This is not a drill

Deputy Dad and I married young. We couldn’t even drink legally, but we got married and began our attempt at being grown-ups. A few years and two children later, we decided to become full-fledged adults and buy our first home.

Next on the list: a dog. We must have a family pet to leave in the backyard, untrained and unattended, preferably a LARGE dog who will leave huge piles of LARGE doggie poo all over the yard and will knock over the children with his attempts at LARGE doggie affection.

What’s next, you ask? Why, ANOTHER dog, of course! Because the first one is much too LARGE for the children to really enjoy. We must get a smaller dog to leave in the backyard, untrained and unattended, preferably one that is bouncy and spring-loaded and hyperactive, one that jumps up and down screaming “Look at me! Look at me!” like a three-year old with ADHD, and will knock over the children with his attempts at small doggie affection.

Now, you’d think that since we had taken such care to leave these dogs, untrained and unattended, in our backyard; and because we had worked so hard to grow them into the obnoxious, jumping-on-people-and-knocking-down-children dogs that they are, you’d think that the dogs themselves would be responsible homeowners. Not so.

Apparently, one or both dogs got drunk and passed out last night, while smoking in bed, which we ALL know you are NOT supposed to do; I mean, dammit, they post it on the back of EVERY hotel room door, DO NOT SMOKE IN BED, for crying out loud. But these irresponsible and drunken dogs did NOT heed the warnings of hotel rooms everywhere, and so we had a fire in our backyard last night.

Now, let me repeat that for those of you not paying attention….we had a F.I.R.E.(!!!) in our backyard last night. The phone rang about 3:30 this morning, and the police dispatcher is like, “ummm….[Deputy Dad]? What’s your address? Well, ummm, you’ve got a fire in your backyard.” And Deputy Dad and I are all “Holy Shit!” And I’m running around without my glasses on trying to find the fire extinguisher (which, Thank God in Heaven, was conveniently right there in the garage, right there in plain sight, right outside the back door, right where I could find it in my half-asleep state and without my glasses.), and Deputy Dad got the fire almost put out before the fire extinguisher ran out. (Did you know a fire extinguisher can actually run out in the middle of a fire?! WHAT are the manufacturers thinking??) And then two city police officers showed up, one of whom, thank heavens, had a fire extinguisher in his patrol car. And then the fire department showed up, and it was all I could do to keep from batting my eyelashes and sighing, My hero.

So. Everyone’s fine. The house is…okay. The brick was singed, and the eaves had gotten so hot that the paint had started bubbling. If the fire had burned for just a few more minutes, it probably would’ve caught the eaves (my HOUSE!) on fire.

And the closest window to the fire was, of course, Baby Boy’s room (my BABY!). I shudder to think what could’ve happened. (This is me, shuddering.) I could already smell a little smoke in his room, so he spent the rest of the night in Mommy and Daddy’s room.

Whew. What a night. Deputy Dad and I are exhausted this morning, ’cause, seriously, how can you go back to sleep after something like that? And Baby Boy’s tired, too, ’cause he just doesn’t sleep as well if he’s not in his OWN bed. And the girls? Well-rested and up bright and early this morning. They slept through the whole darned thing. They wouldn’t know anything about the ordeal if we hadn’t told them about it this morning. Which is good. They would’ve completely FREAKED OUT if they had awakened to all the commotion.

So here’s my Public Service Announcement for today: People, when the fire department says you should have smoke detectors in every room, on every floor, they are so not kidding. We currently have only one (ONE!) smoke detector in the entire house, and it’s in the hallway, outside all the bedrooms. If the house had caught fire, the smoke would have had to fill Baby Boy’s room and filter out under the door to reach the smoke detector; and by then……my poor baby……(This is me, shuddering again.)

So, thank God for the police department and the fire department, and for our back-fence NEIGHBOR’S DOG, who alerted our NEIGHBOR to the fire, so that our NEIGHBOR called the fire department. Thank God for our neighbor. Because, as it turns out, our dogs ARE completely and totally useless. They will bark incessantly at squirrels, birds, and non-existent boogey men. But if their doghouses are burning to the ground, in huge, flaming flames? Nothing. No barking. No panicking. No alerting the humans to the danger, danger, DANGER! Nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Ungrateful mongrels. (Warning: tasteless pun ahead.) They are SO fired.

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