Friday, May 27, 2011

Night of Panic

I drank some Mountain Dew yesterday. I only drank half a small can. What is in that stuff? I could not sleep last night. It was a good thing. Like fate. Might have saved me and all the cats here.

I gave up on immediate sleep about midnight. I had gone to bed early. But I woke up about midnight. I was tossing and turning.

Dex is going downhill again. Her guts sound like bad plumbing, gurgling and popping. I felt bad for her. I gave her fluids then came into the exclusion room to use my PC. I cursed my bad choice in drinking that Mt. Dew, which always causes me sleep problems, no matter how little I drink. I don't drink pop. But yesterday, I weakened. It looked so good, sitting there behind a cooler glass window. It looked cold, and refreshing and thirst quenching. It called out to me. It was fate I made the choice I made.

I was hearing something. I thought it was a kitten mewing piteously, at first. My mind drifted to the cat taken in by the neighbor, at end stage lactation. How could I be hearing her kittens in my bedroom when I can't even hear the Siamese's kittens, in my own garage?

We don't know where she came from, only that every bone protrudes from serious starvation. She had nothing to give kittens, if she had them. They would be dead out there somewhere. I could not be hearing her kittens, I told myself. I went to investigate the sound.

I got near my dresser and heard a crackling fizzling sizzling sound. What in the world? I yanked the dresser away from the wall and to my horror, the sound was coming from the outlet. I do not think I have ever used that outlet. Suddenly the sound escalates and I see orange and smoke bursting from the lower outlet.

Panic sets in!!! I don't revert to my fire plan. Instead, I race for the garage, bare footed, without a flashlight in hand. I shut down the main, fumbling in the dark then, garage door open, I feel a cat whisk by my ankles. Into the garage? I'm then plunged into complete darkness. I cannot find a working flashlight. The sizzling and crackling continues at my wall.

I find my cell phone and punch speed dial for my brother. I don't expect an answer. My sister in law answers. She says, sleepily, "Call the fire department." "No!" I fire back, "They'll ruin everything and my cats will die."

I've seen what happens when the fire department is called on even a small fire. It happened at a low income high rise where I lived in Corvallis. An old woman fell asleep in her chair smoking and her chair caught fire. The fire department came and the fire was put out, but many apartments were ruined by the water, which even pooled in the lobby ceiling before crashing through and ruining that. Many people were forced to live elsewhere until the water damage, not the damage from the small fire, was repaired.

Instead, I grabbed one of two fire extinguishers I have, from the wall, pulled the pin, then the trigger and sprayed the hell out of the outlet and wall. Fine white powder went everywhere, choking me, coating everything. The sizzling continued. In my panic, in the dark, I had turned off the main. I had to turn it back on to find a flashlight that worked. After that, I switched it off again, which stopped the crackling.

My brother said he'd have an electrician there, first thing this morning. I said "Wait." And finally, despite my fear of electricity, pulled out the outlet. One wire, the hot wire, was not connected to the back of the outlet, and was loose and bare behind it. Most likely, a wad of dust, even a bug, touched that bare positive and something else, creating a closed circuit. The outlet box had contained any damage, as it was intended to do.

I have changed most of the outlets in this place. I need to make sure I change every single one of them. It wasn't a fire, the orange I saw, just arcing current. I had over reacted, but at least I reacted and contained a problem that, had I not been awake, might have spelled the end to life as I know it.

I found a new outlet in my supplies this morning and changed the bad one out and turned the power back on. Strangely, now my phone, which has been barely audible, rings loud enough to hear in my garage. I don't know if the outlet it is plugged into is on the same circuit as the bad outlet. I would be surprised if that is true, since one is in the kitchen and the other in the bedroom, but you never know. It could be the phone reset or something, when I turned off the main. I don't know these things. What do I know?

I know I never drink pop and yesterday I did and the result was, I was awake when I needed to be awake last night.

I couldn't find a flashlight in small part because I got ripped off. Things were stolen out of my garage, which has broken my heart. This happened some time ago. I don't know exactly when.

The first thing I found missing was my mag lite. It was then, searching for it, when I knew I had left it in a certain spot in my garage, that I discovered other things missing, among them my spotting scope and the receiver part of my treasured remote control unit for my live traps. I'd had it out, on a table near the front of the garage, working to revamp it to fit all my traps and the drop trap.

These losses, although not of financial significance if some outsider were to try to place a value on the thefts, have devastated my soul. Especially the remote control receiver unit, as it is something that was very useful to me in my efforts, and a concept I came up with myself. I was so proud of that device. It's gone now.

I have suspects in this theft, but no proof. I have nothing left now for them to steal either. They already tore out my heart. It's been tough to get over it, to move on.

I want to trap those thieves, using their own greed and lack of respect for someone else as bait.

I did buy another two cell mag lite. It is hard now to find a decent flashlight. They're plastic and crap and fall apart or break quickly. The switches break. The plastic threading breaks down in one false start when changing batteries. The negative to positive top to bottom strips fall loose or corrode.

It is so hard to find anything built to last anymore. I hate LED flashlights. They are useless for trapping as they have no range to the light offered. Even mag lites are not built as well as they used to be built.

I drank Mt. Dew. I didn't sleep as a result. Because I didn't sleep, I was awake to hear abnormal sound from an outlet. I investigated, subsequently over-reacted, but the problem was contained, as a result, and this morning, fixed.

What's my fire plan, you might ask? For a wall fire, if that had been an actual fire in the wall, not just arcing current, I do have a plan. Chase all cats from bedroom and bathroom, which share a wall. Close those doors throwing wet bath towel beneath, donning a headlamp, which is supposed to be hanging from a hook on my bunk bed. Then I chop up a hole in the wall by the fire with the machete and spray the hell out of it with the fire extinguisher.

Yeah, right.

There's no fire plan that saves the lives of your animals. There isn't any time. Fires travel quickly and by the time they produce enough smoke to set off a smoke detector all you can do is smash a window and get out.

Anything that burns in a house is going to produce toxic smoke, too, and toxic hot smoke kills anything alive very quickly.

Inside cats are not going to be chased outside and if so, they'll try to run back inside to hide. My plan would be to try to stop the fire, and if not realistic, to grab two cats and smash a window. The only fire you have a reasonable chance of stopping is a cooking fire, not an electrical fire that starts as a short in a wall.

That's all you have time to do. Fire plan? You don't need one if you live alone. Smash a window if you have to and get out. Save who you can but if you have a cat rescue you can't save them all. I'd be lucky to save two.

No comments :

Post a Comment