Saturday, May 17, 2008

Weekend Assignment #216: Fire!

Time for the weekend assignment. This week Karen wants us to release our inner pyromaniac and talk about fire. (insert Beavis and Butthead voice); Fire! heh, heh.

Weekend Assignment #216: Tell us a story or anecdote that involves fire in some way. It can be a forest fire, a house fire, a campfire, logs in the fireplace, or even a lit match, a tale of comfort or destruction. Whatever comes to mind, if it's interesting and fire plays a role, we want to read about it!

When I first read the assignment on Friday I drew a blank. I didn't think I'd be able to come up with anything. Well, now I have two stories; it takes a little while for my brain to warm up.

My mom is a long time smoker. I mean long. Like 50+ years. When you smoke that long the odds are something is going to get burned eventually. It could be your kids, yes it hurts when you walk into a burning cigarette, you car seats, bead sheets; I think you get the picture. One night some time in the mid-80's (I think) my mom and I were watching TV. I use to sit on the couch that allowed my to lay down and face the TV, this put the kitchen and garbage area behind me. As we were watching the show (probably something like Dallas or Knots Landing, I didn't have a show choice) I heard this noise behind me. It sounded like the cat was ripping some paper or something. I ignored it at first, I'm sure I was engrossed in the show, but eventually I looked to see what the cat was eating, just in case it was my homework. Instead, I saw flames coming out of the garbage can. It wasn't a raging fire by any means, but It was going pretty good.

I told my mom the garbage was on fire, we both ran over there, and I think she grabbed a pan of water to put it out. Luckily that area was brick so nothing else caught on fire and it was easy to clean. We put the garbage outside on the patio since it stunk, and went back to the TV. It was a good thing we were both awake.

The other fire story I have is quite different. This was the early 90's, after I was out of college, but still living at home. It was winter time and we were going through a very cold streak. I think the wind chills were 30 below zero or more. It was a windy day that day and the power went out in the early evening. That meant no heat. We were fortunate to have a gas fireplace in the family room so we cranked it up and stayed in that room. I remember reading by the fire, feeling like Abe Lincoln.

We ended up sleeping in family room since the power never came back. I stayed on the floor close to it, while my mom slept on the couch. Just for fun, and because I am a geek, I brought a thermometer into the room to see how cold it would get. By the time we woke up in the morning, the family room was about 50 degrees, the other half of the house was about 40 degrees. Let me tell you, it is not fun taking a shower in 40 degree weather. Sure that water was warm, since it was gas heat, but coming out of the shower was a shock. Oh, the power did come back on -- after I finished my shower.

Extra Credit: Is the area where you live subject to dangerous wildfires?

No, we don't get wildfires in the Chicago area. Not much wilderness to burn.

Go check out Karen's site to see what other tales of fire people are sharing.


Karen Funk Blocher said...

Oh, you just reminded me of a kitchen fire story. Hmmm. I'm glad yours did negligible damage.

Your second one reminds me of my family during the Great Blackout of 1965. I guess I know what I'm writing about tonight!

Mike said...

Karen: Glad I could help you out. :) Sounds like you story might be more interesting than mine.