Tuesday, July 6, 2010

When a writer goes radio silent. . .

Is it because her computer died, her network went haywire, she has nothing to write about, or because she is a magnet for mishap?

My father claims that if I didn’t have bad luck, I would have no luck. I am inclined to agree. About a month ago, disaster struck at about midnight on a Monday night/Tuesday morning.

The smoke detectors woke me up and sent me flying through my house like a mad woman. I ran up and down stairs while the shrill sound of those alarms rang in my ears, telling me there was a fire somewhere. I just didn’t know where.

While the cats bolted for the highlands, I searched every nook and cranny of my home for fire. It wasn’t until I looked in the basement twice that I noticed smoke coming in from between the garage door and the door frame. When I finally managed to get the door unlocked, I swung it open and was greeted by a wall of black smoke.

Yeah, yeah, I know. I was not supposed to open the door. But when you are in a panic you kinda don’t think like a sane, rational person, you kinda go with whatever will prevent you from losing your home. You see, the garage is directly under the main part of the house.

My first response was to gasp and suck in the toxic dust…which would later prove not a good thing. I tried the light switch and nothing happened. I thought the power had gone out. Nope, that’s how thick the smoke was. I reached around and hit the garage door buttons. One of the doors went up and that’s when I heard but still could not see the fire.

I turned and ran back upstairs to the third floor for my cell phone and on the way back down dialed. As my bare feet hit my back deck, I was screaming into the phone, “Fire! House is on fire!”

“What?” the groggy voice asked on the other end of the line.

“Fire! My house is on fire!”

Then I heard CLICK and the line was dead.

No, I did not dial 911. I called my neighbors, my heroes. AGAIN. They called 911.

It wasn’t until I rounded the corner of my yard that I saw the 8-foot flames then heard my neighbor Kenny hollering for me as I ran into the garage, opened the other door and tried to pull out anything flammable and explosive. Gasoline cans, push mower that was already burning, riding lawnmower, snow blower, etc.

Kenny was helping me pull stuff when I looked up and said, “Hose!”

I ran and got the hose, which of course, was attached to a plant chemical. Sheesh! I managed to get that off and handed Kenny the hose.

I won’t give you all the details, but suffice it to say in spite of 8 foot flames and smoke as dark and thick as mud, Kenny, Donna, and I got the fire put out before the fire trucks, EMT vehicle, fire chief, and police cars arrived with sirens blaring and lights flashing.

My lecture for the evening came from a firefighter who asked, “Who called 911?”

I pointed a finger at Donna. “She did.”

“Who did you call?”


“Next time, little lady, you dial 911 first.”

“Um, she is on speed-dial and you never even crossed my mind.”

The firefighter gave a little chuckle then sobered and narrowed his gaze on me. “Next time dial 911 first.”

“Yes, sir.” I wanted to salute him, but I held back.

Physically I am fine. My neighbors and I all burned our hands, but those healed quickly. Ice is an amazing medicinal treatment. That and a cold beer bottle. The smoke inhalation affected my lungs for a period and made my voice sound a little like Kathleen Turner, but alas, that sexy, raspy voice has gone away.

For those of you wondering, “Where the heck did Denise go?” Now you know.

Thank you for the phone calls, the emails, and the notes. I appreciate everyone’s caring and concern. Please know that I have not fallen off the face of the earth, that every day I want to write, but this little calamity has kept me busy.

Instead of life imitating art, art will imitate life. Think of the fodder for my fiction.


Anonymous July 6, 2010 at 9:15 AM  

Welcome back, Denise. I've missed you and was very worried. I'm happy to know you are safe and sound and back to writing... with your usual sense of humor. Now, do I need my firefighter husband to come over and give you a lesson on WHAT TO DO IN CASE OF A FIRE?

Be safe, my friend.


Anonymous July 6, 2010 at 9:31 AM  

Breathing a small sigh of relief. Denise is blogging again...the world is once again my familiar place. You've spent so much time, and energy putting your heart and soul into your beautiful home, I can only imagine how devastating this fire was for you.


Judy M July 6, 2010 at 9:49 AM  

Welcome back girly! I was wonderin about you... That must have been very scary for you, but I am glad you kept your wits about you and tried to avoid anything exploding in your garage.... So scary, but I am glad you are ok, and thank god for fire alarms!!!


Ceri Hebert July 6, 2010 at 6:27 PM  

Phew!! Glad no one was hurt. How are you kitties? How bad was the damage to the house?

I'm glad you're back safe and sound!

Robin K July 6, 2010 at 7:40 PM  

I am so glad all is well. I was getting concerned and about to call in your favorite hotties! *sending hugs*

Vincent H. O'Neil July 6, 2010 at 8:01 PM  

SO glad this turned out well! You handled it better than I would have, and your neighbors are worth their weight in gold.

Emma Leigh July 6, 2010 at 8:37 PM  

I was starting to worry about you. Welcome back! You must have a boat load of story starters with all your luck.

Dunbarton July 7, 2010 at 4:46 PM  

The Return of the Author will be your next book. Welcome back to the boring sanity of every day life. N

Denise July 8, 2010 at 7:36 AM  

Good morning all.

Thanks for the wonderful comments. Me and kitties are good, but getting house back to normal is waaayy too slow for me.

I may still be slow on blogging but I will try not to be so quiet. That is so not a normal state for me. :-)

Cynthia Spurr July 18, 2010 at 9:34 PM  

And I thought I had a good reason to disappear for a few weeks.

Funny, I was thinking I hadn't read a post of yours in a while and just thought I was missing them with my busy schedule.

Glad that everything turned out as well as it did.

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