Thursday, February 14, 2008

Holy Flaming Grass, Batman!

Alrighty, I've been MIA and I apologize for that. I've got a horrible sinus infection and my antibiotics just don't seem to be working fast enough. My head feels like it's going to explode...but it's getting better by the day. I think.

This past Saturday we had a little get together at our house to watch a Nascar race. I know, very redneck of me. But hey -- I live in Texas. What'd you expect? So I cooked up some awesome hot wings, the hottest jalapeno poppers you've ever had and some really great stuffed mushrooms.

I was standing in the living room a few hours before the party was to start and happened to glance out into our back yard. I saw a strange shadow pattern happening on our back fence, so I went to our back window to check it out. I saw some smoke coming from our neighbor's back yard. Oh, wow -- I thought they were barbecuing. About that time I see some fire creep under our fence and spread to our back yard. I could not believe my eyes! I yelled at Andi that the back yard was on fire.

He rushed out to get the water hose, but it of course was in the garage since it's winter and no body waters their lawn in winter. As he rushed to try to get the water hose he yelled at me to call 911. I got our phone and dialed those three numbers -- 9-1-1. My call was not met with a dispatcher asking for me to state my emergency...rather it was met with a recording saying "This service is not available in your area..." Or something or other. What?!? NOT AVAILABLE!? I live in one of the biggest metroplexes in the country. It most certainly is available. But we've had that problem before, we've just never reported it to the phone company. We've always forgotten I guess. So then I started searching for my cell phone...which was MIA. It was in my purse/diaper bag which I couldn't find. I later found out that Andi had put it in Adrien's bedroom -- for some strange reason. So then I was off to find Andi's phone. Okay, so Andi's phone is brand new. He has one of those new fangled iPhone thingies. You know, with all the bells and whistles. Needless to say, by the time I figured out how to work the damn iThing and got a dispather on the line, Andi had the fire out.

Somewhere in the midst of all the rushing around to find a phone that would connect me with an emergency official, I had started to rush over to the neighbor's house to inform them of their flaming back yard. I never made it all the way to their door. As I made my way over to their house, I saw through the spaces in their fence that they were in their back yard apparently trying to out the fire...and nowhere in there did they send someone to warn us of the danger. Thanks. A lot. What if we hadn't been home, or what if I hadn't glanced at the back yard when I did? Our grass is so dry from being dead due to the winter, that it took all of about two minutes (probably less) for this to happen:

Part of our fence is burned, although you can't really make it out in the picture. Andi took some pictures of our neighbor's yard through a few holes in our fence. Their yard is entire burned -- right up to their house.

After Andi the insta-fireman put out the inferno, he climbed up on the fence to see what was transpiring in the neighbor's yard. He tried to pry some info out of them...which wasn't very successful. Apparently one of the people next door was trying to put some sort of fire from their grill (?) out by throwing whatever was on fire into their grass. Genius thing to do. Their water hose wouldn't work -- apparently -- so the fire spread quite quickly because they were trying to douse the flames via a bucket of water filled from inside the house. But oh my goodness. Our house could have caught on fire...the whole neighborhood could have! I mean, on the other side of our neighbor's house is an empty lot full of tons of dead grass and weeds. Behind our house is a HUMONGOUS empty lot (a few acres wide) full of nothing but dead grass and weeds. With the wind being what it has been lately and the dryness, it's amazing to me that it wasn't any worse than what it was.

So about 911. I've gotten that recording in the past. Once when we first moved in, when we were reporting a burglary in progress next door (at our non pyro neighbor's house) and once not too long ago when Adrien's leg was caught in his crib. For whatever stupid reason, I'd never called the phone company to report it. So needless to say, I called them promptly after this little incident. It took me forever to find an actual phone number call on ATT's website. Nearly all of their "contact" pages give you an e-form to fill out. I didn't want a stinkin' e-form! I wanted a human to talk to. When I finally did get a hold of someone, they informed me that 911 service was out of their control, but she'd put me in touch with repair. Repair told me they didn't understand why that would be happening, but she'd have a programmer contact me. This was the extent of that contact: 10:24 pm Saturday night our phone rings. Caller ID says "ATT" and gives a local number. I answer the phone (albeit slightly peeved that it was so late) only to hear "Sorry, I've got the wrong number. [Click]" The next morning when I was on my way out the door to church (literally - I was getting into my car when I heard our phone ring). Someone from ATT tech support was calling to get some info about our unfortunate situation. This is about how the convo went:

Hi, ma'am this is so-and-so from ATT technical support.


Our technician says he contacted you yesterday...

Um, I got a call at 10:30 last night from "ATT," but when I answered the guy said he had the wrong number.

Okay. Well, we're trying to see if your problem has been fixed.

How long is this call going to take? I'm on my way to church.

As long as it takes. Could you please try to dial 911 to see if it works?

No. I am not going to dial 911 -- I have no emergency. Don't you have some way of knowing whether it's fixed or not?

Thank you, ma'am. We'll just try to resolve this on our end. [Said rather snippily]

Oh my goodness. Did this lady NOT know that calling 911 without an emergency is a HUGE legal offense? Ya, just let me dial 911 for no good reason. What am I supposed to say to to the dispatcher? emergency. Just wanted to make sure this was working! Right. Then I got an automated call yesterday saying that my technical "issue" had been "resolved."

I guess we'll have to wait until our next life threatening emergency to find out.


Mimi aka pz5wjj said...


I'd be livid. First off, what if this had been.. well, I hate to say a "bigger" emergency, but more immediately life threatening?

And I hope you called your insurance about the fence... some people!

Glad no one was hurt. Hope you get 911 fixed! And hope you feel better!

Happy Valentine's Day!