Where there’s smoke… August 22, 2006Posted by table4five in Family, personal thoughts.
This is how this morning was supposed to go:
I wake up around 6:15 am. My Dad’s girlfriend Jean drops him off at the hospital at 6:45 am. She then drives the five minutes to my house to spend the day watching my kids. I am showered, dressed, have my bag packed and am ready to go. I kiss my husband and kids goodbye, and leave.
This is how today actually went:
6:40 am “Shit! Chris! We overslept, Jean will be here in 20 minutes! Shit!”
6:45 am “Shit, I forgot to make formula last night and the pitcher is empty. I’m putting water on to boil and hopping in the shower.”
7:00 am “Shit, is Jean here already? I’m not even dressed. Why is the dog barking like that?”
7:00.1 am “ELIZABETH!! ELIZABETH!! OH MY GOD!!!”
7:00.2 am “WHAT? WHAT’S WRONG? OH MY GOD IS THAT SMOKE???”
Apparently I have not given myself enough reasons to believe that I might need a new antidepressant this week.
Don’t ask me why I didn’t hear the smoke detector going off. Just don’t.
It wasn’t the saucepan boiling dry, it was the coffeemaker which was sitting on the stove next to the pan. The glass cooktop surface gets very hot, and the plastic started melting and then whooooosh. Chris said there were flames shooting up around the coffeemaker. FLAMES. Edited to add: As if I don’t already feel like enough of a dumbass, it turns out that what I actually did is turn the BACK burner on, the one the coffeemaker was sitting on, and not the FRONT burner under the saucepan. And I turned it on High to get the water boiling. I still can’t wrap my head around just how lucky I was that the kitchen curtains or cabinets didn’t ignite.
Not wishing to subject my loved ones to spending the day in a house that smelled like burned plastic, we had to quickly throw together everything three children would need to spend the day at a different house, including:
A fully stocked diaper bag, a can of formula, four clean bottles, a bib, a baby spoon, two jars of food, the Pack-n-Play, a change of clothes, toys, more toys, books and DVDs, snacks, toys, toys, and toys. Jean and the kids spent the day hanging out at my Dad’s house (more room than Jean’s), and the dog spent the day hanging out in our backyard with access to the garage if needed for shade. According to the neighbor kid, he whined a lot.
The dog, who I have been bitching about for weeks because he barks all the damn time? SAVED OUR FUCKING LIVES TODAY. He can bark all he wants, and have cooked chicken breast for dinner tomorrow night. And sleep on my bed.
You can never have too many conversations with your children and loved ones about what to do if there is a fire in your house. You must discuss all possibilities-what to do if the fire is right outside their bedroom, what to do if they are up watching cartoons and smell smoke and Mom and Dad are still sleeping, whether or not to worry about saving the dog, cat, XBox or Bionicles (NO), whether or not to go back into the house because they can’t find Mom or Dad (NO), whether or not to try to carry the baby out of the house (NO, unless Mom and Dad are obviously unconscious). Man, there is just no way that is not going to be a hell of a conversation to have during dinner.
Please, for the love of God or whomever you find holy, check every smoke detector in your house RIGHT NOW. Drive to Home Depot and buy a small fire extinguisher for your kitchen. And whatever you do, do NOT, I repeat NOT, store your plastic coffeemaker on your glass cooktop stove, just because you’re too lazy to find another place to store the toaster.
This morning could have been a very, very, VERY bad day for me and my family, in more ways than one. Tomorrow, I’m refilling the Wellbutrin XL.
edited to add: Javajabber’s comment reminded me of something else that you need to discuss during the what to do in a fire conversation-HOW to get out. We live in a Ranch-style house, so we told the boys to climb on the dresser and kick out the screen in the window if they can’t get out of their room. If you live in a two-story house, you can buy fire ladders that hook on to the windows to climb down. Practice doing this.