Tag Archives: fuzzy slippers

Fight or flight?

22 Oct

Nature’s response to acute stress – should I stay or should I go now?

When faced with a threat, our primitive and automatic response is to basically run and hide or to stand and deliver. Or in my case, to do both. At the same time.

You see, my own inborn response system tends to overreact. I can’t help it. I’ve tried. I’m like a grazing giraffe sensing a lioness licking her lips nearby. I lift my head up, cock my ears, and sniff the air. And sensing danger, my initial reaction is to run. And then to stay. And then to run.

Which is how I found myself yesterday. I’m 2 days post op, wearing my hot cocoa Life Is Good pajama set and fuzzy slippers. Standing at the sink washing my lunch dish, I see a waft of smoke near the back fence.

“Hmmm. That’s odd – I wonder if the guy behind us owns a tractor?” (Yep, that’s my first thought.)

Then the second waft of smoke goes by.

“Wait a minute… That guy doesn’t have a tractor…”

I grab my eye glasses and try to keep them perched on my nose (hard to do with a splint on your face.) But I go out back and around the side of the house where I see 10 foot plumes of flame and smoke.

I turn left, I turn right. I yell at the dogs – “GET BACK INSIDE”. And omg for the first time ever, the dogs listened to me. They don’t understand “Outside bad doggie” when they do something naughty, but they run INSIDE when I’m OUTSIDE telling them to go back. Go figure.

Anyway, my inner super hero kicks in and in no time flat, I’ve got both dogs inside, the doggie doors shut, and I grabbed both phones. Quickly dialed 911 with my right hand, and the hubby with my left.

I’m running down the hall double-fisting the phones.

911: “What’s your emergency?”

{stalling, hoping the hubby would pick up so I would only have to tell the story once…}

me: “THERE’S A FIRE!!!”

911: “Ok, ma’am, stay on the line…”

hubby: {picks up but I think it’s his bluetooth I’m talking to, not his ear…}


hubby: “what?”


911: “ma’am what’s going on?”

{I’m outside now, with phones glued to both ears and my eyeglasses perched cockeyed on the bridge of my splint, running toward and away from the fire}

911: “ma’am where’s the fire?”

me: “It’s in the backyard, the pool equipment.”

(I was no longer screaming. BUT TALKING LOUDLY.)

hubby: “What are you saying?”


{crap, I should have used the land line to call him – freaking cell phone connections.}

911: “ma’am you have to calm down. how close to the house is it?”

me: “I don’t know, 10 feet?” (I ask her because while I know when something isn’t perfectly aligned, I can’t tell you by how much. Hoping she knows the right answer I guess.)

me (to hubby): “Where’s an extinguisher…”

hubby: “Grab a hose… grab a hose.”

me: “There are no hoses.”

{I don’t know why I said that. We have hoses every 10 feet in my yard. Truth is, when faced with a great idea, I think I tend to deny it’s a good one…}

me: “OK, hold on both of you…”

I toss my glasses, cell phone and home phone into the grass. Run to what had to be the furthest hose, stepping in poo by the way and turn the water on. Grab the end of the hose and start running back. It’s amazing how something as simple as water can extinguish a fire. Wow. I feel silly now.

I put the hose down, pick both phones up and announce “OK, the fire’s out.”

I thank the nice 911 lady and hang up. Pick the hose back up and continue to douse the smoke. Just in case.

In the distance I hear the wail of the fire engine. It gets closer. I tell the hubby the firemen are here, gotta go. Hang up. Not sure what he said as I disconnected though. He might have said something like “open the gate…”

Since my yard slopes downward, I can see the truck arrive – but not pull into my driveway. Crap. Forgot to tell the 911 lady the gate code. Double Crap.

Ever the water¬†conscious gal, I run back to the bib and turn off the water, then grab my phones and glasses then run to the front. Run to the gate and press the code. By now, I’ve run out of breath, and see myself in their eyes.

“Nice nose job” I’m sure they’re thinking. For the record, I didn’t have a NOSE JOB. No cosmetic work – this time around. I had “reconstructive surgery”. There’s a difference. But I looked like shit.

My inner girlie girl was reminded of the last time I met strangers in my front yard, while wearing ratty pajamas and having unwashed hair. Flashbacks suck. There would be no conciliatory shoe shopping to make up for the humiliation.

And for whatever reason, the fireguys decide to leave the truck with lights-a-twirling on the road. Facing the opposite direction, smack dab in front of our gate. Sigh.

Me and the boys start making our way to the fire’s epicenter when the hubby arrives. Thank GAWD.

I know this about me – I do. I am that girl. You know the one. She leans on her daddy and then her hubby to fix things. I’m as much dismayed by this fact as I am thankful for it.

But now that the cavalry has arrived in all their manly glory and work boots, I decide to exhale and go inside.

It would take me the next five or six hours, two pain pills and a glass of wine to calm down. And see the humor. And the poo. Sigh.

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