Burning down the house

Remember a couple of weeks ago when my nephew swallowed a paperclip?  Yeah, well my son decided to one- up his cousin and get suspended from school.  It’s the text every mother is waiting for: “Our son got expelled from school.  Can I call you?”  Ok- he wasn’t expelled, but his father’s mis- information sort of served my son well because once I was on the phone with Jamie and heard it was “ONLY” 5 days and hence a suspension I was all “Oh, he is only suspended? Oh, good!.  I wondered what the hell he had done to get kicked out of school for good.”  And his father was all “OH, it could have been worse?  Oh, thank God it wasn’t.” so really, we were relieved when we really didn’t have any reason to be because HE WAS SUSPENDED FROM SCHOOL.

I suppose, in a way, it was totally Jamie’s turn to send me a text or phone call that would make my heart stop a little.  He got more than one call at work when the kids were younger that went along the lines of “If you leave work RIGHT NOW you can probably beat the ambulance home.” To his credit, he usually did.

So all of this got me thinking about my siblings and I and how my parents didn’t kill us despite the threats and didn’t leave home, despite the promises and didn’t put any of us up for adoption despite what our oldest sister assured us was going to happen.  I think it is probably because there were 6 of us and by the time the older ones were old enough to really cause trouble they had been through so much and were so worn out that really the bar was set sort of low.  They would say that if they came home and there weren’t any emergency vehicles in front of the house that it was a successful evening out.  Of course an evening out for them was the grocery store or maybe a parent/ teacher meeting.  Also, there actually were a couple of times that there actually were police at the house when they got home, but that was totally not any of our fault.  Much.

I was telling my ex that he needed to drop Christian off at my mother’s house since he obviously could not be trusted alone.  He said “well, I don’t want this to be a vacation for him.  Your mother will spoil him.” Oh, no, no, no, Jamie.  The woman that raised me is NOT the same woman that is my kids’ grandmother.  That woman lies dormant and Grandma is dominant these days.  But when the woman that raised the 6 of us  comes back out- watch out.  Christian was in for the surprise of his life.

I told Jamie to tell Christian that his uncle was once suspended.  The uncle that is missing part of his right pointer finger.  YUP, that’s what happens when you get suspended.  Suspension equals missing digits.  Ok, he got suspended and my mother sent him to work with my father because she didn’t want him home relaxing.  Then he got his finger caught in one of the printing presses like a dumb ass at the shop and the printing press ate half of it.  Whatever, that’s just details.  Suspension = missing finger.

So while saying something like that to Brian Timothy heard me and  interjected with “didn’t you once set the deck on fire?”  No.  Well, sorta.  All right, I was there WHILE the deck was on fire.  I also helped put it out. So really I saved the deck and the house and possibly lives that night.  I was a hero.

I was home for the summer from college.  My sister Erin and her daughter who was a baby at the time and I were at my parent’s house.  My parents and the rest of my siblings were off for some softball thing with my sister Melissa.  That was a mistake.  I had been out and my sister had had someone over I think and they were on the back deck with a candle lit.  She and I eventually went to bed after we had exchanged some not so nice words as was the usual with the two of us.  At some point after I had fallen asleep she came into my room yelling “the deck is on fire.”  I don’t wake up well anyhow, and waking up to “the deck is on fire.” didn’t change that.  I was so confused and thought she was just making it up to get me back for the earlier fight.  Then I looked out my window and sure enough there were flames.  Big flames.

The two of us went flying down the stairs and into the kitchen which opened out onto the deck and I grabbed a bowl and handed Erin the empty coffee pot.  We filled them from the sink and were throwing the water on the flames.  We eventually got it put out and I suggested we call the fire department anyhow, just to make sure.

The firemen came by and looked at the damage, which was, admittedly, pretty impressive.  They asked how we put the fire out and we displayed our bowl (well, it was a large bowl at least!) and coffee pot.  Then the fireman looked at the hose which was all coiled nicely on the side of the house.  And at the pool which was two steps away.  Whatever, he may fight fires all the time but this was my first one thank you.

It seems that SOMEONE forgot to blow the candle out.  It was a citronella candle in the metal bucket and when it got hot enough that bucket managed to melt through the plastic patio table, fell to the ground and started to burn the plastic, the chairs, itself etc.  The wood of the deck never actually caught fire.

My parents weren’t due back for a couple of days.  Mind you, this was 1994 so there were no cell phones.  Erin and I kept saying “what are we going to tell them?”  as it turns out we didn’t really have to tell them anything. As soon as they pulled in the drive way they could smell the burned plastic.  STILL.

To their credit they totally took it in stride.  Erin denies being responsible and to this day tries to blame some stranger that came up on the deck and re lit a candle and then disappeared.  My parents claimed the patio set on their homeowners insurance and got a new one that they still have to this day.  So really, it ended happily ever after.  And I am not super uptight about candles and make little wool things to sit under them so they won’t overheat their containers and catch the house on fire.

You know, looking back now I wonder if this is why my mother is so certain I am going to burn the house down.  She has gotten Brian paranoid about this too.  I blame my sister, Erin.


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