Be warned, a case of TMI will soon be approaching. If you're not interested in learning about a personal issue that ails me, skip the next paragraph.
For those of you still reading, here it is: I suffer from ear wax buildup. Specifically in my right ear. After about 10 days of suffering, I finally broke down and went to the doc's for a washout and relief. Well, actually, I went to my PCP to see if it was an infection, but Nurse Patrick said she couldn't tell as there was too much wax. Not wanting to leave empty-handed (and be out $40 in order to see my ENT), I decided to let them wash it out. The last time I was there I left in pain and refused to pay the balance ($5.46) out of protest. Having made that decision, I decided to let them have a go at it. If it worked, I'd be pain free a day earlier (vs. having to wait until my appointment with my ENT on 04/04). Ninety minutes later I left the office with clear ears and my hearing restored. Afterwards I searched for homeopathic solutions and found The Real McCoy, which looks interesting (although expensive). If I come down with another one this year, I'll give it a shot, otherwise, I'll stick to a monthly regimen of hydrogen peroxide per Nurse Patrick's instructions. (And why do I always refer to her as Nurse Patrick? It makes her sound like someone out of Young Frankenstein or something!)
Alright, you can open your eyes now. After getting home, D took off for the hospital to visit Maria. Her mother's been in the hospital for the past few weeks after having a stroke and now her father was admitted with chest pains. I couldn't imagine what she's going through; I'm sure it's a difficult time. I'm glad D is able to visit her often and provide a shoulder to lean on. I'm sure Maria is thankful for that as well.
While D was out, there was a series of sirens sounding through the neighborhood. Since we live relatively close to 66, I figured it was a bad accident on the highway. N asked if we could pray (although to me, it sounded as if he said play, which is normal for him as he still has a hard time with his Ls) and I told him now, we were done playing for the day. As usual, he got frustrated that we didn't understand him and clarified "No, can we PRAY?!?" Oh, yes, we can do that. And with that he started praying for the people in the siren and the firemen and the helicopter and the fire engine and for his classmate Tristan. It was amusing to say the least. Sweet, but amusing.
I sent him upstairs to get in the tub and as I was walking past the front door, noticed there was stuff left on the lawn. I went out to get it and noticed a plume of smoke coming from the woods behind our neighbor's house. It was a mix of black and grey, as well as some the color of a really nasty bruise after it's been sitting on your leg for a week. A second or two later I heard what sounded like a mix between a minor explosion and wood crackling in a fire (which I suppose was indeed happening, it was just really loud). I ran inside and called for the kids to get dressed and get downstairs, that there was a house on fire. After a slight hesitation, I added, "Not our house!" in order to alleviate any fear that my previous statement might have brought on.
After they got dressed, we rode our bikes down the trail to the next street over and made our way to the scene. There were a half-dozen fire engines and at least two dozen firemen (that we could see). The house that was on fire was burning fast. The garage roof was pretty much gone and the fire had started breaking through the main roof. You could tell the attic was nothing but an inferno as the flames started shooting out the opposite end of the roof. In addition to the house that was on fire, the firemen trained their hoses on the neighboring houses so they didn't catch on fire either (the siding had already started melting on one of them).
Both M and N were visibly shaken up, M concerned about the people who lived there and N concerned about their toys. Nothing surprising to me about either of these two observations. When it was time to leave, I made the mistake of telling them we had to check on our house, as I forgot to close the windows. This caused M to start crying all over again thinking our house would catch fire as well, but I calmed her by reiterating that I was only concerned about smoke getting in the house. (As it turned out, ashes fell on our neighbor's deck, so there may have been a slight risk for us as well.)
On the way home, we saw the Medivac helicopter circle overhead before landing at the school. Since this wasn't an everyday occurrence, I decided to forego getting them to bed on time and we went to the school to check out the situation up there. While we were waiting for the paramedics to load the patient into the helicopter, a police office drove up and, nonchalantly, asked me where my camera was as something like this doesn't happen every day. This struck me as odd, but he was right, I should have grabbed the video camera to capture some footage. Just like at the scene of the fire, M was concerned about the people and asked what we could do for them. I told her that once it was determined what they needed, I'm sure we would help out in some way. N announced that fires were fun because of all the fire engines and helicopters (from his perspective as a five year old, I'm sure they are, as long as it's not your house and toys that are on fire). The helicopter finally took off and we headed back home.
The fire is still under investigation as I write this (it's been speculated that it started under the deck and moved its way up the back of the house), but, as far as I know, there were no serious injuries. No mention of it has been made in the paper or on the news. The community paper comes out on Thursday, I'm sure Bonnie Hobbs will write something about it.