For the eyes. For the heart. For the ears. For the feet. For the soul.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A New Year's Day kitchen fire, and a dog named Jack.

I never nap. I always feel guilty that there is too much to do and can always find a way to make better use of my time. Yesterday was an exception. We vowed to sleep in after a late night on New Year's Eve, but I awoke early and cleaned up a bit. For the first time during  Michael's holidays, he was able to sleep without an alarm going off. Noon approached and he awoke to do what he loves to do....make food, photograph it and write about it. It was maybe 3pm and my eyes were feeling heavy. Everything was done, the sheets freshly laundered, the day miserable outside.

I crawled into my clean sheets, glanced out my window at the fiercely blowing trees in the forest behind our home. I sighed a sigh of contentment. And then I remembered in our drunken stupor the night before, we had forgot to say a goodnight prayer. I lay in bed at 3pm, belly full and thankful for this lovely home of ours. I said a little prayer to God and thanked him for giving us so much and as always, asked for protection for our loved ones from any harm.

I was lost in the sea of warm and heavy duvet and awoken rather abruptly. Jack, my normally skittish yorkie poo who never jumps on the bed or comes to us when called, was whimpering on my chest, his wet nose nudging my chin awake. I groggily opened my eyes, surprised and wondered what he was doing. Michael then called up to me and I could hear the smoke alarm sounding as it often does when I cook, but rarely when Michael has the kitchen reins.

I came downstairs to see him on the phone, looked over to our oven and saw an inferno inside the glass window. In the same calm tone that Michael had when he called me to tell me he was in a bad car accident, I could hear him methodically explaining to the fire department that we had a fire. I am so the opposite of calm. I screamed at him: WHY ARE YOU SO CALM?? TELL THEM IT'S AN EMERGENCY!!!!

The house was filling with smoke, the cat ran outside, the alarms were going off and having been through this before, I knew we had to GET OUT. In a moment of panic, you literally are thinking to yourself, OH MY GOD, did I grab everything of value? My animals? My memory album my mom made me? I had visions of the house exploding. Michael was standing in front of the stove and I was bawling that we had to leave. Do you know what that feels like to leave your house but knowing there is a fire inside? Jack was shaking and wouldn't come to us when we called him. He rarely lets us pick him up without growling but Michael scooped him up, jumped into the car and drove me to my friend's house up the street. I flung the door open and exclaimed that my oven was on fire. I was shaking and scared and my calm friend soothed me and said: You have insurance. Then she said it again but almost in a question form: You have insurance right? I came outside to see four fire trucks parked in front of my other friend's home. I yelled at them: YOU'RE AT THE WRONG HOUSE!!!!!

Michael came down the street and said they were inside and that the firemen told him the best case scenario was that he did not open the oven door. The oven itself acted like a woodburning stove, where the lack of oxygen eventually extinguished the fire inside.

I had a fire at my old apartment. I came home to find the entire 500 square feet engulfed in smoke. My fan had caught fire and I was alone. It was not safe to stay there but I had nowhere else to go so I slept in that stinky apartment for days like that.

All I kept thinking yesterday was that I had prayed hours before for protection. In this world where our brains are so full of clutter, stimuli and fleeting garbage, basic knowledge floats to the surface in an emergency. What to do differently when there is a black bear or a brown bear. What to do when your car is sinking in water. How to put out a fire depending if it's electrical or grease.

We naturally think of water and fire, right? Sometimes we need a reminder of what not to do so that basic information floats to the forefront of your decision when in a panic-stricken emergency.

I hope this video will help if you are ever in this situation. I received so many emails already when I posted this on Facebook that people automatically would think to throw water on this type of fire.

We ordered takeout last night, and marvelled today at the burnt remnants of bread that had caused such an inferno. My friends joked they will buy us a toaster. My mom said she may even buy Jack the wonder dog (not her favourite animal) a treat for Christmas next year. He stayed close to me all night, as if his animal instinct knew that I was shook up. Or maybe he was afraid.

I find it amazing that our pets are not only companions, but often times life savers.
They intrinsically try to warn us of danger and are loyal even in the scariest of situations.

Michael often teases me when I check, double check and triple check things like candles, hair straighteners and the coffee machine being plugged in. After yesterday's scare, I doubt this will change. I'll continue to pray at night for protection. I'll continue to praise our animals when they do something good. And I'll be damn sure to be thankful that we live 2 minutes from the fire and police departments.

Stay safe,



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