Certain people think blogging is dangerous because of privacy concerns. I think it’s for other reasons. I’d like to tell you what happened here last night. My stomach flu-addled self was freaked when we got a call from a mom saying that yet another girl in class has lice. You know how I feel about lice, so I decided to get ready for the onslaught.
My first step was to get out our heavy duty lice combs and boil them so they’d be ready for action. Then, I proceeded to head downstairs to my computer to read some blogs. I got caught up in a blog put out by a crazy in my town, who writes all sorts of inflammatory stuff about our town council members. I am used to reading wildly entertaining and edifying blogs by my fellow bloggers each day, not this vitriol, but I found myself caught up rather quickly.
About ONE HOUR into it, I smelled something burning, and didn’t even bother to investigate. Probably Molly’s sneakers getting a little overheated in the dryer. When I started to gag and choke, I turned around and looked upstairs. The house was filled with thick gray smoke, with the most disgusting burning chemical smell imaginable. In the kitchen I saw the pan that once held the lice combs on the stove. Metal on metal, not an ounce of water or plastic left. All of the plastic had disappeared, apparently straight into our lungs. I put the pan outside and started opening doors. By this time it was almost midnight. The smoke had primarily bypassed me, since I was on a lower level, but had shot straight up to the tippy top of the house where the kids were sleeping. It had been burning quite a while before I noticed.
Now if you are wondering whether that Dateline stuff about kids not hearing smoke alarms is true, believe it! The alarms were going off and didn’t wake either kid or my husband. I woke Tom. He turned off the alarms, opened our window, and went back to sleep.
I went to the kids’ rooms, opened their windows (note to self: get new windows that are NOT painted shut), turned on their ceiling fans, and stuffed towels under their doors. I wasn’t sure whether I was keeping the bad stuff out or in, because it truly was everywhere. Jake’s room was the worst because it was the end of the line, smoke-wise.
After that, I was on watch for the rest of the night. With all the doors wide open, I stayed awake in case some sort of critter decided to waltz in our door. I checked on the kids hourly to see if they were breathing. I toyed with the idea of taking them to a motel, because it was taking hours for the rooms to clear. My husband’s slumber was both comforting and annoying. Okay, it was just plain annoying.
He has slept through hurricanes in this house, while I stayed awake worried about a huge tree coming down on the kids’ heads. He happily tucked them in bed in the 105 degree heat when our furnace whacked out on New Years. Both times I suggested moving them to the basement or our bed, or out of the house. It seems that as long as they are in their own beds, he is incapable of worrying about them. This is annoying because it puts the entire worry burden on me. Why I didn’t move them to the basement last night is beyond me. I just thought of that right now, and it makes me want to cry.
About 4 a.m. I tried to engage him in a little discussion.
“Tom, our kids have always been of above average intelligence! What will a whole night of chemicals do to their brains?”
“Tom, the asbestos was nothing compared to this! Ever heard of Chernobyl? 3-Mile Island? Our lungs are shot. We WILL all get cancer, you know!”
The good thing about his non-engagement is that he doesn’t say, “What kind of mother almost catches the house on fire because she can’t pull her lazy butt away from the computer for 5 seconds! You haven’t gotten off the couch in 5 days because of the “stomach flu” yet you manage to fill our house with toxins, effectively ruining our lives and our children’s futures when most normal people are already in bed!” or, “If you would quit obsessing about lice, perhaps you would be less likely to burn the house down.” So, although I really need someone to process this with me, I guess it’s okay that that someone won’t be Tom.
Those who know me personally may think I am exaggerating a wee bit in this post, but I am not. I have huge mommy guilt on me right now and worry about what we breathed in. I really think I should have gotten them out of the house last night, or at least to the freaking basement, but I didn’t. There have been plenty of other times in parenting when Tom and I have been slow to face problems, and this alarms me because last night did not prove we are heading in a better direction. It makes me lack confidence in our roles as protectors.
A few positives:
The disgusting table and chair smell are not as noticeable now that the whole house smells like burnt plastic.
The hermit crab lives! Did I hear that they were around during dinosaur times? I believe.
And most importantly, we all appear to be safe, for now, thank God!
Warning: blogging can be dangerous.