Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Is It a Little Hot in Here?

We mostly feel fearful because we feel powerless. We feel powerless, I contend, because of a style of thinking that splits information in two poles that makes us lose all the operative information we need to solve the problem.
~Patricia Sun

Nothing gives a fearful man more courage than another's fear.
~Umberto Eco

A timid person is frightened before a danger, a coward during the time, and a courageous person afterward.
 ~Jean Paul Richter


I've been afraid a few times in my life.

The time I was walking 6 year-old Bella to her best friend's house and two largish barking, angry dogs came running down a driveway towards us. I pushed Bella behind me and knew I'd take whatever those dogs had to give me before they'd get at Bella. Apparently my conviction changed their minds and they went back up the driveway without bothering us. Whooo ha!

Or the time I had to hang my head out of our truck while my wasband and I drove north in a snowstorm to find our Lorenzo who had flipped her car into a ditch. I couldn't breath. I just wanted her young-yet-grown body in my arms so I could feel all of her limbs and know she was okay.

Fear is weird because when you're in it you have really no control over how you'll react.

Saturday morning Pup and I (or the Griswolds as his family now refer to us) packed up The Guest House and drove it south to Iowa for a party at his sister's house.

We were looking forward to this weekend and I had convinced Pup that it would be fun to take The Guest House so we could free up the spare room for his other sister and brother-in-law to use.

We're humming along. I'm reading a pile of magazines that had been growing for a time. Nothing like four hours on the road to get you caught up on all of your magazines.

I had just reached behind my seat to pick up my iPad.

"Sheesh - this thing is really hot!" I say.

Pup nods.

A second later we're both sniffing the air. There's a burning smell coming from outside we think.

"I sure hope that's not us," Pup laughs.

He turns to look in the back. Smoke is billowing out from behind my seat.

His look of alarm makes me turn around to look. Smoke spewing out. What the hell?

I hop in the back to see. What do I think I'm going to do? I really don't know, but Pup is driving and we need to know, yes? I'm brilliant in my reasoning.

I am just getting on my hands and knees when


flames start shooting out of the spot where seconds before there had been smoke.

The crazy-ass thing about crippling fear is that it was only one half of me. The other half of me was dead-calm. I could have rational thought. I'm thinking




I grab our heavy chenille blanket and place it over the flame, pushing it down. Meanwhile Pup is pulling off the highway. Mind you, seconds before we were hurtling along at 70 miles per or thereabouts.

I start to crawl towards the back of The Guest House where I know we have a fire extinguisher. Of course I cannot figure out how to get that thing out of its holder.

Now, I am making it sound like I'm the calm in the storm. I am not. Even though I'm reacting rationally I can feel a fear bubble in my chest. An adrenaline I've never felt before.

My mind is calm, but my lips are saying over and over and over, "Are we going to blow up? Are we going to blow up? Are we going to blow up?"

Who knows how many times I say it? A dozen? 20 times? Luckily no one is listening.

Pup has gotten onto the side of the road and brakes. I fly against the back door, bumping my head and sliding on my knees.

He then grabs a jug of water we have in the galley and pours it over the smoking hole.

Meanwhile I get the back door open and hesitate to jump out - it's a longish way to the pavement.

Pup says emphatically, "Get out." I do. He does.

We are standing away from The Guest House. Listening to everything creaking and cooling.

My chest is still pounding. I am bent over trying to get my breath.

Pup is doing the same.


The rest of the story is good. We are alive. And nothing blew up.  :)

Pup quickly figures out it is the catalytic converter that blew its top and started the nearly 25 year-old wood under The Guest House on fire.
It doesn't look like much, but when flames were shooting out it was something!
It looks innocent doesn't it?
We made it there and we made it back.

We'll get The Guest House fixed and we'll be back on the road in no time I'm certain.

On the way back to Minnesota that thing blew a couple of times more, but Pup now knew exactly what it was and could remedy the situation. My reactions were not so remedial. Let's just say that crying and irrational fear took over both times.

Yay! We're alive! Nay! Hole in floor of The Guest House!

Smooches to all of you.


Anonymous said...

Well that was pretty terrifying for you. Sheesh. Hope repairs or replacements are now underway and The Guest House will soon be back on the road with a lot less flamage!

Ms. A said...

Holy cow, you handled that pretty darn good! I do fair in an emergency situation, it's afterward that I fall completely apart. Sure glad this wasn't worse, because IT SURE COULD HAVE BEEN!

T said...

You handled it as well as you possible could, and probably far better than I would have.

How frightening. Wow.

Hope you can get it repaired and prevent it from happening again.

I'm mostly thankful that you were unharmed and made it through safely. So thankful.

Sara Louise said...

How terrifying! My hear almost jumped out of my chest just reading about it. Happy that you are all safe and The Guesthouse will be getting fixed up :)

Linnea LaCasse said...

OMG! Well Sis all I can say is you are now officially RV'ers! You are not Veterans until you have some kind of demise with your RV. That is a hell of a demise! I can empathize. Our first long trip in Buella to California was a quest! From blowing a tire in North Dakota, losing the air in the cab across Montana when the temp hit 100 degrees, to a huge rock hitting and destoying the wind shield in Oregon and almost backing over a toyota who was following to close in a park outside of Frisco! That was after Dave tried to get Buella thru a tight squeeze between 2 bolders at the entrance of the park. Not to mention getting lost in downtown Frisco with a 33 foot bus! Good Times! You and Scott are true Veterans! Welcome to RVing! Glad you guys are ok! Makes for a great story around the campfire!

Shabbygal said...

You stayd so calm! I would of freaked out! Glad you made it safe and sound! Traci

Deborah said...

It WAS terrifying! And believe me; I was freaking out!