Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Full Story (well, part one of it)

Thursday night was a bad night. I was so tired, but as I got into bed and closed my eyes, my body refused to relax enough to fall asleep. I was tossing and turning for so long that I finally pulled out my phone and read for a bit. I don't know what time it was when I fell asleep, but I think I ended up getting about six hours of sleep. Kimball and I had been planning on going out on Friday, but I was so tired I didn't know if it would happen. I went to pick him up from work/school, and as we pulled up to our place we decided to park on the street, instead of in our parking stall beneath our building. The stalls are so narrow, so it's sometimes just easier to park outside, especially when we're just home for a few hours. We got settled at home, and both of us ended up falling asleep. Waking up from our little nap, we both felt groggy and decided to stay in... huge blessing... or huge mistake.

We ended up going to bed around 1:00 (I know. We had been tired, really.) There we were, snug in our cozy bed, with freshly cleaned sheets, and happy to be evading the snowstorm outside, when everything went crazy! The fire alarm woke us both up instantly around 4:15 am. I have no recollection of waking up, getting out of bed, or turning on the light. All I know is that all of those things happened, and then I was running through our apartment looking for the source of the smoke I could hear and see everywhere. Kimball and I, with our mussed hair and wide eyes seemed to just walk in circles for a while... or run in circles. My first thought was, "get outside now!"I actually first thought to go out on our balcony, but I realized quickly that that was a horrible idea. I thought back on all those conversations I'd had about "If your house was burning down, what would you grab?" I couldn't think straight, but I did think straight enough to yell to Kimball to grab our phones (who has phone numbers memorized anymore?) and our computers.  I was busy looking for the fire. We thought it was for sure in our apartment, but then I saw the smoke pouring out of our ceiling vents. Shoot, it was upstairs! This was the moment of panic (really a moment... from waking up to getting outside was maybe a minute and a half, tops.) I ran into the bedroom and told Kimball, and started wrapping our huge bedspread around me. I knew it would be cold out there, and, confession, I was just in my undies. This was my moment of not thinking clearly. I saw Kimball pulling on jeans and a shirt, and realized that it would be a joke to go outside as I was. I grabbed some jeans and a sweater and got dressed faster than I ever have. We threw our electronics into a backpack, and Kimball grabbed his little bag of cough drops (this was his moment of not thinking clearly), and we ran out of our house. Not knowing if we'd see it again. Such a weird, panic-filled, confusing few minutes. The worst part was not knowing where the fire was or how long we had to get out of there. I thought our ceiling could have fallen in at any moment, or our wall would turn black and crumble to ashes.

We ran out into the rain to the front of our building. There was only one other couple out there. (I was proud of us for being so quick and smart - these guys were quicker, but they were also in shorts and had no shoes). The guy was looking into the parking garage, and when he saw us he yelled, frantically, "There's a truck on fire in there. It's seriously about to blow up! Oh man! It's gonna blow!" We laughed to ourselves, relieved that it wasn't the building, and at the fact that he earnestly thought the car would blow up. Too many TV shows. These guys also hadn't brought their phone, so they (frantically) told us to call the police. We did, but the cops showed up right as we got through, and before we had to a chance to see into the garage. I just wanted to know where the truck was, and how bad the damage would be to our car. We stressed about this for a minute with the other couple. What a huge pain. Our cars might be ruined, and the police have already taped it off. There's no way to even go get our cars to get away if we want to. This was the point that Kimball realized that he had his cough drops in his hands... I let him hide them in my backpack... my poor little sicky. Kimball turned to me and said, "Wait, did I park on the street last night?" My eyes grew wide with hope at this suggestion. I didn't know. I was delirious then, and I was worse off now. "I think you did!" We sat and thought and thought, and finally concluded that we had, in fact, evaded the flames! What a huge relief. The moment I realized it, I turned to cold-footed pair and proudly announced, "We just realized we parked on the street! Isn't that lucky?!" I immediately realized how horrible it was for me to say that. They looked, well, tired. I avoided them for the rest of the adventurous morning. People had started to pour out of the building in all sorts of funny PJs (robes, Harry Potter robes, shorts, too-short flannels, it was great) as the fire trucks showed up. We heard a loud pop, and guessed (correctly, as we'd find out later) that the windows were being blown out by the heat. I couldn't believe how many people came out without shoes on. (Isn't that the easiest thing to grab? They're just right there by the door!) We were told to move away as the firemen worked their magic. They also started going around to apartments waking those who's fire alarms didn't go off. There we waited, and here you must wait until I have time to write a little more. This is long and detailed, but it was such an adventure for us, I have to record it all, you know, for posterity.

Sorry to leave you hanging... just imagine how we felt!


  1. Eeek, it's so scary sounding. I wish you took pictures. Did you?
    Did you grab your car keys?

    Finish the full story asap!

  2. Waiting for part 2! But glad you're okay!

  3. How did the truck start on fire?

  4. Great writing. Looking forward to the next installment.

  5. Ahh---but you are Canadian, Bethany, so of course your shoes are right by the door. Americans? No guarantee about their shoes being that handy!

  6. What a dramatic story. I read it out loud to Jimmy. I think I would be totally freaked out if that happened here. Now I'm going to think about what I would grab. Love you.