Huffing and Puffing While the House Burns Down

Neighbor's House on Fire

Neighbor’s House on Fire (Photo credit: Aaron Landry)

Daily Prompt:  Burning Down the House

Your home is on fire. Grab five items (assume all people and animals are safe). What did you grab?

Gawd, if my house has to burn down I sure hope it doesn’t happen in the middle of the winter, because my five items will have to be two boots, two mitts and one warm hooded coat.  And this little blurb will win first prize in the most boring house on fire list of all time contest.  I like winning stuff, but not THAT much.

So instead I think I’ll have the house catch fire on a nice sunny summer day with no breeze, so it’s less likely that the rest of the houses on the block will also go up in smoke.  I try to be a good neighbour.  The fire department is super close to where I live and if I’ve been smart enough to call them at the first sign of danger, they will be here momentarily.  Hey, it’s my imagined scenario, and that’s what I want to think.  So I have maybe five or ten minutes to rush around in a totally freaked out manner before the hoses take me down.  The alarms are blaring, the smoke is getting thick, I need to make some smart choices and I need to make them in a hurry.

I am not that different from every other female person on this planet who owns a handbag.  I would grab that first.  Do you have any idea what’s in there?  More than five items vital for my survival, that’s for sure.  Wallet, credit and debit cards, drivers license, health cards, car keys, passport, phone, glasses, tic tacs, cheque book, lip gloss, hand lotion, six or eight pens, and a bunch of loose change. With that slung over my shoulder I feel empowered and virtually invincible.

My lap top and external hard drive count as one item because they are attached to each other. Also attached are all the cords and crap plugged in to the power bar, so it’s one big octopus-like item and I’m not leaving any of it behind.   Item number three is my kindle.  Then I will gaze for two or three precious seconds with a tear streaked face at my library of actual books and gazillion photo albums.  Sorry, sorry, can’t save you all, goodbye!  Then I’ll grab the little mini treasure chest that holds precious memorabilia from my ancestors – yellowed letters and ancient pencil drawings and old notebooks that have survived for so many years with different care takers and don’t deserve to meet their end today. Not under my watch.

Old Letter

Old Letter (Photo credit: Laineys Repertoire)

My arms are full but I can grab one more thing!  So I will do some more frantic running around and then decide to drop all this shit I’m carrying on to the seat of my grandmothers hundred year old rocking chair and with a mighty burst of adrenaline powered strength, lift and shove and struggle my way out the door with my five allotted items.  Yeah I know it’s way more than five things really, but I think cheating in my case is okay.   Because out on the sidewalk there are no other safe people and pets standing around wondering what the hell I’ve been doing in a burning house for so long.  W is away in the summer, so of course he would miss all the excitement.  It would not cross my mind to wonder if there’s something of his that needs saving.  I’ll just happily assume he’s taken all his own vital stuff with him.

So here I am, huffing and puffing with all I have left in this world on the sidewalk beside me.  The fire brigade arrives and…..I don’t know what happens next.  They unplug my toaster and throw it and the charred remains of my breakfast bagel on to the driveway?  The house is a pile of rubble and ash?  It was a false alarm, or a vivid nightmare, or a daily prompt that simply sparked my brain?

I hope I never have to face this kind of grim reality or make these difficult choices.  But I’m going to add a few snack bars to my handbag just in case.

Married to an Alien?

The Plinky Prompt today is wanting me to create a wild alien character for a science fiction story, complete with appearance, personality traits, quirks and life experiences.  Huge sigh.  Maybe the table topic is better?  Not really.  It says ‘what quality do you think is most important in a marriage’.

My horoscope for today tells me my mood is “annoyed”.  Wow, they got that right.

So once again I am forced (FORCED, I tell you) to combine two totally unrelated topics.  I’ve decided to write a self-help pamphlet for distribution in places like doctor’s waiting rooms where there is never anything fun to read.  Although it can be a mood booster to pick up some random piece of reading material which explains how to cope with a perfectly  horrendous condition that you’re pretty sure you don’t have.  Or didn’t even know you could  get, but you read it anyway and store the advice  somewhere deep in your head for future reference, just in case.  Which is of course what I expect you to do with the following.


1.  Get him his own computer.   Contacting other galaxies, or whatever it is he’s doing on there can seriously impact your virtual memory and toy with your sanity.  Think aliens are deleting your programs and messing with your hard drive?  You could be right.

2.  Take separate vacations.  Well, not ALL the time of course.  But time away from each other is incredibly therapeutic.  And who knows exactly HOW far away he gets when he’s off on his own.  Let another planet deal with his quirks for a while.

3.  Do NOT interfere when he decides to cook his own meals or do his own laundry or barbecue something for two hours, starting at 10:00 p.m.  If he brings home white bread,  just be quiet and let him eat it.  And all those plastic containers of left-overs he stores so religiously in the fridge until the contents are unrecognizable?  Don’t touch them, they could be toxic.  Maybe he’s working on a formula for rocket fuel.

4. Never criticize how he drives.  Take a tranquilizer if you have to.  Go ahead and agree with him that every other driver out there is rude, stupid, ignorant and blind.  And when he decides to stay behind a snowplow for two hours, that would be a great time to take a nap and dream about buying plane tickets.

5.  Don’t sweat the weird stuff.  Remember the time he burned the old water bed frame in your fire pit in the back yard?  That’s just one of many perfectly normal alien activities that ultimately hurts no one and is best forgotten and not explained in any great detail to the neighbors.

6.  Keep your sense of humor alive and intact.  Do not be discouraged when you find something hysterically funny and he just stares at you vacantly.  He can’t help it.  Try to love him anyway.