when things backfire

It all ended with a sigh from him and a "Why does everything I do seem to backfire?"
Me, "Oh, nothing bac..."
In fact, quite technically, things did backfire tonight.

911, flames, firetrucks and all.
As I started my nightly ritual of blog checks and the local news, I heard a crackling noise. Muting the tv, I really heard a crackling noise. Jumping up to the window, I saw HUGE flames on the side of our property. When I say HUGE, I mean it. Taller than our house flames. Not a second to analyze, just pick up the phone and dial 911, flames.

On the side of our property are, (were), very tall, very wide, very ugly shrubs. Earlier in the day, (like 5 hours earlier), my husband set out on a few Honey-Do tasks. Burn a few weeds here, burn a few weeds there. Wonderful smokey smell in the crisp cool air and dried ugly weeds around the yard no more. Hooray!
Who knew that while the kids were playing fire trucks and fire fighters in the house, things were smoldering and brewing outside. The kids rarely play with the toy firetrucks & firehouse.

Irony. Love it. Loathe it.

Within minutes, before any of the rural volunteer firemen could arrive, the flames had all but disappeared. My panic & the dispatchers' instructions to describe the fire were contained too. The shrubs are near our "pump house" and well. Somehow, we now have no water. Hopefully the electrician will be here ASAP. Until he does arrive though, the dirty dishes that I chose not to do right after dinner, (or lunch, for that matter), will be hidden away in an undisclosed location.

I have always thought that I could play it cool in an emergency.

Yeah...um.....not so much. This wasn't even an emergency, emergency. There was a chance the house could have caught on fire, but I had ample time to get the kids out. No one was in grave danger, yet I still couldn't form complete, coherent sentences with the 911 dispatcher.

"How high are the flames ma'am?"
"Are there any structures nearby ma'am?"
um...well...our house...you need to get a fire truck here....yes!
"How close is your home to the flames?"
I duuuuu....nnnnooo... maybe um, uh...20 feet...um...or...

Seriously. The flames started to die down as fast as they had flared up, but at that point, with no water in case things started up again, the firemen soaked and soaked and soaked the side of our yard. You know what is really ridiculous? The whole time, (once it was it was clear we were out of danger), I was thinking, I should take a picture of this to post. The firemen putting out the fire that no longer existed, the kids staring intently out the window at the truck's lights. The neighbors SLOWLY driving by to see why a fire truck was spraying water at a pretend fire (It was there, I promise! It was really big, bad, and scary too- just not for long.) I digress.
Where was I? Oh, yes- pictures. My camera was out in the car. Somehow, I didn't think the firemen would appreciate the need for me to go out into the bitter cold to fetch my camera for some great blogging photos. Oh-well. Use your imagination. Picture a huge firetruck and 4 men fighting a blaze no bigger than the flame of a candle. Nice.
And all that effort will cost us a pretty penny in an insurance premium.
Really though, I am beyond thankful that nothing tragic occurred. Losing the big ugly shrubs only costs me a little privacy from the neighbors, but that's ok. I like them. Maybe they will let me wash some dirty dishes before Grandma comes to see the damage. After all, they helped me out with my last non-emergency too.

Oh- and just a tip: You know how they always say shrubs area fire hazard. Well, "they" are right. I can't even imagine if that had all been right next to my home. Reality is, I can imagine, and that is all I have been doing. There have been more than a few prayers of gratitude around here tonight.

Please forgive the incoherent sentences in this post. My hands are still trembling and apparently, so is my brain.

Have you ever had to dial 911? Did you keep it calm and collected? Panicked and frazzled?


  1. I'm glad everything is ok. Good for you for resisting taking pictures, I don't think I could've. lol
    I have had to call 911...once when my Ladybug was a baby and stopped breathing. No, I don't keep cool. At all!

  2. i have never called 911, but I already know I would not stay calm. I wish I was one of those people who stay calm when trouble strikes, but I'm not!!
    HOpe you get your water back on soon :)

  3. Oh my gosh! That IS an emergency! Really it is. How could you know it would be okay? I'm glad it wasn't worse.

    Pyper called 911 when she was 1 1/2... then left the phone off the hook. They came to my house and knocked on the door. I was babbling like an idiot- so they asked if they could come inside. They checked under beds, behind doors in closets... with guns drawn. My inability to form a sentence made them think that there was someone in my house- and I was in real trouble.

  4. Whoa! Hubby and I had a similar experience when our neighbor (we lived in the semi-country) soaked his leaves in gas and then lit them. The flames were HUGE but, thankfully, died down quickly.

    Called 911 once when we were driving past a house fire (remained calm) and once when the bank where I worked was getting robbed (not so calm!).

  5. What an experience! I've called 911 a few times and have been very pleased with myself for handling things so supremely well. (I don't handle many things supremely well, so I'm allowed to be proud of this one tiny thing!)

    The comment from lane family has me laughing. That is too funny.

  6. Wow! You are a superstar!
    I hope you get water soon. You always need the most when it's gone!
    I have called 911 a few times. Living in a big city like Seattle you see lots of accidents and stuff.
    I am a Medical Assistant, a step down from RN, and we are trained to stay calm. I'm really good at that. My sister's head was gushing blood and totally just jogged to my house, told my mom and sat down on the couch. She freaked out! Started running down the street, screaming her head off. I grabbed the coreless phone and called 911. I think I was 10.
    It's afterwards when I think of the What-If's is when I freak out!

  7. crazy! I'm glad everything is ok!

  8. holy cow! i woulda done a little more than freak out! that is like a nightmare of mine! i;m glad you all are okay! hmm maybe we should do something with our ditch full of dried out tumbleweeds soon...

    yeah i have had to call 911 twice. both times i was pretty shaken. the first time was on the side of a highway when we were driving back home from visiting family out of town. we pulled over a truck who's engine was on fire and they didn't know it yet.

    the second time (i was really a mess) was a saturday morning at breakfast, my husband was taking a multi-vitamin (that i made him take) and as he swallowed it went down the wrong pipe. and he wasn't totally CHOKING because he could actually talk...but he started coughing up blood! 911 was called, but as i was on the phone he coughed it up. that wasn't something that i coulda performed the hymlic (sp?) for since there wasn't total blockage...but they still had the medics come out, just incase some of the vitamin got stuck in his lungs. he was fine and didn't even end up with pnemonia (which is common after such occurance). my girls had quite the experience...they really didn't quite know what was going on and then 3 or 4 fire medics come in with a fire truck outside. they got to go in the truck and get sticker badges :)

    but what about poison control?? has anyone had a real scare there?? (i have had plenty of non-scares...diaper rash cream, latex paint, break pad lube...don't ask)

  9. I swear the funniest things happen to you. My life is dull compaired to fires, mice, daughter climbing on multiple chairs! My sone would love for the fire trucks to come to our house. However, since I use a wood stove in the winter a fire is one of my greatest fears!

  10. Oh my goodness. I'm glad everything's ok. I've called 911 a lot of times actually. I do fairly well until they say, "911, what's your emergency?" then I freak, or sometimes here in the city they will say, "Do you need fire, ambulance or police?" when they first answer the phone, then I get really flustered. I remember one time saying, "I don't know, police, I need police".I've had to call for domestic fights, fights of random people in the street, car accidents I've witnessed (lots of variations of these).

  11. SCARY!!! I am so glad everything is ok! (minus the shrubs) I'm sure you did just fine... you don't give yourself enough credit! I have had to call 911 twice, once because I was rear-ended (nothing too dramatic). The other time I was 9, my parents weren't home, and my older sister accidentally put a sewing machine needle through her finger. We didn't know what else to do! I've been out with EMT's and paramedics before responding to 911 calls, and it's amazing that most people can remain calm in an emergency!

  12. I'm so glad everything is okay! That would be terrifying. I had to call 911 once - I accidentally locked my 20-month-old in the truck in May in Austin, TX. It was pretty hot. My phone and the keys to get back in my house were locked in, too. I had to run from neighbor to neighbor trying to find someone home who's phone I could use. I was shaking pretty bad but suprisingly calm. And then the firemen got there: Son. Truck. Emergency. Wow, they are handsome.

    My son was fine, drinking his lemonaid and waving to the firemen...handsome firemen. He was just excited to see the truck.

  13. I have had to call 911 3 times. None for us thank goodness. The first was for our neighbor, she had a scummy boyfriend, and he was very drunk one night and pulled a knife at her, she managed to get away and come to our house but her two boys were still in the house. So 911 was called.
    The second was four our other neighbor who is really old(but has now passed away) He needed a cane to walk but refused to use it, and one day he was walking on the side walk, and fell flat, and I mean flat on his back. Cris was leaving for work and saw it happen, he said it sounded horrible. He cracked his head open really bad.
    The thrid was for a woman who was driving way to fast for our street, and when she turned the corner, she hit the old neighbors old vintage ford truck. That truck went flying!!! At frist we couldn't figure out what she hit, till, I looked down the street and three houses down was the truck resting in a neighbors yard, in front of a tree.
    Thank goodness I have never had to call for my self or kids. I think I would freek out!!! The thing that bugged me most about calling is that they wanted all this information, and I finally told the one lady, you can get that from me in a minute, can you please just dispatch someone.

  14. When my sister and I were teenagers, we were babysitting for my other little sisters - ages 2 and 6. The two-year-old started convulsing and her eyes rolled back and gunk was coming out of her mouth. We were totally freaked out! I held little sister while big sister called 911. One thing I remember is that one of the paramedics who came looked exactly like Matthew Broderick, weird huh? Anyway, it was determined that she had febrile seizures. I think my sister and I acted fairly calm, considering that we were high schoolers. But it was very scary!

  15. Why is trama so fun to talk about? Glad your ugly shrubs are gone. Maybe if I'd gone that route with mine they would of been gone 5 years earlier.
    I called 911 once when a car full of teenagers took a turn driving way to fast in our subdivision and flipped their car onto it's top, right in front of our house. I gave info fine, but man, I felt shaky for the next few hours. Luckily no one was hurt badly and yah, my blanket we lent, because they were in shock, didn't even get blood on it.

  16. I have called 911 a lot. My mom has type 1 diabetes and when I was young she would pass out from low blood sugar often. 911. We have called 911 for my son about 4 times when he has breath holding spells and doesn't breathe for a few minutes. As a kid I wasn't very calm. As an adult I am more calm. Well, that isn't true. I am still not very calm.