Last week I did something to my lower back. Not sure what. As I have gotten older, it seems to be easier to do. I missed three days of work last week. I was in a lot of pain. I am also a wimp when it comes to back pain.
It was less painful to crawl around the floor than to get up on my feet. Jeremy, always the trooper, helped get me around when he was home. Despite the pain and discomfort, I was glad I was home on Friday morning.
I was dreaming I was in a group of people. There was a weird smell, once I convinced everyone in the group, it wasn’t me. We began searching for the smell. That’s when I woke up. There was a funny smell in my c-pap. And not the usual smell that Jeremy or I create on our own. My first thought was oh crap… my c-pap is burning. I took off the mask, grabbed my glasses, the c-pap was not on fire, but the smoke smell was very strong.
The house is on fire! I jumped, literally jumped out of bed, and immediately regretted the move… lots of pain. Once I was done yelling and cussing at myself, I realized the room was full of smoke. Our faithful watchdog, KC, sat in her bed staring at me like, “I’m telling Dad you said those bad words.” Some watchdog. I started running, really more of a hobble, around the house. I think the adrenaline kicked in because I don’t remember much pain after that. I checked the kitchen and other rooms looking for the source of the smoke. No luck finding the source.
I looked in the garage. Our basement enters through the garage. No smoke there, which meant nothing in the basement either. Or so it would seem. That only leaves the attic. Having made a promise to Jeremy to never climb the 75-year-old rickety pulldown attic ladder, I decided not to try it. Did I mention that the attic ladder goes over the stairs to the basement? Treacherous, I tell you. I decided it was time to call 9-1-1.
I was proud of myself; on the phone I was cool and calm. In my head I was screaming like an Ewok on fire. I told the operator what was going on. While on the phone I went out on the front yard to see if I could see flames from the roof. No smoke outside. The dispatcher said to get the pets and stay outside. I brought the dog out but left the cat. I know it’s terrible, but until there are flames there would be no reason to bring out the cat kicking and screaming like a Wookie losing a game of Dejarik.
I hung up the phone with dispatch and called Jeremy’s office. One of his co-workers answered the phone. I told him there was an emergency and to have Jeremy call me. Jeremy calls 30 seconds later. The fire department is unloading their first of six trucks in the street. Jeremy hears the sirens in the background. “Are you OK?” he’s a little freaked out. He thought it might be an ambulance picking me up. I said no, the house is on fire. The WFD is here. We chatted a second and he was on his way. So, I am sitting on the porch and at least a dozen firefighters are running through the house.
KC and I sat on the porch, I was in nothing but my sleeping shorts and a t-shirt. One of our neighbors came over to see what was going on and offered to get me a coat. One of the firemen suggested I sit in my car, which was parked in the driveway. I picked up KC and started towards the car. That’s when I missed the porch step. Down I tumbled, dog in tow. I landed on my knee, hit the car with my arm and somehow cut my ankle, not sure on that one. The firemen rushed over to help me. I felt like the little old lady that falls at church and all the men rush over to help. I popped back up. Another mistake, with the back. I tried to hide the hurt body parts and the bruised ego. I was OK, the dog was OK. That’s when the realization that my house was on fire started to sink in. I was about to get in the car, freaking out, even more, as the firefighters are dragging a hose into the garage. The neighbor in that moment, decided to tell me about a tragedy within her own family. I felt guilty because I should have been more caring, but dammit my house is on fire. Read the room… lady.
Turns out the fire was in the basement, and no, in case you’re wondering it was not an Ewok on fire… just a box fan. The firefighters explained what happened as Jeremy arrived. A box fan we use to dry up the moisture caught on fire. “All that’s left is a frame and a motor.” The fan was sitting on a stack of shelves. The shelves came from the CD bookcases we use for my shot glass collection.
For those that know me, you might be interested to know that my collection is up to a little over 3,000 shots. For a collection that started in 1993, that’s pretty good. Anyway, so why were the shot glasses not on the shelves? I’ll explain in a moment.
The firefighter talking to Jeremy asked where he could get a Jeremy nametag (which looks like a license plate). He said, “My chief’s name is Jeremy and I would love to give him one.” Jeremy said, “here you can have this one.”
Jeremy and I have been packing up the house as we recently put it on the market. This turned out to be a very good thing. The basement was pretty much empty. All its contents stashed in the garage. We also filled the guest room with packing boxes. I keep assuring everyone that we are not hoarders, but I think Jeremy could argue that with my collecting and keeping stuff, borderlines hoarding.
As the fire crew packed up, we noticed Chief Jeremy was wearing his new nametag.
The fire was put out, lots of smoke damage to the basement, mostly the ceiling and the walls. The intake vents for the heater are in the basement, which is why the smoke spread throughout the house. Every time the furnace comes on, the smell of smoke fills the room. There is a film of smoke throughout the entire house
As I type- three different crews are separately ripping out the ceiling in the basement, cleaning the heating system and another team is cleaning everything in the house. I am sure the crew is happy that all our stuff is packed up. Jeremy and I have a lot of stuff, much to his chagrin, that usually populates the shelves and bookcases. But again, it’s all packed up for the move.
The animals survived and Jeremy and I are alive, thanks to a sore back and me being a bit of a wimp when it comes to back pain. Special thanks to the talented men and women at the Wichita Fire Department and the kind lady at 911.
A strange irony to all this. I wanted to light a Bath and Body Works candle to freshen up my home office. First, couldn’t find a lighter. Second, and I didn’t realize it at first, but I grabbed one of my favorites, Marshmallow Fireside, which smells like marshmallows…. and smoke.