FIRE…..Again…..and Again…..and Again

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…….”




The Danger of Being Me

I  don’t know why, but I’m prone to slightly comical situations in times of peril. I have managed to maim many a bird with my car. I have caught fire several times. I have difficulty dialing 911, and I mean I literally punching in those three simple numbers.

I think we have all had a bird swoop down in front of our car, as if playing a game of chicken with its litte birdy friends. Escaping, but just barely. For me, one wasn’t so lucky. He apparently, didn’t quite understand the game, because he flew AT the car, not crosswise, in front of it. He flew down below the top of the hood and I lost sight of him.  I didn’t hear a thump,  so I assumed he had miraculously survived. When I got home, I gathered my things and started toward the apartment we lived in at the time. As I rounded the corner of the car, and stepped up onto the sidewalk, I saw said bird……in flight position, head in the grill and body extending outward. (Insert scream here.)  Not the kind of hood ornament I was looking for, I made Bill remove the body. Poor birdy.

That poor little guy wasn’t the only bird that found himself flying into my car. Head on. While driving down the road a few years later,  with my husband in the passenger seat, a blue jay hit my window, dead center driver side. His body then proceeded to bounce to the side of the car and hit the frame of the open window. It could have gone either way. In and onto my lap, or out onto the road…..Thankfully, it was the later. Birds beware. I am a dangerous person.

At my wedding, we had candles on the tables. I was talking to my maid-of-honor near the beginning of the reception, and I smelled something burning. I looked down at my sleeve and saw a small brown burn mark. Very nonchalantly I said, “Look, Lynn, I burned my sleeve.”  Before I could process how that had happened, she began furiously beating my skirt. At the same time, my father-in-law came up from behind me, ripped off my veil, and started stomping on it. I had leaned too close to a candle while retreiving my drink from the head table, and my veil had caught fire. As it burned with a white flame, pieces of it were dropping onto my dress and catching my sleeve and the skirt. Thank God that we loved big skirts, hoops, and crinolines in the early 90s. We went upstairs to my room, cut off the burnt part of the veil, pinned the folds of the skirt to hide the damage, and I walked back into the reception to the DJ playing “Burning Down the House.” I spent the rest of the night showing guest the hole in my dress.

Several years later, I was adjusting a picture frame on our entertainment center. I was a little OCD at that time. It was a tall piece of furniture, and I am short. I had to reach over a lit votive, but the candle was really low, and surely it wouldn’t be a problem. As I pulled my arm away, I noticed a flame crawling up my sleeve. I panicked. I’m usually a quick-thinker in panic situations, but not this time. I blew on my sleeve, adding fuel to the fire. Literally. I watched it go up my arm and head around to my back. I was afraid if I stopped, dropped, and rolled, I might catch the carpet on fire. I know, it was crazy. I thought about going outside to roll, but it was winter, and snowy. So I started jumping up and down and screaming, “I’M ON FIRE!” Luckily my husband was home and told me me stop, drop, and roll, and this time I decided I didn’t care about the carpet. If I had opened the door to go ouside, I would have, again, added oxygen to the fire, and made it worse, and I can’t believe I was so worried about the carpet. As you can see……. I am a danger to myself.

In the end, I was no worse for the wear. A little sad, however, because I LOVED that sweater! It had actually only burned the fuzzies off of it. BONUS! I wanted to get rid of them anyway! Unfortunately, Bill said I smelled like a picnic, and I had to ditch the sweater. Later, my oldest who was 3 or 4 at the time, gave me some great advice. He said “Mommy, next time you catch fire, you just need to stop, drop, and roll. Take off your sweater, throw it away, and buy a new one!” Thanks, buddy.

This last weekend, I was woken from a dead sleep by Bill, screaming up the stairs for me to call 911 for a neighbor who was in trouble. I was barely conscious. I grabbed my phone, fumbling it repeatedly, unlocked it, and looked for the emergency button. I’ve never had to call from my cell, and I thought that button was a direct link to 911, not just a bypass for unlocking it. I remember years ago, people had trouble dialing 911 from cell phones. I still had that memory stuck in my head, so when I dialed it and didn’t get a ring, I assumed it wasn’t working. I dialed twice and hung up both times. Seconds seemed like minutes. Bill came running up the stairs wondering what was going on, and I tried to explain. He grabbed the phone, and requested Siri dial the local police department, to which she responded that I didn’t have voice activation set up. He threw the phone down, and I ran for our Vonage line. We never use it, and it’s not in a convenient location in the house, but we keep it just in case. This was one of those moments. I dial 911. Crap, didn’t turn the phone on. Turn it on, turn in off, dial 911. Shaking. Adrenalin pumping. Good Grief! What’s wrong with me?! FInally, I turn the phone on, and dial properly. What should have taken less than 30 seconds, has now taken at least 2 minutes. We are very close to our police department, so they were there within 2 minutes or less, and as I have said before, they come in large numbers. Our poor neighbor was in trouble for 2 minutes longer than they should have been. They are fine. All is well. Except the fact that I am a dangerous person.

I can’t make this suff up…… just part of the danger of being me.


Elvis is IN the Building

Elvis is IN the building. At least that’s what he said. On Sunday, April 12th, Bill and I had our vows renewed by Elvis. Well, not the real one. I’m in the group that believes he’s actually dead.

We were in Vegas, and it seemed like the cheesiest, and most awesome thing to do. It was. It was hilarious. Fabulous. Perfect. We got ready at the hotel, and headed down to our limo. A beautiful, white, stretch limo. Our driver was very friendly, and as you all know, I can make a friend anywhere. He was from South Africa (and had a beautiful accent), so I asked him why he moved to the States. He told me his daughter is an actress, and they moved here for her. She got a big break, and is a lead character in a currently running, and very popular show. Seriously. Awesome.

On the first speed bump we hit, in the hotel parking lot (didn’t take me long) I spilled my wine, uh, I mean soda, right down the front of my dress. Unfortunately, it was red grape….soda. We were headed for a big time cliché wedding. All the better. Once arriving at the “chapel”, and yes, I use that word loosely, we headed into the Doo Wop Diner, which we had chosen for our vow renewal. It seemed appropriate for Elvis. We had a 30 second rehearsal, and we were ready to go.

We registered as Billy and Liv. Bill has called me Liv for years. The photographer begins the live internet feed, and Elvis immediately starts calling me “Lin.” I, now, have a huge grin plastered on my face. Could this get any better?! This is a dream come true. Cheesiness at its finest. Then, he starts the song music…on his ITouch…..good grief. Seriously?! It’s the wrong music, so he has to start again. Sometime, in the middle of our quick “ceremony,” right before he starts the second song and hits the wrong song AGAIN, Bill whispers to him that my name is “Liv.” As he starts to sing, he pulls a little yellow sticky note out of his pocket to check the names. Classic. I’m not complaining. It couldn’t have been any more perfect. The best. We thought having an Elvis wedding would be enough. We didn’t even consider the cheesy flaws that could make it better!  We will never forget it.  I’m still smiling about it.

After our renewal, we had the limo driver drop us off at an Italian restaurant for dinner, and later we saw the Criss Angel Believe show.  Tickets we had gotten by attending a time-share presentation that morning. We did one of these in our first year of marriage, and now on our twenty-fifth. This time the gift was better though.  The last time it was supposed to be a TV, but they gave us a “shower spa.” Regardless, I hope we don’t do it on our fiftieth anniversary.

On Monday, we took a trip to Death Valley National Park and enjoyed God’s Beauty. And HEAT. We were lucky though, as it only hit about 103-104F. It was a beautiful day for a drive, and we took some gorgeous pictures. Bill has been on many business trips in the area, and he has always wanted to share it with me, so it was wonderful to experience it with him. We even saw a few dust devils, and tumbleweed. Wild West. Thankfully, we weren’t there on Tuesday, when we had a sandstorm in Vegas. I can’t imagine what that would have been like in Death Valley!

Tuesday was our actually anniversary, and we enjoyed a mellow day at the hotel. The winds were very high, so we couldn’t  use the pool as planned, but it was nice to rest and relax. We ate dinner at The Golden Nugget. Vic and Anthony’s Steakhouse was highly rated, romantic, and had a beautiful old-time steakhouse decor. It was the type of place you would imagine seeing a few mobsters, or members of the Rat Pack. The food and wine were fantastic.

After dinner we went out onto Fremont Street. I love the old school Vegas lights. Thanks to the fact that they have made it into a walking street with a covered roof, we were semi-protected from the wind and cold, and the ceiling lightshow was a nice addition. You could have your picture taken with all sorts there. Super hero, Chippendale, naked cow girl, a multitude of Elvis’. I spent five dollars on the penny slot machines.  It was the perfect venue. I made a few dollars, then lost it all, but I smiled the whole night. It was a great ending to an unbelievable vacation with my man.

Elvis is IN the building.