Tag Archives: 911

when your window of opportunity suddenly slams shut



 i read the following text, sent to me at work by one of my loved ones: ‘it was the perfect storm, everything that could have happened has happened at once.’ through a series of quick back and forth, i found out what went on and was very relieved to see that somehow everything had turned out okay in the end. here is her story –

as a wife and mother of two young children, having time for yourself is a rare occasion, and if there is a chance moment where it looks like this might happen, it is important to seize every second of it. her day had begun like many others – husband at work, toddler at pre-school, dog taking a nap, and baby, not feeling well, (and having been up all night), had finally fallen asleep just wearing her diaper. it seemed that the kids had taken out every toy and item not nailed down the night before, but she had other things to do rather than clean it all up. she was on a mission. this was mama’s moment at last. she quickly undressed and was ready to step into the shower when she heard the boom. 

she quickly ran out naked and saw the backyard filled with white smoke. grabbing the first clothes she saw, she dressed herself and the baby, who was now crying again, found the leash and collar for the dog, (a gentle giant), who was now alerting to danger and barking up a storm, grabbed the lovebirds, the fish, the cat, the frog, and her cell phone. ran outside, called 911, called her husband. 

told him it was coming from the area of the generator outside. they had had a power surge the day before and he told her to hit the ‘kill switch’ to shut it off. somehow, in calling 911, the first time, it began automatically redialing 911 with every new phone call or text. she heard many sirens coming, but going on by. they live in the country, down a long dirt driveway, and the trucks seemed not to be able to find the house. she put the baby down on the grass, near the bunny hutch, and the rest of the menagerie, and went to hit the switch. even then, it turned off for just a moment and started up again, with even more smoke pouring out. 

she ran back and picked up the baby, took the dog by the leash, and ran the 1/4 mile down the driveway to lead the firemen in. she met them at the road, and ran back to the house. her driveway is surrounded by trees on both sides and after a minute she realized the big truck stopped following her. as she looked back she saw it stuck in her yard as it had headed off the driveway. the grass was somewhat soft due to recent rain and the truck was too heavy for it. the firemen bail out of the truck and along with the firefighters from 2 neighboring areas, and 7 sheriffs, now on the scene, they all run to the house, disconnect the generator and gas line, work their magic, and then survey the perimeter.

as she ran into one fireman coming around the corner of the house, he said ‘hey, aren’t you __’s mom, (her daughter at pre-school), ‘i’m ___’s dad?!’ (his son is in her class at preschool). ‘how ya doin’?’ ‘good to see you, i’m going to have to do a walk-through now, to make sure everything is safe.’ she welcomes the security and safety of this gesture but remembers how the house looks and what she is wearing/not wearing. not much she could do about it at that point, and really the least of the issues. 

after his walkthrough he emerged to say, ‘hey, i know a lot more about you now, it’s almost like we’re related.’ she smiled and he tells her the truck may be there for a while, (3 hours), while they wait to be towed out, as they tried emptying their water into her pond and still are stuck in place. 

one of the sheriffs tells her that the driveway is in violation of the township ordinance, and needs to be upgraded to be safe for emergency personnel. after their afternoon spent together, many thanks given all around, and a visit from a tow truck, all emergency responders, (looking like a crew from a calendar), head back to their stations. her husband came home and redid the driveway, adding stone and filling it in, and made iit safe for emergency personnel. she took her shower. 


When things go right it’s hard to figure out why, but when things go wrong it’s really easy.  –  Steven Soderbergh