Okay, I know that getting a second blog post in one week’s span is totally out of the character of how I run my website. Normally I wouldn’t do this, with the fear that I’d be flooding your inbox. However, I thought this subject is just too important to address to wait for almost a whole week.
As you hopefully know, this weekend we are supposed to move our clocks back one hour. Extra sleep – hooray! You may also have heard that it is a good time to change your smoke detector batteries. Of course, there is no magic reason why this has to be done when you change your clocks. It is just a good way to remember. It is so easy to know it should be done, but you just don’t have the time, don’t have the batteries, and maybe don’t think it is all that important. So, it gets put off until “next week”, which gets put off until “next month”, which gets put off indefinitely. So, while there are a few days before our catch-up-on-sleep day, count up how many smoke detectors you have in your house and then go out to the store (if you need to) and buy some batteries. We had to pick up eight batteries for our house and I am thankful that my husband is faithful about replacing them right on schedule.
You see, back in 2004 we had a fire that scared us to the core. It was an awful week. My husband’s father died that Monday. The next day was my husband’s 51st birthday. We lamely tried to do the birthday traditions, but our hearts were not in it. The visitation was on Wednesday and being a one day deal, it was long and exhausting. On top of that I had a cold and felt miserable. By the time we came home, I could barely move. I was just plain worn out. I remember it was all I could do to crawl into my pajamas. I decided I didn’t even have energy to brush my teeth (did I tell you that I am a dental hygienist?).
At one o’clock in the morning, we were awakened by the sound of the doorbell. My husband is usually a heavier sleeper than I am, but in my sick stupor, he made it to the front door before I did. Who could be pounding on the door and ringing the doorbell at this time of night? When he opened the door, the frantic neighbor standing there said something about “FIRE!”. My husband’s brain was in such a fog state that he thought they must be talking about the house across the road because he could see flames reflected in the windows. As he stood there, it finally sunk in that the worry was about OUR house. Turns out, the vacant house being built next to us had somehow caught on fire.
It is amazing how adrenaline can take over and sickness forgotten in a moment. I raced toward the stairs to awaken my children. At the foot of the stairway, I paused and looked in unbelief at the wall of fire outside our kitchen window. I could see nothing but flames and the loud roar of the inferno was something I don’t think I could ever forget. I bounded up the stairs, shouted “Fire!” into each child’s room and they jumped out of bed much faster than I’d ever seen before. We raced out the front door and stood down at the street. Although the fire was just on one side of our house, embers were flying so far that even the neighbors on the opposite side were hosing down their roof. We thought our whole house would become engulfed before our eyes – like the house next door, which only took twenty minutes to burn to the ground.
In the end we were very blessed. No one was hurt. The damage was mostly exterior, thanks to the firemen working hard to save our house. Although everything outside on that side of the house was ruined by the fire, including every window broken; the only interior damage was that my son’s bedroom window blind was melted. It was that close to him!
None of our smoke detectors went off because the fire was contained before it spread inside, but had our neighbors not alerted us when they did, it could have been a very different scenario. Instead of going to a funeral that day (smelling like smoke, I might add), someone could have been planning ours.
Please, don’t put off this simple lifesaving procedure. If batteries are an expense you hadn’t planned on, go check out the dollar store. Just put some fresh ones in. It could be a decision that could save your life!
One more thing: Did you comment on my last blog post? Just go to http://maturingwithgrace.com/an-attitude-of-thanksgiving/ and comment on one thing you are thankful for and you will be entered into the random drawing to win a free blessings journal. Hurry, I’m drawing a name next Monday!