Have you ever really thought what you'd grab in a fire, as adrenaline pounded your brain and a vacuum roared in your ears? That was what I was forced to do last night around 8pm. Husband and I were about to sit down to watch something. I was knitting, I think, or reading. It's all a blur. Photo from Eat, Drink, Chic.
From downstairs: "Mommy people are pounding at the door!" Husband, in his office, jumped up and went downstairs. I heard my name being called in the distance and I probably ignored it. It was strangely silent for a few moments and then I suddenly smelled smoke. It was acrid, electrical and appeared all of a sudden. I just heard, "Fire, get out!" I don't even remember where Junior or Juniorette were, but I remember thinking purse, get on shoes,throw laptop in purse, as I could hear Husband with the kids. Photo from uberblog, Creative Mint. Can you tell I'm trying to post photos to keep the spirit (and myself) cheerful? I know how to do this. It gives some order to my mind, here in the hotel lobby at 1am.
In the absence of visible flames, Nala and Foo Foo, the kids' best stuffed friends, were crucial. CRUCIAL. I ran downstairs, where a haze of smoke hit me. There was Junior, shirtless, and Juniorette had already darted out the front door as they learn in school. It was all in slow motion. I think Husband handed me a shirt for Junior and I grabbed his parka off the back of the door, and ran out with him. We were met by NINE fire engines, lights flashing, hoses being dragged to the basement. I wonder how long we were oblivious to the drama in the other part of the house? The kids immediately started to cry. It was very disorienting. I crossed the street with wailing, shirtless Junior and sobbing Juniorette. My hands were shaking but I got his shirt on, followed by his coat as neighbors came to help us. I dropped onto the curb and just stared, forgetting that I had kids, responsibilities. Photo from Colour Planet.
It finally became clear that the basement of our landlords (who live in the other side of the house) had caught fire, and since there is communication between our basements, smoke had permeated our side. Heck, he was smoking a cigar in his basement one night and I had to ask him to put it out. Their basement (his office - he's a financial planner) was tragically destroyed. His wife just had surgery last week, and they replaced our heating system just two weeks ago - it's really unfair. They're good people. And let me tell you, while Junior can spend hours playing firefighter, he didn't want to be part of the real action - it's actually very scary to little chaps. Husband ran back inside to get Scarlet, our cat (because Juniorette was crying so hard about her, even though Scarlet is no dummy and our door was open) and brought her out in a duffel bag.
We played games and ate peppermint Hershey's kisses at our neighbor's across the street, as we'd done when the landlords had a chimney fire a couple of years ago. Husband and I took turns going outside to get status reports. It's 1am right now and we're at a hotel. Everyone finally went to sleep but I haven't been able to so far. It's nice to have a blog at times like this when you're upset but don't know what to do with yourself and want to talk to someone but the hour is wrong. The fire chief told us there would be smoke damage to clothes, furniture, walls, to call the insurance people in the morning. We were allowed back in to get a few things. It smelled like the stuff from a childhood friend of mine's house that burned down. Photo from Tumblr.
Maybe the smell will clear overnight? All the windows had been thrown open by the firefighters. The screens were all pulled out. The dining room table was moved to the middle of the floor. Someone stepped in the cat's water and food. There was a stunning, acidy smell suggestive of burning wire or plastic, forcing us to cough. We're all safe, though, everybody is just fine but it's disorienting. Husband and I could not get ourselves organized to figure out how to get a hotel and arrange cat care. We were like Dumb and Dumber after lobotomies. I'm unsure what tomorrow holds (aren't we all?) - Will I have to throw out their stuffed animals and toys? School uniforms? My wedding dress and teddy bear? What about our beds and duvets and all our coats? My yarn stash is likely gone (if you're a knitter, this might mean something to you) and I wonder about my hand knitted sweaters. It's funny - I don't feel terribly attached to any of it at the moment. Husband's antique book collection - gone? Ah well, it all pales in relation to what could have happened. I can go upstairs now to our little hotel room home and snuggle with Husband and the kiddles. Home is where they are, after all. I'm a very lucky woman tonight. I feel sodumbly grateful that my family and our landlords are all ok (and that we get complimentary hot breakfasts tomorrow - that rocks.) Thanks for listening to my ramble. Photo from Jenib320's Flickr page.