Friday, August 8, 2008
Burnin' Down the House
Things were going along pretty good. I had painted the kitchen a sky blue to match the existing tile. We actually had money in savings for the first time ever. Not much, but something. I was starting to feel pretty psyched. I decided one afternoon to use my new found energy to clean out the garage. I thought it would be kind of nice too, if the garage floor was painted. I started taking all of the stuff out of the garage. There was a lot of it. We had been married about twelve years and had three kids, and I had never been a big believer in throwing things away, so you can imagine...I had everything all over the back yard and was just finishing up the garage floor when I heard this bloodcurdling scream. I looked up into the window of the kitchen and saw FLAMES! I dropped my paintbrush and came running in at full speed. My husband Tee was standing at the stove with a pan of fire, and there were flames licking up the wall and inside the microwave. There was smoke everywhere. I immediately dialed 911. I was screaming at the operator. HELP, THE HOUSE IS ON FIRE! Tee ran over to the door and threw the pan outside in the grass and we started throwing water at the flames. By this time the wall was scorched and the light fixtures on the ceiling were melted and hanging in ribbons. We got the flames out, and about that time we heard the sirens. We got the cat and ran outside, in hysterics of course.
The firemen came with their trucks and their hoses and were just about to flood our house with water when I stopped one of them and told them the fire was out. They still had to come in and air out the place and make sure the fire was not going to start up again. That was something I will never forget. Standing out on the sidewalk with the cat in my arms and my children all clustered around me and every single person on the block staring out of their curtains. It was surreal. Just about the time the hysterics went away, I remembered all that STUFF on the lawn in the backyard, and hysterics gave way to acute embarrassment. Everybody in the neighborhood is staring and all these firemen are in my house, and my backyard is LITTERED with junk. I felt like we should have had a guest spot on SANFORD AND SON. (For those too young to remember the series you can catch it on TV land sometimes, then you'll understand what I mean.)
What had happened was that Tee had been cooking French fries for the kids, and had gone upstairs for a minute on an errand. It only took a second for the pan to catch on fire, and spread to the microwave above. Tee came running back downstairs when he heard the alarms, and the girls yelling, and was trying to figure out how to get the fire out, when I came running in.
We sent the kids to their grandparents house for the weekend, and started the long cleanup process. All in all there was about six thousand dollars worth of damage to the kitchen. We decided to do all the work ourselves and use what insurance money was left to replace the vintage 1982 dishwasher that was shorting out the fuse box on a regular basis. Unfortunately, because we couldn't cook in the kitchen, we ended up using all our hard earned savings eating out. That really stank, but looking at the big picture I'm not complaining. I'm grateful to God that my kids were OK, and that the house didn't burn down. It could have been so much worse.
On a side note, during the clean up it was necessary to remove the ceiling tiles (ceiling tiles? in the kitchen?) that had melted to ribbons. Holding up all these tiles was...you guessed it, 5000 more staples, just waiting for my expertise to come along and yank them out.