly check the stove, hair dryer, curling iron, and other appliances. Unfortunately it would not be my last…..or second to last……or……third.
Moving on to my wedding day. A bit of advice for all of my readers………DON’T LEAN OVER CANDLES. Not even when your drink is on the other side of them, and especially not while wearing a veil. As I stood by the head table talking to my lifelong best friend and bridesmaid, I began to smell something burning. I looked down and noticed a brown spot on my sleeve. “Oh, look Lynn……I burned my sleeve.” At this point she looked down and started beating my leg, while my father-in-law grabbed my veil from behind, threw it to the ground, and started stomping on it. Pieces of my veil were burning off and falling on to the sleeve and skirt of my gown, causing the fire to spread al over me……while I chatted away. Luckily, I got married in the early 90’s and the dresses were big, so no damage to my body. Maybe a few shorter hairs on my head though, as it was not In a fancy upswept style, but hanging down around my face. It’s amazing it didn’t go up in flames with all the hair spray I used.
A few short years later I was cooking in my mother-in-law’s kitchen. I was pulling something out of the oven, and I heard the potholder “pop.” I knew it must have hit the heating element, but couldn’t see a flame on it. I took it off and started moving it around to check it. All of a sudden I felt a bit of a burn and as I pulled the potholder away, all the layers stuck to my thumb. Found it!
When my oldest was about three years old he was sitting at the table eating dinner. I was in the living room and decided to straighten a picture frame that was sitting on our fairly tall entertainment center. I reached over a lit votive to do it. It was already burned pretty low, so I didn’t think it would be a problem. Let me remind you, and rephrase what I said earlier……. DON’T EVER REACH OVER A CANDLE! Needless to say, my sweater caught fire. Once again I heard a “pop.” I went into a little panic and did exactly what you should never do……I blew on it, then I watched it race up my arm. Being silly, I was afraid if I stopped, dropped, and rolled, I would start the carpet on fire. It occurred to me to open the door and run outside and roll in the snow, but I can’t imagine what that gust of oxygen would have done for it. Instead I started doing a little dance and a low scream…….” I’m on FIRE!” My husband came running out of the kitchen and yelled “STOP, DROP, AND ROLL! ” Feeling sensibility return, I did just that. The fire really just burned the fuzzies off of the sweater and it was one of my favorites so I asked Bill if he thought I could salvage it. His response….. “You smell like a barbecue.” My son’s response……. “It’s okay, Mommy. Next time you catch fire you can just stop, drop, and roll, then take off your sweater, throw it away, and buy a new one.” My thoughts are…..I hope there’s not a next time.
Today. I finished cleaning the kitchen and headed upstairs to get ready to go out. My son, Ethan, was off of work today, by the grace of God, and decided to go in the kitchen to get a drink shortly after I went upstairs. He screamed up to me with panic in his voice, but I didn’t hear what he said and had to ask again. “THERE’S AN ELECTRICAL FIRE IN THE DISHWASHER!” I started running downstairs, then had to back track to get my phone. When I got downstairs I opened the dishwasher and asked him to go flip all the circuits off (I am proud of this moment of intelligence compared to what follows.) Next, I spent at least two minutes trying to remember how to work my phone to dial 911, because that’s what happens with me in these situations. When my memory returned I dialed. I proceeded talk to them in panic-mode (which I’m sure they’re used to) and within minutes the entourage arrived. Three cop cars and a fire truck. Nothing like a good neighborhood show.
All is fine. The neighbors have been filled in. The crowds have dispersed. A new dishwasher will be here soon……and I pray that this will be the last fire situation I ever have to deal with.
I’ll end this with some advice……….. DONT EVER LEAVE YOUR WASHER, DRYER, OR DISHWASHER RUNNING IF YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BE HOME, OR ARE GOING TO SLEEP. We were lucky. We were home and awake, but there have been many times I have left or gone to sleep after starting a cycle on one of these appliances. Never again.
…….. and an ever-so-appropriate quote from my sister-in-law.
“Seriously, woman. You and fire…….”