Sunday, February 12, 2012

It's ALWAYS Mom's Fault

There are really only two house rules. The first being to clean up your offal; the second is simply that no one NO ONE touches my scissors or scotch tape. I’m not kidding. I’ll cut you (okay, yes, it’s an empty threat, but I always say it like I mean it). Besides, even if I did mean it, it’s not like I ever can find the scissors – because nobody follows the house rules. Including moi – we’re just a houseful of born violators I suppose.

Speaking of violators, did I ever tell you about the time I got a ticket for NOT setting the woods on fire for the third time?  Non?  

Ooh la la, let me first tell you that I have trouble figuring out how to light a lighter, whoever decided to childproof them is so not my friend. Matches might work, you would think, but they have a shelf life AND if you keep them beside the sink – for some inexplicable reason – they don’t like to light. My point being, I am fire-lighting challenged. BFF and I used to go camping together and we’d buy those Duraflame logs. BFF would strike the match, hold it to the edge of the paper and Voila - we’d have a roaring, one log campfire; and I’d be thrilled if I managed to catch a marshmallow on fire. (We’re more resort girls, but often have to work with a camping budget.)

So one summer Hubby and I had good sized party: thousands of water balloons, seemingly hundreds of children, two pigs (one was the main course, the other was just a neighbor guy in costume) and if I remember correctly – one live calf (someone brought that calf in their van, I think it needed fed frequently – this is life in the country). Somebody else brought fireworks (which was against the rules). I think it was my Father-in-law (so if the statue of limitations is still active, go arrest him, please). The whole gathering was a mother’s nightmare, I expected… well, let’s just say praying really works.

The next day my Dear Hubby bribed the neighbor kids to go outside and gather up all the trash that was spread from one end of Spooky Hill to the other. There is a huge pit dug in a bare, swampy area at the edge of the woods; and the neighborhood guys gathered around it that evening and lit the trash on fire. (They decided to do it at night, so no one would notice and worry. I kid you not.) To this day the guys claim that they didn’t realize there were live fireworks in that trash, until it started to catch and shoot roman candles towards the woods. Getting a visual? Whoever called the fire department that time surely did it because of the orange glow lighting the night sky, punctuated with an occasional M80. It was all under control though, no problemo.
So a tradition was born, both with the summer party and the next day bonfire. (Though I did ban fireworks, and I tried to ban FIL, but he came anyway.)  Are you familiar with the theory of pack mentality?  You know when you get a bunch of – deal with it – guys together and one of them lights a fire and another says, “Hey, I’ve got an old couch I need to get rid of, I’m going to throw it on there.”  Cue me, standing outside, shuffling children away and doing a brilliant fishwife rant. Cue my beloved Father-in-law telling me to just go inside, because he’s been a volunteer fireman for 145 years and everything was under control.

Cue me telling my kids to just ignore the sirens going off down at the fire station; while bits of flaming foam rubber are drifting over the top of the barn, glowing orange in front of green treetops. I calmly sat the kids down in front of the piano where they happily kept playing, even as fire trucks circled Spooky Hill, trying to find the Secret Entrance. Eventually they found it, but the fire was out by then, thanks either to FIL’s 145 years on the department, or to the extremely long hoses that now stretched to the pit, either way, only the scent of scorched foam rubber remained by the time the fire department got here.

So, as the fates would have it, a few weeks after the couch-bonfire; a little boy came running up to my house, telling me that my woods were on fire. It was a windy day and visions of that flaming couch began to dance in my head, so of course I called 911 before going to investigate. Then I grabbed a couple of fire extinguishers and raced for the trees with this kid. The woods weren’t on fire, the kid had tried to burn a cardboard box inside aforementioned fire pit, and the wind blew it out. Thankfully the entire area is a swamp, but we used the fire extinguishers just to be safe; and I gave him a lecture that would have done my Bohemian Gram proud. The terrified kid hid when the fire trucks arrived – and arrive they did. All of them. My driveway can fit several btw; and as a side note fire trucks are extremely heavy and actually sink a bit on blacktop.

After assuring the firemen that there was no fire, they investigated the safety of the fire pit and recited burn rules and gave me the exact lecture I’d just given the culprit. Then the residents of Spooky Hill gathered for a good visit with each other, and the entire fire department. THEN the Fire Chief gave me a ticket. He said, “Your fire was contained, and no laws were broken; but you DO HAVE A RECORD for SETTING FIRES up here, and AS THIS IS YOUR THIRD OFFENSE I’m going to have to cite you.”  My third offense?  Mine?  The bonfire lighting neighbors had scattered at this point, and that little kid was cowering somewhere in the swamp. Yes, I considered ratting him out, but really?  I seriously doubt they would have believed me what with MY record and all. So I just sucked it up and took it like a Mom. Such is our lot in life.


  1. I'm burnin' up with all the giggles! hehe
    This is not related, but I had to tell you, One time I got a phone call from some salesperson or the other.
    Guy says, "Okay, so can I please talk to your mom."
    "My what?"
    "Your mother. Can you put her on the phone?"
    Wait I minute. I is the motha! So I said,
    "I am her. I is she. I am the mom!"
    I guess he didn't believe me. :P

  2. Love it Raj - *inserting chocolate stars through portal in cyberspace* You got a telemarketer to hang up on YOU. I may have to borrow this technique. "I is the motha!" is the new "hello".

  3. Thanks for the virtual "Stars" …yummy and calorie free! My kinda wonderful! :) From one mutha to anutha: have a great writing day! :)