July 1, 2009

it was a nightmare and I was awake for it...

monday night was just like any other night
where I was tired early
but also where a hot wash cloth while I was washing my face
breathed a second life into me
which kept me awake
until 11:30
I'm used to being alone in this house
I hear funny noises that make me wonder if I locked everything up tightly
on those nights when that happens
I'm comforted by the red light on our security system
I drift away peacefully
at 12:13 am yesterday morning
while I was in a deep sleep
our fire alarm that's hooked to our security system
which is hooked electronically to 6 smoke detectors
went off
for those who have this built into your home
you know
it is a deafening
eardrum piercing
heart pounding
that even when you're fully awake and hear it
it will send your body flying in every direction
while you hope and pray that your brain functions properly to turn it off
so you can only imagine what it must have been like for me to be alone
when the alarm went off
while my entire being was swimming deep into the black hours of the morning
let me tell you
I jumped out of bed swearing that in the few minutes I had been asleep
someone had gotten into my studio
stolen my elmers glue
dumped the entire bottle over my eyelids
as I couldn't get my eyes to open
my heart
was beating so hard that it felt like with every step I took
someone was beating my chest with a baseball bat
I could hear it
whack whack whack
confirming that indeed it was the fire alarm and not a burglar
like one could possibly be better than the other
I managed to get my code punched into the control panel
that at least made the house quiet again
didn't drown out the exploding that was going on in my head
my feet
feeling at first like I had 10 pound weights attached to each one when my body completely stiffened
magically carried my body around the house as if I were a ballerina
then I became rocky
hitting every light switch on every wall in every room in every hallway
bam bam bam
lights came on furiously and illuminated the entire house
as I moved at record speed from room to room
my nose became that of a bloodhounds
every room proved to be fine
I stood in the upstairs hallway
shaken and a bit bewildered
as I knew it would
the phone rang
exactly 6 minutes from when the alarm originally woke me
it was
the management company asking
"if everything was okay"
"do we need to dispatch the fire department"
in my extreme state of
"what the hell just happened"
I slowly gave her my password and told her everything was fine
while wishing maybe she'd stay on the line just a bit longer and tell me what it's like to be awake and working at that time of day
as I found comfort in talking
to another human being
I stood in the kitchen for a few more minutes
just looking around
while lifting my hand to my heart
feeling that somehow
the heart
my heart
that could have jumped right out of my chest wall less than 7 minutes ago
was beating again to an almost perfect rhythm
just like that
but not without first
pumped enough blood and adrenaline through my veins
to keep me awake for the rest of the week
slowly I turned off all the lights except the one on bedside table
climbed back into bed
while grabbing my book and pulling the sheet up around me as tightly as I could
wishing that it was closer to morning so I could just stay awake
I had nightmares all night long
tossing and turning
what do you grab first if your house is on fire
too hot too cold
need to pee
does house smoke smell like campfire smoke or different
did I hear something
I called the alarm company
when the sun came streaming in like little mandarin orange slices through my window
they came right out
I have a short in one of the detectors which will be replaced today
I didn't ask
but I'm wondering if they can also replace the nerves
that while better
are a bit shattered
by this experience
might need a little extra time to level out again


  1. I KNOW!!!!! I SO KNOW! YES, you described it perfectly...and it's awful and I wish I was there to give you a hug and to have been able to go back to bed with you so we could just lay in the dark and say, "WTF????"

    I KNOW! "Like one could possibly be better than the other..." Now, THAT made me laugh.

    You were so smart to chat with that woman for a few minutes. I find that a Human Being around in times like that is a huge comfort.

    And, I'm sorry you had to do that on your own. But, I am impressed beyond telling, with your bravery!

    You rock, ROCKY!

  2. oh i despise things like that happening in the middle of the night....glad all was well tho, ever find out why it went off?

  3. i'm sorry you had to go through this. but to be honest, the elmer's glue on your eyelids made me laugh. good line!

  4. Oh, poor beth ! I too would have liked to give you a big hug, a kiss on the forehead and then rub your back until you fell back to sleep...nightmares are bad enough when you are sleeping - awake they really suck !
    I think a summertime nap in soft, clean sheets with a breeze blowing across you is in order !

  5. Not nice!
    Happy to read that all was well and that you weren't on fire.

    take care
    best wishes
    Ribbon x

  6. Excellent description. But I'm sooooo sorry you had to suffer through this :-(

  7. AnonymousJuly 01, 2009

    Oh no! How awful! But glad it turned out well. I'm sitting here in my pjs, kids in bed, house all quiet, listening to the sounds of the night, wondering if all is well...

  8. what a frightening night! i am glad to hear it all turned out ok. :) hang in there!!!

  9. oh wow!!! Honey, I'm so sorry you had to be scared like that. I'm glad they're replacing it. and I'm also glad that's all it was. I sleep with a bat beside my bed too.

  10. Wow...my heart is pounding right now! That stuff scares the piss out of me. Glad it was nothing more serious!

  11. good god girl! do you EVER have a dull day? just one here or there?
    thank god you are okay and everything is fine! phew!

  12. Oh Beth, I do hope you are alright, that must have been so frightening for you. Nothing worse than being asleep when that happens, and you where all by yourself! I am glad some one rang you, even just to hear a voice to comfort you! Sending you reasuring hugs even if it's a bit late!

  13. OH MY! How very exciting and very scary! I love how you told this story. So very descriptive. I can totally imagine the whole thing. Glad you're alright!

  14. AnonymousJuly 01, 2009

    oh, thank goodness everything was alright in the end!

  15. Good grief. My poor love! Need a cupcake? A hard lemonade? A funny brownie?

  16. Oh my, what a story! I am glad you feel better now :)

    Be safe!


  17. Oh sweetie! I'm so sorry that happened. Your nerves must be fried. Well, hopefully, the alarm company will get the issue fixed and you can quickly go back to getting a good night's sleep!

  18. Hi Beth,

    We used to have guesthouses with fire alarm systems and just testing them was enough to send you crazy. But when they go off unexpectedly, that's scary!!

  19. oh, man! i can't believe it! your little middle of the night scare was worse than my crashing canopy bed story. wow. i can't imagine how i would have handled that! sounds like you passed with flying colors. your writing about it is so good. i'm coming to appreciate your writing talent more and more.

    {okay, now i'm really going to see the new blog—i just had to catch up here first.}

  20. oh dear what a shock to your system. What a terrible feeling and a terrible night. I wish you beautiful sleep tonight. Filled with sweet dreams and warm hearts xoxoxo.

    So glad to hear everything is ok.

  21. Play the worlds largest puzzle n win a apple i-phone, digital cameras and ipods every week.

    click on the link below n win a I phone


  22. Oh honey, that must have been awful I was hoping it was some sort of short and not anything horrible. Once my mom set our alarm of and my dog was inside the house. Our maltese, miles, wouldn't leave my lap for a week straight. Poor thing. It does the nerves in.

  23. I'm sorry that happened, but d*&n girl, you can write!


**I love reading the comments you leave, as they make me feel like we're sitting in my kitchen, having a cup of tea, discussing life and wondering where all the time has gone ...beth