One Flourishing, Frugal and Fun Family!

One mother making ends meet and surviving today's recession by writing. One family learning to live off the land, cut back on expenses, and to live a simpler and a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

Adopted Motto

"Eat it up,
Wear it out,
Make it do,
Or go without."
~A Pioneer Sampler, by Barbara Greenwood~

Monday, July 22, 2013

Another Bad Storm

Have you been wondering where I have been the past few days? 

Where do I start?

I'm at the library right now.  Our cable/internet service was knocked out early Saturday morning.  The service folks have not been over yet to see what the problem is.

We had another bad storm early Saturday morning.  At 5:00am, I awoke to heavy rain, loud thunder, and a lot of lightening.  I rushed to the kitchen, unplugged the computer and cable line, and gathered battery powered lights (and flashlights).  My 16 year-old got up and searched for her dog so she could put his thundershirt on.  She was also searching for Mattie. 

The last time I posted, Mattie had come home from the vet and was not recovering quickly.  She was stumbling and falling down.  She had gone underneath my bed, and for some reason, my daughter felt an urgency to get her out.  I had told her to just let her rest there.  Later we realized we should have gotten her out.

I went back to bed, and could not sleep of course.  Somewhere around 6:30am-ish, it happened.  There was a very loud "BOOM" and when I opened my eyes I swear I saw a yellow flash in my dresser mirror. 

Lightening hit.  It popped two fuses in the breaker box, and my lights in the bedroom were out.  I took my flashlight and checked my mirror, as I thought it had completely cracked. The noise was that loud.  Also, I had heard something fall down in the hall from the wall when I heard the noise.

I got up and checked the utility room, which is down the next to my room, and next to the kitchen bathroom.  I heard sounds from the hot water heater that were not right.  I walked all the way in, and found flames shooting up under (or where it appeared to be coming from) the hot water heater.  I flew into the kitchen and grabbed a fire extinguisher, and put it out.  I know the dangers of propane, and immediately called Hubby (who had left for a 4:00am shift at work) for the location of the shut off valve (not one of us but Hubby knew where it was).  I called him 3 times. Our tank is buried.  I had an idea, but was not certain.  Hubby always took care of those things. By then a second fire started. 

I don't do well in these situations, and my kids pretty much took control of gathering everyone (and pets).   My hands were shaking and I was, as my kids say, "freaking out."

The second fire had flames shooting up from underneath my dryer, that was not far from the hot water heater.  I could not get Hubby to answer his phone.  The dryer had been plugged in, but off.  I put out the fire with our last fire extinguisher, I had one of the kids call 911 and said "GET OUT!"

We had to go to the chicken/goat barn and wait.   We went in our jammies, barefeet or whatever shoes were at the door.  We got everyone out but 2 cats - Jasper and Mattie.   It was pouring down and the lightening continued.  When the fire department arrived (which by the way the passed us, and I had to run out and wave them down), they were able to shut off my propane and investigate.  There was enough propane in the house that when the opened the door, there was another "BOOM" and things on the wall flew off. 

We were allowed in later, only to be told that there was a pin hole leak in our propane line inside, and on the water heater.  Evidently, a past home owner had taped over it with some type of tape (very unsafe, and pointed out by the fireman).  I was upset that they had done this, and it put my entire family at risk.

What a mess we have to clean up, but I am thankful it happened.  I keep replaying scenarios, that if the lightening had not ignited the propane, and we were all still asleep, we may not be here today. 

My daughter (16 year-old) and I had already had my car packed for the Farmer's Market, so we decided to drive over and see if we could set up late.  We didn't have much else we could do, and Hubby was fixing the propane line.  I needed to get my mind off things too.

We are still cleaning up my fire extinguisher mess, but still thankful I have a family and a house to clean up.  We did lose our front load dryer, one flat screen TV, my newly gifted blueray player,and we now have a leak to fix.  The "booms" shook the house so much that the woodstove piping worked loose and rain was coming in.  It was also coming into the garage.

When we did go back in, we found Mattie sleeping silently in the same place she was last, and we could not find Jasper.  Later the kids found him inside the couch.  They ripped the bottom to pull him out, and even then, he did not want out.   Poor guy.  We never did see much of him until today.

Hubby feels bad he did not feel his phone vibrate, and asked me to call many times to make sure he was getting my calls.  Otherwise, he would get a new cell phone.

Oh, and everyone, not just me, now knows were the propane shut off valve is now.  We are putting in another smoke alarm, and replacing our fire extinguishers.  The kids realize that clutter can't be anywhere anymore, and in an emergency hallways, and rooms need to be tidy.  Also, I have a new rule - headphones are not allowed during the night.

And yes, I got the speech from Hubby (who is also a volunteer fireman) that the first thing you do when propane is flaming, is shut the propane off (not use a fire extinguisher) - No propane, no flames.  Did he not hear me when I told him I didn't know where the valve was? Or that he didn't answer his phone? Sheesh. Men. I saw fire, I put it out. The fire department shut it off, and they saved our home.  There were many lessons learned from this too.

Oh....there's more.

The next morning, Hubby told me that the bathroom tile was completely done, and I could shower in there.  Two minutes into my shower, I felt a tile sink.  Let's just say no one in the house is allowed to say the words "tile" or "shower" in the same sentence. 


Winnie Nielsen said...

wow, what a scare you and your family had!!!! Really scary!!! So glad to know that none of your or your animals were injured and that you house did not burn up. I know you are still shaking from all that happening in a split second.
The weather out your way has been horrible this summer! For once, the cooler autumn weather can't get there fast enough!!

Carolyn said...

Oh my goodness! I'm so glad that you & your family are safe!!
That is one of those "well, we're kind'a prepared, but things like that don't happen to us" scenario.

Thank you for sharing and for giving the rest of us a reminder to get all of our stuff in order in case there is an emergency. Time to re-think the fire / storm / emergency plans for us this weekend.

Sandra said...

Oh My Goodness!!!
How scary!
Sorry you are going through this trial. Glad your all safe!

Little Homestead In Boise said...

Wow, well you did what you had to and saved your home and kids. Glad you were able to flag down the fire department! I hope you guys can recover and get back to some sense of normal...

EMMA said...

Thank goodness everyone is OK. That all sounds so scary. You really do get the most enormous storms where you live.
Best wishes for all the clearing up, shame nothing can be done for all the electrical appliances you lost.

Linda said...

OMG Kristina,
I am so glad your family is all okay. You all have sure had your shares of problems with these storms and all. Hopefully things will be looking up from here.
I am so glad they got the propane shut off. That is so scary how the other owner just put tape over the lines and put you all in that kind of danger. It could have been so much worse than it was.

Praying for repairs and safety for your whole family. Hug to you all. Take care.

Linda (wooliespinner)

Michelle said...

So glad everyone is safe. What a scary night. I don't think I could be as calm as you are with everything. When my husband gets home he is showing me all the shut off valves!

Susan said...

OMG~what an ordeal! I am glad I read this post, as I haven't checked my fire extinquishers for years. I do know where my propane switch is, but if it's thundering and lightning, I don't know that I'd feel so safe standing out there by that big metal tank. I'm glad that everyone is okay.

Candy C. said...

Oh.My.WORD!! I'm so, so glad you guys are all okay! What a mess you must have to clean up and what a bummer about the "T" word in the shower! :( {{HUGS}}


What a horrific experience ! Thank God you all survived. We want rain but not the Storm which is forecast. What an Idiot to have taped over a Gas Leak ! I must check where our Fire Extinguishers are. Take care now. Marion x

zee said...

Oh my...what a trial. but Thankfully know one was hurt.

I had wondered where you were. I have been following your blog for some time now and really enjoy it.

Grandma Zee

forgetmenot said...

Oh, Kristina, would you like a hug?!
There. Consider it done! So glad you and family and critters are safe..and so glad you had "filled" extinguishers!
Farmgirl hugs, Judith
aka forgetmenot

Corn in my Coffee-Pot said...

Oh wow!
I'm just reading this for the first time.
I had no idea.
This sounds like a terrifying experience. One everybody learned some lessons from.
So glad you're all ok.

RB said...

Good gracious!!! Thank God you are all ok. Praying the worst is over for you and yours, and that smooth sailing is on the horizon for you.

God bless.