Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Help Me!

Continuing from yesterday's post: The storm was still raging and the broken gas pipe still hissing...

Since you already know about my problem with magical thinking, you won't be surprised to learn that I convinced myself that the gas somehow wouldn't explode if it couldn't see me while I used the phone. I rushed to the other side of the house and turned my back toward all the chaos and called 911 (see why you shouldn't use a phone in the vicinity of a gas leak). I don't think that I have ever been in such a state of fear (As I learned in my public speaking class, my mouth goes totally dry when I'm really scared and I find it hard to talk), but I managed to make myself understood and was even able to remember my name and address. The operator told me to grab the animals and get away from the house.

Getting the animals out felt a lot like this

I found two leashes and the snapped them on the big dogs. Telling the two little dogs that I would be right back (I hoped), I closed the door behind me and took off for the neighbor's house across the road. Although I'm normally a quiet person, not given to much shouting, I started screaming, "Joe, help me!" at the top of my lungs when I got near the house.

Joe's wife, Wanda, peeked out the door as we came barreling toward her, all of us soaked and some of us terrified and me still screaming. She started to say something like, "No, no dogs in the house..." when a part of me that I didn't even know I had in there told her to take the dogs, put them in the bathroom, stay inside because there was going to be an explosion, and that I was coming back in a minute (I hoped) with more dogs. This is a woman I hardly knew, and I was moving our acquaintance up several notches all at once, but she saw my terror and grabbed the leashes.

Sloshing pretty fast for a lady my age back over the road and through the puddles in an outfit meant for hanging around alone on a hot day in front of a fan with no witnesses, I got back to the house. I had a moment where I thought I might be able to gather up the cats and stuff them into a carrier, but they were all hiding. It felt terrible to leave them behind, but I was betting on their resourcefulness and left a door open for them to get out when the house blew up. It wasn't a great plan for their immediate future, but it was the best I had.

The two little dogs were most willing to be scooped up and tucked under my arms. I almost left without my cell phone (I will never wear shorts without pockets again), but grabbed it on the way out the door and went back through the puddles and away from the house, this time noticing that the emergency guys had already gotten there in record time and were blocking off the road. Scared as I was, I had a big fashion realization: Their hazmat outfits were a lot more suitable for the occasion than mine.

I got back into Joe's house, dropped the dogs, and begged for a glass of water so I could talk and explain myself. My poor neighbors. Their house doesn't have much of a view in my direction and they had no idea what was going on.

You know, other people might be able to tell this story in 25 words or less, but I guess that's just not in my nature. There will probably be more tomorrow. And lots of pictures, of course.

Bertie's outfit was also a lot cuter than mine


Deb said...

So so frightening! glad you...and the animals are ok. You actually are a quick thinker , thankfully, in spite of the terror of the moment! Nothing like getting close to the neighbors real fast!

thesouthernlady64 said...

So glad to hear you got the dogs and yourself out. Bet you scared the neighbors to death. lol. I'm sure they recovered. Glad you are o.k. Will return for the next chapter.

Sandy ~~~ said...

Oh my goodness....a point to remember if you are using a land line phone and not your cell. You don't have to worry that much about telling the call receiver your address. The 911 system knows where the call is coming from and the address of the call comes up on the call receiver's computer screen. (Sorry, the cop in me just kicked in!) ;-)

WasSoggyInSeattle said...

Its not funny, not one part of it is funny and yet, I keep giggling as I read your blog. Your storytelling is fantastic and I'm sure in the next decade you'll be giggling about it too.

I'm glad you all got out OK and since I haven't heard about an explosion in LC taking out any cats I'm assuming all is mostly well.

clairz said...

Deb, my neighbors are so much more than neighbors now!

Judy, I DID frighten them half to death--mostly with my only-to-be-worn-in-private-on-the-hottest-of-days outfit.

Sandy, you're a cop? I no longer have a land line--it would most likely have been in the wrong part of the house if I had.

And Soggy/Raymona, I giggle through much of life but, be assured, no cats were exploded in the writing of this blog.

Deb said...

Clair, you are too funny...lucky for me I found your blog! I had to return to read this entry without phones ringing and people barging into my office at work. Then I look at the comments and see yours..."no cats were exploded in the writing of this blog." All I read this AM was the terror you described; tonight, I'm reading the humor you weaved in and I missed this AM. Entertaining, to say the least! So, when do we get the pic of the cute little outfit you were wearing???

clairz said...

Deb, I don't even look down at myself when wearing the hot weather outfit, so there will never be a picture of it. It frightens me but it has been so hot here lately that I've had no choice but to turn to the Outfit of Last Resort. Too bad I was wearing it on the one day when I met all the emergency guys, the road guys, the gas company guys, and half the neighborhood. It was worse than being caught in the headlights in my nightie when out photographing the orchard at dawn.

The only way I'm ever going to feel cooled off during monsoon season is to get a pool. That's my plan but, unfortunately, it calls for yet another scary suit of clothes that will never appear on this blog.

Jean (aka Auntie Bucksnort) said...

Thank you for the Pee Wee comic relief. I was hyperventilating and needed to release some of the storm story tension.

A New England Life said...

Clair, the drama with animals, and houses, never seems to end! So glad all turned out okay. A woman in our town died last month when her new condo exploded because of a gas leak. Horribly sad.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Scary! What a good neighbor not to just shut the door in your face. Some neighbors you don't know well, would do that, you know.

I clicked on that link to find out why telephones are dangerous to use during a gas leak, but it never answered the question...just said not to do it. lol!

I used to always forget my cell phone when I walked out the door.
You should consider getting one of those soft cell phone cases that strap to your arm or leg with velcro. Many horse back riders use them, like I do, so we will have our phone in case the horse and rider become separated.

They are less than $10.00 and I use mine when I'm not riding, by strapping it to the shoulder strap on my purse.