Tuesday, October 21, 2008

An Adventure, In Which I Save Us All From Getting Blowed Up

This one time, I lived in my parents' garage for five years in a non-loserish, non-broke kind of way that's a long story. (But I'll tell it to you: my parents sat around looking morose for a month when they found out I was moving back to California, saying how they really wanted to spend time with their only grandchild and so I should move in with them, and since the garage was converted and tricked out and on the complete opposite side of the house from them, I gave in since it was the only time they ever tried to blatantly manipulate me and it ended up working out well cuz they kept getting sick and I was right there to help out, so I was not a garage-dwelling loser!)

And one day I was working on my computer and I thought I smelled something burning, which usually just meant that my mom was in the kitchen. But this was extra acrid so I went out to investigate. My mom was in the kitchen but she just had an unburnt baked potato, so I set my sniffer to work. Something wasn't right, but it was a smell that was everywhere and nowhere at the same time, like Santa Claus except for menacing. Last time that happened, it turned out to be the leftover stargazer lilies from my friend's wedding decomposing all over the house, but we were currently flower-free at that moment, so I looked for a different answer.


I gave up and went back to my computer, probably working on stupid lesson plans, when a few minutes later, smoke started pouring in around me from the air vent in the ceiling. I hopped up and yelled at my mom in sign language (cuz my folks were deaf) to get everyone out of the house (my dad, her and my son), grabbed the phone and made a 911 call, and then saved everyone's life by manhandling the half dozen or so huge medical oxygen tanks in the entry way out of the house and across the street to the neighbors while my mom herded out my bewildered father and wide-eyed son in front of her.

The fire station was just at the bottom of the hill from us so within minutes, the fire truck was whipping around the curves of our narrow street and about eight firemen jumped off and were running for the house before the truck even screeched to a stop. The neighbors began to join us, of course, because the best place to be when a house is smoking mysteriously is directly in front of it. And smoke was definitely drifting out of the doors.

The firemen scurried in and out, using special heat-sensing equipment, asking me questions, but unable to find the source of the billowing smoke. At first, they looked worried. They spent a great deal of time checking the ceiling in my room. Then they began to look less stressed. Then they started to look amused. Then they began to grin at me and take it easy as they went back and forth between me and the house. Even my mom, who was convinced I usually imagined stuff like this, noticed all the odd looks.

Finally, they reported that it was a faulty ignition something or other on our heater and everything was okay but we needed to get it inspected ASAP. They helped bring the oxygen tanks back into the house and then left, grinning the whole time.

I shrugged it off, thankful I wasn't all blown up and stuff.

Then I walked into my room to see the damage. There wasn't much. Oh, except to my pride. Because it seemed they had focused their attention on the duct work above my bed. And on my bed was a giant pile of underwear, sorted, but not put away yet. Bright red bras hanging off the stupid bed posts, assorted panties in flourescent florals or heaven forbid, cartoon prints.

And worse, because the fire station was in my neighborhood, I ran into these guys all the time at fast food places and the grocery store after that. Big grin, every time. Not me. Them.

Kinda sucked.

So remember what your mom always told you about wearing clean underwear in case you get in an accident. Except you should also have clean underwear in case your house is almost going to blow up and people need to get into your ceiling.

Now you know.

And yes, the firemen were cute. Sorry, honey, but it was before I knew you and I never could look them in the eye after that, anyway.


Annette Lyon said...

After such a fun post, this is going to sound totally lame, but you stopped me at "they were deaf." ASL was my language in college, and while I'm no good anymore, I was darn tootin good when I graduated and considered becoming a translator. Not that you wanted to know that . . .

Heather of the EO said...

If you were telling me this story in person, you would have heard a very LOUD laugh at the cartoon character part. You're stinkin' hilarious.

LisAway said...

Actually, I'm with Annette. They were deaf? Like actually deaf? All their lives or what? You must write a post about it and some experiences or something because that's totally not something you can just throw casually into a very interesting post!!

But I must say you are totally my hero. My busy underwearing hero. Except maybe these days you've swapped for something less colorful? Or at least left off the cartoons? :)

*MARY* said...

One time I saved my neighbor's life. I woke up in the middle of the night and heard their smoke detector beeping, but I was tired and convinced myself it was just a weird cricket. Then I woke up early the next morning and could still hear the beeping and could smell a little smoke so I woke up my husband to go check it out. He went downstairs to the neighbors apartment, looked in the window and could see a bunch of smoke. Then more stuff happened but this comment is already way too long.

Melanie J said...

A: I'm a good ASL conversationalist and I can interpret church if it's my ward and no one's quoting a general authority, but it's my sister who's the professional. She even interpreted Conference this year. And I do interpret every Sunday which is a totally different post about odd coincidences, since I'm in a regular ward, not a deaf one.

H: Thank you.

L: Yes, my drawer of unmentionables now has a much paler complexion. And maybe I will blog about the deaf thing some time. I forget it's interesting to other people but some funny stuff definitely went on. Good funny.

M: Now who's making throwaway comments? 'Scuse me, but what HAPPENED?

Aubrey said...

Too funny. I would imagine that if you thought your house was burning down, the wildly colorful underwear on your bed would be the last thing on your mind.

(Love the title of your post, by the way.)

Heidi Ashworth said...

That is a great story! Love it! (sorry about the underpants, though. Course, it wouldn't be such a great story without 'em so I retract my sorrow.)

Anonymous said...

What a hero!! I should make you a cape! You certainly know how to tell a good story, and you got me (just like aubrey and probably everybody else) with your title. Although, you could have titled it, "An Adventure, In Which All I Saved Was My Superhero, Cartoon-Imprinted Underwear" and then firemen from all over would be checking it out!

Kimberly said...

Oh Melanie, I'm wincing and laughing at the same time here - and it hurts!

charrette said...

Great adventure! Cartoon Underwear, deaf parents, and all!

But my favorite line is still: "This one time, I lived in my parents' garage for five years in a non-loserish, non-broke kind of way" -- you had me right there!

Eowyn said...


Pink Ink said...

Oh my gosh. That is too funny, Melanie.

How interesting being raised by deaf parents!