Looking for answers to life's questions

I have company this weekend. My sister-in-law is in town from Missouri to attend her granddaughter’s wedding. After picking her up from the airport we arrived back at my place to get dinner ready for the granddaughter and her fiancé. It was a rather whirlwind day with final cleaning of the abode to a polished shine. Showing off my treasure was high on my list that day. The weather was almost co-operative with temps in the low 80’s. I even got a few more feet of fence board stained and every plant well-watered before making the final touches on dinner. I did forget one little thing.

My sister-in-law smokes. I knew this but somehow the brain did not register that there would be a need for a butt receptacle. Yes, I put chairs on the deck so she could sit quietly staring at the trees while she enjoyed a few moments of peace before retiring for the night. It was well after 11 pm, her time. As we said our final good nights we each asked what was that smell? It smelled like someone roasting marshmallows over a fire. My neighbor two doors down has a fir pit and I suggested that tech support (my son) take a look and see if he could see it. One thing led to another and no one looked to see if the neighbor had a fire going on the hill with it being banned due to high fire danger.

At 1:00 a.m. I heard a beep, beep, beep. I got out of bed and it stopped. Turning towards my bed, it started once again. We have also had warnings of bobcat sightings here as the weather is so dry. The beeping was coming from the annoying motion sensor my overzealous, paranoid son put up all around my house. One beep is someone is at the back, two if someone is on the driveway side and three for the front porch area. My son did not wake up to the sound. I shut the darn thing off.

I peeked out the back door window and was surprised to see … FLAMES! What the heck. Who would start a fire on my deck? What manner of prank was this? At 1:00 a.m. my wits were not about me so I did what any sensible person would do. No, not dial 911 for the fire department, I called tech support. Opening his door, I called his name and said “we have fire”. Then I ran for the hose which was at the top of the terraces where I had last watered. The hose was caught. In spite of probable bats and possible bobcats, I got the darn thing loose. That’s me not swearing here, just so you know.

As I turned around to bring the hose down, overzealous, paranoid tech support was fast at work with one of those fancy fire extinguisher thingy’s that I also thought was a waste of money. I’m old and have never needed one before. Why spend all that money. Today’s lesson will be how to use one. :))

I had given my sister-in-law an empty paint can with some mulch in it, that I was certain would snuff out her cigarette just like sand does. My whole yard is filled with it. I’m rethinking that quite strongly at this moment. Maybe rock will be a better option. She feels responsible. I am.

 

I’m cracking up that the decision to replace the rotting wood of that deck with Trex has been made after much agonizing. We replaced one board already that had twisted out of shape from the rain and now the whole deck was out of balance. I’ve stumbled several times. There is a board close to the steps that is all but rotted through and a step was twisted from the rain and lack of care. Yup, decision made.

There are more changes to this place on the horizon. We were very lucky this morning. Blessed in so many ways. I have no photos of the fire. My son said it looked cool for just a moment before he put it out. This was one August night that got a little too hot and there weren’t even any marshmallows.

 

Have you had any hot August nights?

 

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Comments on: "In Search of Hot August Nights" (71)

  1. Wow, Marlene, I’m happy to hear there wasn’t significant damage and there were no injuries. I have a major fear of fire. What a scary experience. I need to purchase a fire extinguisher.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We have 3 of them. My son used 2 to put out that small fire. It was quite hot and burned down into the bracing. He’s had a lot of safety training so his presence was much appreciated. I’m terrified of fire as well. Not ever going to give him grief about so many precautions again. 🙂 It will be a costly repair anyway you look at it. Just what I need living on SS. That’s how life rolls. Thanks for stopping by. You can see why I’m having a hard time catching up. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry to hear about this, Marlene! I am glad no one got hurt and that there isn’t more damage.
    Many, many years ago, we had a fire burning in our fireplace. We had (we thought) only partly closed the flue, when suddenly the house filled with smoke. The dogs went crazy, the toddlers were crying and the flue handle was too hot to handle. Out came the fire extinguisher! It suffocated the flames and left an incredible mess in the living room. No one was hurt, and outside of a little smoke damage, we lived to tell the tale.
    Never have not had a fire extinguisher in all my adult life! And for smokers, I have a ceramic dish and the butts never go in the trash can until I soak them in water.
    Good luck replacing the deck. Have you thought of flagstone? It never needs to be stained.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the idea of flagstone but I think it could be more work as we would have to rip out all the structure posts and some are holding up the porch over the back door. I will discuss options with TS while we come back from Checkpoint. Car can’t pass DEQ until we do whatever it takes to get rid of check engine light. It’s always something around here, I really just want to swear a lot right now. 😦

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  3. Not like that I haven’t. You were lucky tech support was there – I have a tech support son like that. Last week, he and tech support grandson talked me successfully through printing exact size passport photos needed for my disabled parking badge – remotely via screensharing, which I had to be taught first! Bucket of sand much in evidence now, I suppose.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. NotAPunkRocker said:

    Yikes! Sorry to hear about the fire, but I would have done the same thing as you (KIDLET! FIRE! FILL THE CAT BOWLS WITH WATER!)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m guessing this isn’t quite the type of “hot August night” you were looking for. Glad to know that all is well, and your deck will be back to new (or better than new) soon!

    Our Hot August nights have included listening to music at outdoor venues – with a fire pit, not a fire! Take care.

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  6. So glad that there were no injuries and that the technology worked.
    We had a few smokers around when the building work was in progress, but they were all very careful and mainly went in the van to light up. Thank goodness because, like you, we rarely have visitors who smoke and I’m not sure that I would remember what to offer them… probably a metal bucket of water after reading this story!

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  7. Good heavens, Marlene! I would have been discombobulated myself, seeing a fire at any time of day. I wondered what caused the beep beep beep,then I realized it doesn’t matter because thank goodness it was so annoying it got you out of bed. Do you think what you smelled earlier was the ashes smoldering and then later it burst into flames? I am so grateful you have TS in the house with you. I think you should double what you pay him; he’s worth it. 😉

    I had a fun Hot August Night on Saturday. There were flames, but it was in an entirely different context. Tara and I went to a Cherokee Nation event in Eugene during the day, then a Tiki Party in Portland in the evening (I know what you mean about full days). The owner of the place loves to build animated Tiki-themed yard decorations. There was a bubble-blowing god, and a drum-playing god with ladies in grass skirts dancing, and a 12-foot volcano that erupted dish soap, and there was a god that blew smoke over flames coming from the water. Truly amazing. The weather Saturday night was perfect for an outdoor party. The people were absolutely lovely, the food was great, and I even got asked out on a date.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Woohoo on the date!!! Sounds like a great time to me. It was the motion sensor that TS installed around the house that caused the beeping. Who knew that dancing flames would be enough motion to set it off. I gave him a lot of grief about the motion sensors. Just wanted doorbells. Glad he won that discussion. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I also smoke and am super careful about putting them out. It’s been wet enough here this summer that most of my plants have learned the back stroke, but still. I’m glad no one got hurt.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was my fault for not realizing the bark dust was that flammable. I think we were both brain dead that night from too much exhaustion. I wanted to make sure she understood it was my fault, not hers that it happened in the first place. Now my son has more work to do and he is not happy about it. I just don’t want the HOA to know we had a mini fire here.

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  9. Sorry about the fire but glad no one got hurt and it was worst.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A Hot August Night indeed! Scary, but still, mmmmm – I’m wondering what really happened Marlene. Things like this are so often a warning, a wake up call, to avert something catastrophic from occurring. Maybe for you, maybe for your sister in law, maybe for TS, maybe all three of you …… Hope every one got the opportunity to see what they are meant to see. Please don’t bounce around and curse the event and blame yourself, perhaps just take a moment and reflect a little. And have a catastrophe free rest of August xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been wondering the same thing myself, Pauline. Everything has meaning. I worked very hard to keep SIL from getting sick from the responsibility of the fire. She won’t quit smoking so we won’t even go there. I am the one that needs to look at this VERY carefully. There is no one to bounce ideas off of about the meaning of this. So writing is how I will have to handle it. There is always a silver lining in everything. The deck was configured poorly and not in good shape. I was hoping to wait awhile to make any changes, but obviously, my higher self has other ideas. Getting it done while TS is available to do the work is not a bad thing. I think I want all traces of the last owner out of here. So much was done poorly and without love. If you have anything to enlighten me, I’m more than open.

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      • If we look metaphysically at the event, fire is heat – from flaming emotion to smoldering issues. Usually anger based. Is it possible you are feeling repressed anger about your home or situation? Do you need to reflect more on the blessings and dwell less in the lack? You make an interesting statement about ‘wanting all traces of the last owner out of here…….’ Are you feeling that lack of love? I wonder if there is a need for you to gather together all your blessings around this new home, to reflect on all the improvements you have made, make a list and potential time line to address the rest and do not fret about the money or lack of it. Clear that one out of your thoughts and your fears – let your heart live in the home you are creating as it is now and as it will be – the future will respond to your prevalent images and feelings. Make sure they are the ones you want. Of course you know all this and I am only surmising this might be your issues and I could be quite wrong 🙂 But wherever we feel there is lack of love, then we must love. xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

      • I copied what you wrote here and will reflect on it later this evening when I have some alone time. It’s quite rare these days. I was given a comment from the new managers of the park last week as I was staining the fence the same color as my porch that it was very calming and they really liked the choice. My son didn’t like it nor my sister but It felt right to me. It feels quite calming to me as well. Most of my improvements are met with resistance from other family members. I’ll email more later as I mull this through.

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      • Yes, do email me xo

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Very good to hear that no one got hurt in the fire. It must have been so scary! Hope you are well.

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    • It was a pretty small fire because we were warned quite early. It smouldered for quite awhile before making flames. Everything was in place to prevent a real disaster and I was not too sound asleep to hear the beeping from the motion sensors. Everything happens for a reason. It’s up to me to figure out the reason now. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by. You can see why I’m so far behind. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Glad disaster was averted and everyone is safe

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. Who knew motion sensors could detect dancing flames. Manufactured homes can go up like a tinder box so I’m quite fortunate. Just enough damage that the entire deck will need to be replaced. 😦 Later would have been better than sooner but these things have their own timing. 🙂

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  13. Thank goodness you caught it, before the fire really took hold and became impossible to extinguish by yourselves! yes, my hot August nights have been attributable to me being mindless….leaving something cooking on the stove and forgetting about it comes to mind….remembered just in time. We need to learn from our near misses 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • We were hoping it would stop my SIL from smoking. Not. Me, I need more rest so I don’t make dumb decisions like fill a paint can full of bark dust to put out cigarettes. Not being a smoker, it’s not on my radar. She had been traveling all day and it didn’t occur to her either that this was a bad idea. She just wanted that cigarette. I think Someone keeps a good eye out for me. 🙂 I need all the help I can get. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh my gosh Marlene! That must have been absolutely terrifying to wake up and see flames. I am so thankful, as I’m sure you all are, that a complete disaster was averted. It’s a shame you have to replace your deck now. So glad the damage was minimal when you consider what could have happened. Big hugs to you!!♡♡

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jan. I appreciate the concern. It was pretty surreal and since it was relatively small at the moment, I was hoping to get it under control quickly and not deal with HOA or fire department. Not to mention the insurance. Thanks for stopping by. I’m still in catchup mode. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  15. ” The beeping was coming from the annoying motion sensor my overzealous, paranoid son put up all around my house.” —I say—give that overzealous, paranoid son anything, ANYTHING, he may want for the rest of his life. . .
    Your story had me patting my heart with eyes bugging but it also had me chuckling.
    Glad it all ended well. . . except, of course, for those burnt spots!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That overzealous, paranoid son agrees with you. 🙂 He is already a mama’s boy and works very hard to take care of me. As I have always done for both my kids. He was like quick draw McGraw with that fire extinguisher. It was out before I got the hose to it. I’m glad I tickled your funny bone. That was my intent. There is a silver lining to everything. Now the deck will be rebuilt the way it should have been done in the first place. 🙂 TS always gets anything he wants anytime anyway. He’s living here rent (not labor) free until he finds work again. I am one lucky old lady.

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  16. Marlene, I am so glad you are okay. What an ordeal.

    I’m terrified of fire. I think it’s a real fear for most of us, and one that keeps us safe. My guess is that you woke up for more than one reason and I’m so glad you did.

    Our next door neighbor recently set their Trex deck on fire too. They were able to put it out before the fire department arrived which was my first clue that anything was wrong. In their case, they put burnt embers from an outdoor fire into a container, and like yours, it wasn’t fire proof so it melted through the bottom. From there it melted the Trex and then lit the underside supports (made from lumbar) trapping the fire below. Your story is so reminiscent of theirs.

    I’m glad you got the fire out before it could spread to the house. I’m sorry, too, that you’ll have to spend money to replace it.

    Sending healing vibes your way and a big hug too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for your concern Alys. I was working hard to make light of it as my SIL was starting to have a panic attack. She’s already had 4 heart attacks and I didn’t want to be calling an ambulance instead of the fire department. I didn’t have time to panic. I just act and deal. Then I write about it and when I pay the bill for the replacement I have a good cry and order pizza and beer for dinner. My kid and I will do the labor. My sis brought her truck to bring home the supplies. Life is about moving forward. I get 10 minutes on the pity pot then I get on with it. 🙂 Wishing you some cool. Hugs. M

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  17. Motion detector, tech support, and fire extinguisher–you really had the most fortunate of luck on your side, didn’t you, Marlene? So happy to hear everyone is safe, and that you’re getting some safety instructions. And the decision about the deck was practically made for you. Total bonus. Sounds like a banner day all around, right?
    Making lemonade out of lemons, I suppose.
    Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Goodness.. I am so pleased that alarm woke you up and you had that fire extinguisher handy.
    I hope that the House Insurance can cover your damage. and you get replacement boards.
    And here’s to learning how to use a fire extinguisher..
    And good job you had Tech Support!!!
    Take care.. and enjoy this weekend.. xxx
    Sue x

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    • Thanks for stopping by, Sue. Everyone else slept through the little beep,beep, beep. I would normally too but that night I didn’t. Not going to insurance with this. I am taking care of the expense out of pocket and already have replacement ready. Just waiting for TS to figure out how to do it. Some changes in design are called for. I will never be without extinguishers again. Wishing you an uneventful and calm weekend too. 🙂 Hugs. M

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Oh my Marlene, what adventures you’ve been having…or should I say misadventures? Thank goodness nothing worse happened. Those motion sensors are very sensitive but what a good job they did! We keep a fire extinguisher in our car but not in our home. How crazy is that? That will now change. So, so glad you are all okay and safe. Have a lovely, calm and enjoyable weekend 🙂

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    • Thanks, Sherri. I had 3 in the house and we used one and a half. My son wanted to make sure that fire was out and I had a hose on it for an hour. Thank goodness no one saw other than Ms Alzheimer’s next door. She doesn’t remember a thing. Now we just need to get it rebuilt without anyone noticing. 😦 I don’t want to deal with the property owners – HOA. We were indeed lucky that I woke up enough at 1 a.m. to deal with it. If I had slept through as the rest did, it could have been another story. Have and uneventful weekend yourself. :))

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  20. All that excitement and no marshmallows. Glad everything is relatively okay.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Hard to press “like,” Marlene!!! Oh my goodness!!!! I am so grateful you had those motion sensors….and you were very lucky that after working so hard you HEARD the alarm!! I would say that was enough excitement for a bit 😉 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • The motion sensors were my son’s idea of a doorbell. One ding for the backdoor, two for someone coming down the driveway and three for someone at the front door. Just a single beep was all I got to wake me. Beep, beep, beep. No real alarm like a smoke detector makes. Yes, enough excitement for a lifetime. I filled my gratitude journal that day. I swear there was divine intervention involved. I count on it.

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  22. Oh, dear, what a fright. I hate anything to do with fire. Glad you were alright. No hot August nights here in the south of the UK at the moment. I think that someone has stolen our summer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know where your summer is and you can have it back any time. This is the worst summer I remember since living in Georgia and having a heat stroke. I have no tolerance for heat which is why I moved to Oregon. But the trick was on me. It has NEVER been the hot this long. I’m done with it, thank you very much. You are welcome to it. 🙂

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      • The weather certainly is freaky all around the world just now. I think your summer sounds too hot even for me and I’m fairly tolerant of the heat. Although we don’t have much sun at the moment in the UK, our coastal waters are warm enough to be full of large jellyfish, some of them deadly.

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  23. You had me scared to death for you. I’m so relieved there wasn’t any structural damage to your home or anyone injured. You had me cracking up with your comments about tech support. My youngest son is a lot like your son with his love of technology. The one thing I have learned is that when something like this happens and their tech solutions end up helping we won’t be able to live it down, at least that’s the case around here.

    I have never needed to use a fire extinguisher nor seen anyone use one.m The only fire I ever had was electrical and in the wall where an extinguisher wouldn’t reach so I didn’t bother to get one for this house. I”m rethinking that after reading your story.

    Now, let’s see if this comment finally goes through. Fingers crossed. 🙂

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    • We replaced the extinguishers this week. I’ll never be without them again. My daughter talked me into buying them and TS had one next to his bed???? It was in his hand before he left his room. The fire was out before I could turn on the hose. And you are correct, I will never live down the “I was right” look from my kids. It’s amazing how calm I stay in an emergency and because my SIL looked like a heart attack was imminent, I went into isn’t it funny mode. I did not want to call an ambulance too. I’m terrified of fire but for some reason, that one left me quite calm. ??? I’d rather be safe than sorry.

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  24. Geez Louise Wonderfrau ! I kid only because that’s my ‘go-to’ thing when my wits are scared out of me. I’m glad to know you had an extinguisher and someone knew how to use it. Please tell me you have that down pat now. We have several, they ain’t pretty but neither is a charcoaled house. It’s actually good to hang one outside, away from the house, on a tree or fence. Not just for deck fires (oh man, that’s a horrible feeling just to type those words), but if you ever need to open a doorway to a fire, the first thing that happens when it gets air is it grows and you need to be prepared.
    I’m sure it was plenty scarey enough. I have a big fear of fire. At concerts or sporting events or resturaunts, that’s the first thing I do is make note of the exits and how to get there. Then I tell Jim which way we are going in an emergency. He things I’m looney, but as they say, “safety first”. Smoking is so last century, don’t get an ashtray, put a candy dish out xo K

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    • We were hoping the fire would make SIL quite smoking, but no, I filled an old jar with water and gave that to her. My son had the extinguisher next to his bed. I think he sleeps with it. He could probably bop a burglar in the head with it. I’d never had an extinguisher until my daughter bought one for her apartment and some for the office. She thought it would be a good idea. :)) Motion sensors is something else I had no use for until the caught the motion of flames. I’m the only one that woke up to the sound. You know manufactured homes burn like they are kindling. We were VERY, VERY lucky. Now the whole deck is being rebuilt since we found so much dry rot underneath. Not an expense I needed this summer but it’s a blessing in disguise. I haven’t had an ashtray around since my mother quit smoking. I will never buy an ashtray. Thank you very much. Hugs to you and thanks for the visit. I’ve missed you. 🙂

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      • My SIL can’t quit either and she’s had a warning of her own. After a heart attack last year at only 60 she made all kinds of deals with ‘you-know-who’. She’s forgotten how scared she was right then. I worry for her because it seems like it would be a no brainer. The life I love and time with my grandchildren I love so much -vs- a nasty cancer stick that gives you wrinkles to boot. It’s a powerful addiction when you think in those terms, so we don’t nag. My hubby quit before a trip to Europe. We were gone for 21 days and he didn’t take cigarettes. Since we were on a bus, he couldn’t have smoked much anyway. I was so very happy for his health and that I didn’t have to smell it on him anymore either.

        Lot’s of luck in your home that night Marlene, thank goodness for all that good Karma you build around you. Be safe my dear, love k

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  25. Marlene, I’m just so grateful you are all ok. Scary hot night for sure! Stay safe ~ I love that you had the warnings, the hose out there and fire was put out without too much damage. I know there was damage, but it could have been so much worse. Big hugs to you xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by. Yes, it was scary but I was oddly calm. It was one of those blessings in disguise. Now I have an extra load of work to do on top of the other load of work. I rarely get time to do the things I want to do like read and write. I smell autumn so I’m hopeful that I can get the deck rebuilt and the house painted before it’s too cold or wet out there. We found so much dry rot underneath so it’s a good thing we are re-configuring it. Everything has a reason. Thanks for the hugs and back at you. 🙂

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  26. You will not believe this, Marlene. Or, perhaps you will, since you are acutely aware of how dry our world is right now. I had a fire in my bark mulch in front of the house last week! Tara’s dad was staying with us for the week, and he smokes. He puts out his cigarettes by holding the butt up with one hand and flicking the hot embers off with the other hand, then he throws the butt in the trash.

    My story is so similar to yours: I smelled something I thought at first was the neighbors burning something, which I decided was very irresponsible of them. I went to the window, looked around, didn’t see anything. About an hour later, I came through the kitchen for something, and again smelled something burning through the open window. I went outside this time, looked in every direction, saw nothing.

    My home office faces a window, far to the left side of the house, on the other side of the garage. A couple times I actually saw smoke, got alarmed and went outside again and could not figure out where it was coming from. By this time I suspected it was the construction crew, only 100 yards from the house, doing road repairs.

    Finally, finally, I saw a burst of smoke come over the roof of the garage and my slow brain put it all together: something is burning near the house, and it’s not flaming, so I need to look carefully. Since it had finally occurred to me that it could be MY house, I looked at the ground close by, and spotted it instantly. Though Tara’s dad had been off in town for four hours by then, I knew that it had to be cigarettes. It’s the only thing that made sense, especially after I had just read your post and realized it could burn slowly for a long time. With the realization, my hands started shaking in fear for what could-have-been. What a dunce to take so long to figure it out! I doused it immediately. There were still no flames, but a quietly creeping black spot with embers and smoke around the edges. After it all cooled down (and I left it there so the man could see what had happened), I dug it up. It had burned about ten inches in diameter, but also about 10 inches down. Wow.

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    • Oh my gosh! I’m glad I wrote the post now! That old phrase that if you can help just one person, it was worth it, applies here. I’m going to have to figure out how to deal with all the bark dust but we finally have rain coming this weekend. I’ll be putting planter boxes over a lot of it but the rest may go to rock as well. Nothing will grow in this clay and I don’t want grass. I am so glad you caught that before you had a real fire. We replaced both extinguishers TS used to put that fire out. Flames can make a believer out of you. It kept smelling like toasted marshmallows to me.??

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  27. I’ve been trying to read all the comments but there are so many I gave up in the end! What a heart-stopping experience! But we do learn from these things and I guess it’s taught both you and your sister-in-law the danger of fire from cigarettes and to be much more watchful. Thank goodness it was outside and not inside; you could have at worse, all died, at best, lost your home altogether. And perhaps you could buy your new planking bit by bit. I have friends who were quite poor and bought their central heating pipe by pipe or radiator as they managed to get enough for the next piece over a period of time.

    It may be that you might have had a nasty personal accident on your warped planking and this was something that has made you think seriously about the needed repairs. Fire is a dreadful thing but you have survived the fire. There could be a meaning in that…

    As for the beeping thing; I believe that outside censors actually detect animals or intruders by their body heat, so that’s probably why it was beeping. Something to remember also for the future, I think?

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    • Thank you for stopping by and reading. It was a subject that resonated deeply with many. The deck is almost rebuilt with railings waiting until my son comes home from a long term job. I have no little ones around so I’m not concerned. Replacing the deck was not on my to-do list this summer but once I saw the dry rot underneath, I knew it needed to be done sooner than later.I have only been in this house a year and it’s giving me a run for my money.
      We would all love my SIL to quite smoking and keep her around a bit longer but it seems too much for her to do. So we love her anyway. I told her to come back next summer, I need a new kitchen. We can joke about it but it could have been serious and I take it that way as well as look at all the hidden meaning in events. There were a lot of lessons in this little fire. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by.

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