sunday, april 6th at around 7ish in the evening dutchie and i fell asleep watching “go diego go.” it was supposed to be for a quick nap, but i was sooooooo tired and apparently he was too. it was one of those days where he had been bouncing around all freakin’ day without a nap and it was time for him to just lay back and chill. even if it meant napping at 7 o’clock. i kept waking to look at the clock and as it neared 8:30 i just kept telling myself…”okay, 30 more minutes and then you’ve gotta get up.”
silly, i know.
i admit i had fallen a little deeper than planned, but then i heard him. it was my husband yelling, “NIKI, GET UP!! GET UP!!! GET UP!!!” i was half sleep, but as he pushed through the door yelling i could see a thick cloud behind him. and that amber glow.
the amber glow.
i grabbed dutch, who only had on a t-shirt and diaper and ran out of the bedroom door into the living room. the ceiling was covered with smoke. it was sort of like a cloud in the living room only not nearly as pleasant. as i looked to the right i saw that my bookcase was on fire. the bookcase where a candle had been lit hours before i laid down for a nap.
my husband yelled, “where’s the fire extinguisher??!! where’s the fire extinguisher??!!” i told him where it was and flew out of the front door with my child in my arms. i stood in the hallway of our building as the fire alarm and smoke alerted our neighbors of the fire that was happening in my home.
i really couldn’t believe any of it was happening. a neighbor who lives above me, a woman with whom i’ve shared a only a few hellos over the past several years, invited me to come to her place. “come bring the baby upstairs,” she said.
i had no shoes on and only a shirt and my i’m-lounging-in-the-house-all-day-today pants. the no shoes part really flipped me out. i’ve mentioned before that i have a thing about feet. i don’t care to look at other people’s feet, but even more than that i get freaked out easily about germs. remember that story about britney spears coming out of that public bathroom years ago with bare feet?? ugh!! i almost puked when i heard that. well, i had that same icky feeling walking up to my neighbor’s home. but it didn’t really matter in light of everything that was going on at the time.
i was safe.
dutch was safe.
my husband was safe.
you know, sometimes you sit and you think of what’s important to you. things that you hold of value. things you would hate to lose in a fire. i’ve made mental lists in my mind from time-to-time over the years of the “things” i would grab if there was a fire in my home.
“i’d have to get my camera…my computer. oh, oh…and my pictures ’cause you know those can’t be replaced. my purse and keys. and who can live without a cell phone?? my safebox with all of my personal stuff…”
on this night i grabbed my child and that’s all that mattered. i could’ve cared less about a thing. who needed a picture when it was most important that i had my child?
my husband was able to put the fire out with our fire extinguisher. well, most of it anyway. we had a painting hanging above the bookshelf and it was still smoldering by the time the five firetrucks showed up.
oh yeah, it was a really dramatic scene.
we had the door to our building open, the door of our home open and our balcony door open, but that didn’t stop the firemen from hooking their ladder up to our balcony…you know, just in case. dutch was just happy to see all of his beloved firetrucks and firemen up close and personal. he asked a million times, “where are they going, mommy?? where are they going?” i gave an answer i never thought i’d actually hear myself say…
“they’re going to our house, baby.”
my husband told me that he fell asleep watching television when he heard a loud WHOOOOSH sound. he was awakened by the noise of the fire igniting into this huge ugly thing that just danced wildly on top of our bookcase. i can’t count how many times we’ve lit candles on that shelf and never experienced anything even remotely close to what happened that night. we’re still not sure what caused it to ignite like that.
the fire damage was very, very minimal. the firemen had to knock a hole in our wall just to make sure the flames didn’t creep in behind our painting and aside from a music box that my pop gave to me when i was about six, nothing major was damaged. in fact, our bookcase was still intact. sure i lost a few books, but in the grand scheme of things, who really cares about some daggone books? the walls and the ceiling were pretty black. they weren’t burnt, just covered in a thick film of soot. we didn’t realize until we came home the next day that everything in our living room was covered in soot. our books, dutch’s toys, our furniture…the carpet, the mail, the plates in our kitchen cabinet, photo albums and pictures in frames. everything.
it was a daggone sooty mess.
we stayed out of our home for two weeks and it’s been a little bit of a process getting things back together, but it’s happening and i sure don’t have a darn thing to complain about. there’s no doubt about it that the Lord was watching over my little family on april 6th just as He does always. if you know my husband then you know that he literally sleeps like a brick. i’m not exaggerating. i have yelled his name standing only two feet away from him while he was asleep on several occasions and he hasn’t even flinched. his mother said that he’s been like that since he was a young kid. so i know that it was Lord who woke his butt up. after all, my voice can surely get higher than any fire going WHOOOSH. it was a miracle that he heard it. plain and simple. tthe fire marshall said that had he slept for a few minutes longer we may not have made it out because of the smoke and carbon monoxide.
thank you, Jesus for continuing to watch over us.
i’ve learned a thing or two about how my child is able to adapt throughout this whole mess too. we stayed at my pop’s house while our home was airing out and as we waited to have it professionally cleaned. dutch didn’t really ask why we were there…he just went with the flow. enjoyed the company of having his grandparents around and loving climbing the stairs. then my husband and i went to pick him up from day care last friday, ready to finally take him home. i was a little nervous because the place looked so different than what i was sure he remembered. our things had to be boxed up so that the cleaners (and eventually the painters) could do their thing. then there was that nasty dark hole in the wall with soot stains splattered all around. but dutch walked right in and said, “oooooo…i like it.” as if we came up some kind of new decor.
and that’s exactly why “things” were the furthest thing from mind on april 6th.
so we’re fine. that’s why i haven’t been here blogging lately (you know, for the three of you who come by to see what a sista has to say. haha.) and hey, if you don’t already own one now, please go out and spend a little money on a fire extinguisher. if we didn’t have one, we probably wouldn’t be back in our home today.