Sunday, January 16, 2011

Snakes and Fire.

There are two things in this world of which that I am absolutely terrified: snakes and fire.

Let me elaborate. Snakes, for sure. But also, all animals without legs. Fish, snakes, dolphins, snakes, worms, get my point. They freak me out. I can't help it. For my entire childhood I always got a running start and leaped into my bed so the evil snakes wouldn't be able too grab my feet as I approached my bed at night. You know, just in case a snake managed to slither it's way under my bed...

As for fire, my fear began in fourth grade. I was attending a fairly normal elementary school in Connecticut at the time. One day, we had an assembly to learn about fire safety. The local fire department came in and taught us all about how to stop, drop and roll and other basic safety elements. They also told us that every household should have an escape plan and escape ladders. What should have been an average assembly traumatized me for life. I spent the rest of the day, and my life, thinking about how my household had neither of these crucial things in case of an emergency. It was so bad that my mother had to buy me a mini fire extinguisher to keep next to my bed. Twenty years later, I'm pretty sure it's still sitting in my closet.

Anyway, last year I was living in a house, by myself, in Florida. I lived in a typical, wood, ranch style, 70's Floridian house. I came home from work one afternoon to find my street blocked off by a police cruiser. The kind police woman told me that there had been a fire and the street was closed. She quickly asked for my address and reassured me that the fire was not at my house, but the house next door. I parked my car in the next street over and walked home. The fire had been contained to the far side of my neighbor's house, but it was still a very unfortunate scene. I continued to go about my business and settled in for a relaxing Friday night on the couch with my dog and a movie. Eventually, I fell asleep on the couch. At about 1:00am I woke up to a neighbor banging on my front door and yelling "FIRE!" In my half-asleep state I actually opened the door and proceeded to tell the crazy lady that the fire had already been put out. She continued to scream at me that there was another fire. I bolted out to my back porch to grab my cell phone, that I had left outside, and realized my entire yard was engulfed in flames. I ran back inside, grabbed Maple, her leash, and my purse, and ran across the street. No one else was out there so I sat down on the curb and listened as the sirens got closer. The fire department showed up a few minutes later, but it felt like a lifetime. They pulled up and immediately started hosing off my house and putting out the fire in my backyard. The fire didn't reach my house but the burn marks later showed it was within less than a foot. My shed was toast, my trees were scorched and my fence was gone. Thank God, my car was still parked down the street from earlier that afternoon. The inspector told me the neighbor's insulation had re-ignited causing the second fire. The firemen were there until early morning putting out all the embers and digging up my yard thus making sure there wouldn't be another ignition. Needless to say, I sat up all night for the next week (okay, month) watching the carcass and making sure nothing else caught fire.

So, last night when The Canadian suggested we light a fire, I wasn't exactly thrilled. It just sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.

But the fire was lovely and warm and went well with my glass of wine.

It's even better when your lazy dog stretches out in front of the fire and lets people use her as a foot warmer/foot rest. (Please don't judge the couch.)

By the time the fire died, I had been watching it like a hawk for hours. Those purple flames were making me nervous.

But I finally went to bed and - low and behold - the igloo didn't burn down. Whew.

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