Here’s one from the archives of my life. Yes you are allowed to laugh, this happened a long time ago.
I had divorced my husband and had 2 little kids, 1 with problems ( see the hardest thing post if you have no clue what I am talking about ) . To feed and house said children I worked for the local municipality and I held the esteemed position of Office Manager for Fire Prevention and Life Safety. Amongst other various duties like working with 150 hot firemen ( not a bad gig if you can get it), I was in charge of handling tours of the fire department for all the school children, and going out to the schools to teach fire safety awareness. I loved this job. It rocked, and I was GREAT at it, cause I am all about public speaking, kids and safety.
I had managed to scrounge up some money and bought a piece of land, then scrounged more and had it cleared, scrounged a bit more and put in a well and septic. One day I will write a post about my pioneering ways of making a home in the woods with 2 small kids. It too is just chalked full of laughs.
In the end I knew a house note wasn’t in my near future because I needed to go back to school, you see 2 kids and a Government job does not equal extravagant things like food and clothes. So I knew I had to do better for them, for me. With this in mind I searched and scrounged and found a trailer. I will not try to put lipstick on this pig people, it was NOT a mobile home. It was a trailer, not even really a trailer, it was a wrecked out beast of a what was at one time a trailer like when Lincoln was in the White House. I bought it for $500 and convinced the “mover” to drag it to my land. Where I painstakingly stripped it down and rebuilt it room by room. I did this at night, after work, while I had my kids asleep in sleeping bags in a room that was done. It was NO palace. But it was ours and we had no monthly notes. Woo Hoo !
Now here’s something you need to know about me. I can take finding a new daycare every week. I can take figuring out how to rewire a house, I can even take sleeping on the floors I put in, plywood floors, I painted blue to look like carpet because like food, carpet was not in my budget. But I can not, and will not take bugs. I called the bug guy. He said since I lived in the woods and had woods around the trailer it would have bugs. Nothing helped, I would NOT live with bugs.
So I did what any rational sleep deprived, over worked, single mom with an extreme bug phobia would do. I went and bought a few cases of bug bombs. Now I put the 1 cylinder of my brain that wasn’t damaged from work, kids, paint fumes, and training to work. I carefully placed one bomb in each room, made the kids go outside. I then took safety to the next step, I had heard of problems with these things and a spark so I went out to the power pole and shut off the breakers to the house, remember I am after all the Office Manager of Fire Prevention and Life Safety. Duh.
I went back in and started setting them off 1 by 1 all 9 million of them. Once they were all fogging up the house I was headed for a quick and safe exit out the door.
And there HE was. A bug, with the audacity of being on my counter out in the open WHERE I COULD SEE HIM? So I grabbed an extra fogger from the carton and sat the rest down…
In retrospect I probably shouldn’t have tried to spray that little bug until he drowned in the spray rather than just die a long and painful fogged out death, I probably also should NOT have sat the remaining foggers in the pack on my stove. But hindsight is totally 20/20.
Did anyone think that you can actually get jettisoned out of your french windows of your breakfast nook by a bug fogger or 10? I don’t actually remember it but from what I can piece together it was sort of like when they shot Spock out the cargo bay in Star Trek in the Wrath of Khan but without all pomp and circumstance and probably a helluva lot funnier.
WTH? I shut off the power at the pole. DUH, so there wouldn’t be a spark, I have a gas oven/stove with a pilot light BIGGER DUH. Also of note, I had no running water… why you ask, well because I shut off the power at the pole for SAFETY DUH. I ran to the kids and sent them to the safety of the road. My trailer was about 200 feet off the road and I lived on a dead end. Called the fire department. Bad news. At the time my Fire Department consisted of volunteers and it’s a lovely sunday in april, so guess where they are … out on their boats or playing ball, DUH ! The first car goes past I am frantically waving my arms and jumping up and down, they wave back and drive off. ( I have learned to only panic wave when I am in real distress as to not confuse anyone else EVER.)
The next guy comes, he’s my hero, he hooks a hose to the neighbors pump and starts a full on mad dash towards my house. Does anyone remember seeing the old Tom and Jerry cartoons where the bulldog spike runs after Tom and hits the end of his chain and does a back flip dead stop thing. Yeah that happened to this guy. See he noticed what I had not. The HUGE ASS propane tank in my front yard just feet from my now FLAMING HOME. My friend is there, she takes the kids away so they don’t have to watch our house go down. She also has this new thing a “cell phone” but it was huge like a brick and in a bag I call back 911, get routed around, and while I am on the phone asking where the fire department is, where ANYONE is. KAPOW. my windows blow out of my house all at once in a beautifully coordinated magnificent display that would make Walt Disney proud.
Then the operator on the phone says I think I hear them. I had to explain to her that was the sound of my 10 smoke detectors going off… AFTER MY FRIGGIN WINDOWS BLEW OUT. Why did I have 10 smoke detectors in a 2 bedroom dump? Fire Safety DUH ! The poor operator promised people were on their way. Then a police man showed up. He screached his car to a hault and jumped out, ran to us and asked if anyone was in there, I told him no, he asked if we knew what happened. I looked him in the eyes and screamed, “OH MY GOD, I DID IT, I BLEW UP MY HOUSE !” I also thrust my wrists at him in the handcuff me stance. He looked at me with pity. The look you give a clearly deranged woman who is stupid enough to blow up her own house while trying to raise 2 little kids. He stayed on the radio asking repeatedly where the fire trucks were. About a million hours later, a fire truck came roaring down my road. The pulled into my yard and bailed out in swim suits flip flops and turn out jackets with helmets. Apparently they had time to only get 1/2 dressed. I ran up to the truck and was so happy they were there. Then they explained they couldn’t fight the fire, cause they were the hose truck, they needed the water/pumper truck… DUH. Did I mention I lived in the middle of the woods of a community that didn’t even have a traffic light at the time? I worked in a biggerish city with a real fire department but this was not what I had. Then as I was flailing about in utter shock they finally arrived. A man fully dressed like a fireman and clearly in charge pulled up also, he accessed the situation and returned to me. I will never forget his quote.
“Mam, there’s really not a lot we can do here, so we’re gonna wench the roof off the foundation and make sure the cinders are out, then put out all the trees.”
WTF in the biggest WTF moment ever…. ” I remember saying oh well yes please save the trees cause it looks like we will be living in them thank you, go save the trees hurry.” I don’t remember much after that other than a fireman coming up and asking me if I had a toilet in my house. I was thinking to myself? Am I being punked, Yeah dude I had a toilet, he said wow, that must have been a helluva blast cause we can’t even find the toilet we usually can. In the years since this incident I have replayed it in my head and the bug fogger I sat directly next to the porcelain toilet in my tiny bathroom probably turned that dude into dust when it blew up. But at the time I just stared blankly back at him like seriously?
My neighbors and cousins L &L showed up, she gave me a big hug, he talked to the firemen. Then he came to me and said, well I got one question… ” did you kill that damn bug”? We broke out laughing it’s how we handle things around here. I stopped the theatrics and got a grip. It was about that time that the firemen brought me what the salvaged. 1 white Keds tennis shoe, a plastic hanger and a spoon. Apparently these items were blown out the windows in the explosion. Cool, that sounds just like a good new start, gotta start somewhere and this is what we had.
I took the next 2 days off work, I got my hair cut, only to remove the slightly singed ends. I had a red face like you would if you spent the day in the sun and saved at the salon because I did not need my eyebrows waxed. So all in all we came out in great shape.
I returned to my office and on my desk my loving brotherhood, this tight knit group of fire fighters had left me a gift as the word of my tragedy had hit them where it counts.
In the funny bone… They had taken a can of bug spray and put my name, “TNT Extermination Services” and a half dozen dead roses. Yeah that’s my guys. I still love and miss everyone of them. Did I mention they also took up a collection out of their paychecks to help me and my kids out.
PSA- In case you don’t know. Firemen don’t get paid squat, they usually work additional jobs to care for their families. So yeah a little ribbing is fine, it’s not every day you find 150 guys willing to run into a burning building to save your cat or photo album.
I have my brick all electric home on that land all these years later. I still love firemen.