Monday, April 12, 2010

TST - Ignition Sequence

Ahhh… good old True Story Tuesday – a chance to forget about your hectic or otherwise mundane day and reminisce about something hilarious, amazing, outrageous, miraculous, and (mostly) true that has happened to you!


We all have these family legends, and most of us have already written a post or two that qualifies - unless you’re like me, and you have a whole bevy of them.  Oh  how weird, I just used the word bevy on my blog.  That should be illegal or something.

Anyhoo… the rules are pretty easy:  just insert the button code (under the TST picture on the right sidebar) into your hilarious/amazing/outrageous/miraculous post and come back here to link up.  Please make sure the links go to your actual post, not just your blog home page (click on your post title, then copy the entire WWW address for it).

Who doesn’t grin at some comment love? :)


This week brought to you by Rachel as an unfortunately true tale:



This starts back in that awkward ugly duckling stage… you know, between bad haircuts, teeth that need braces, and about 15 combinations of those pastel colored Swatch watches.  (Oh come on now, you know you had one!)

These for me, were otherwise known as “The Camp Years”.

I spent a couple years at a camp especially for deaf kids.  There are some wild stories about the trouble a bunch of deaf kids can get into, but here is just one tale.


(Oh yeah… feel free to tell me what a disaster that picture is:  the girl on the left is blowing a bubble, the girl in the back is pulling hair, and the girl on the right is doing bunny ears behind me.  I for one, can’t seem to find a shirt long enough, but at least it proves that at least my shoulders can be something other than ghostly pale).

This particular year included a week camping in the mountains.

You ever think about how hard it might be to herd a group of 40 kids?  How about 40 DEAF kids?  As it was, sticking together was ultimately more dangerous for me.

First off, it was COLD.  And WET.  A bad combination for this chick from sunny California.


Cuz I hate being dirty/sticky/smelly/tired/itchy and I sure do love me some nice porcelain for my mini bladder.

As an added bonus, they threw a 20 pound pack on a 75 pound chick.  Oy!

So I’ve got two layers of jeans on, 2 pairs of socks, a t-shirt, two sweatshirts, and plastic rain jacket.  Kind of like this poncho – only with sleeves.

rain poncho

There is one… count it one hearing person in the entire group.  The camp nurse - who is tucked away in some tent.

She apparently is oblivious to the fact that the whooping and hollering at the campsite is because the younger kids have discovered some red-hot fun.

They are throwing hearing-aid batteries into the fire and screaming as they explode.  Those things are like miniature bullets!  Then someone discovers the ultimate in flammable fun:

aerosol deodorant


Oh friends, what happened next was somehow a combination of fast-forward and slow-mo.

A third-grader was standing next to me – messing with a piece of plastic that he was holding close to the fire.

One of those brilliant kids – in one insanely idiotic moment, aimed that can of aerosol at the plastic.

A huge flash

A ball of fire

The loud WHOOSH that enveloped the plastic in a huge ignition.


The kid panicked… he threw the burning plastic.  All of us watched as it sailed into the sky, then began its descent.

Directly onto my arm.


The plastic sleeve seemed like it caught fire before contact.  It exploded into flames that were immediately past my head.


See this chick’s arm?  Taller than this:


I screamed and stumbled backwards as my entire right arm was engulfed in flame.

It was snapping right next to my face and I could feel the heat.

I don’t understand it, but somehow screaming and flailing your arms is an instinctive response.  It just is.

Somehow, mid-freakout, as the flames were quickly spreading to my chest and back – I finally tripped and fell.

Get this… I tripped over the big logs around the fire, which put me (unbelievably) into a backwards roll as I hit the ground.  (Stop, Drop, and Roll, right Brian?)


I have never been so grateful to be clumsy.


My hysterical screaming has alerted the nurse and she appears by my side.

She nearly drags me half-running to the river.  Smoke is billowing from my arm – where my plastic coat used to be.

There is nothing left of the plastic, save an awful acrid smell.

I am plunged into the frigid water, still screaming, as I claw at my hand.

Molten plastic has fallen onto it and is burning my skin as it spreads.

Again, the instinct was later surprising.  I ignored the pain and tore the plastic from my burned hand.  I quickly exchanged the pain of burning skin for the pain of open wounds in a frigid bath.

Not fun, folks.  Can I tell you it was not fun.

Julie… if we ever do a BOB (Battle Of the Blogs) about fire… I think I’d choose the other thing.


This remind you of a close call of your own?  Seeing someone unintentionally afire?  Creating a crazy scene like that?  Well link it up and we’ll be around for some comment love!

Thanks for playing!



Tara G. said...

Just curious why an adult would leave any group of children around a campfire unsupervised!!?!?

I was a camp counselor one summer and had a deaf camper and her sister in my cabin. Noisiest fighting I've ever heard was between those two!

Sylvia Plathypus said...

I was thinking the EXACT same thing as Tara, and would only add that leaving a group of children who live without hearing is even MORE idiotic!! Like they would hear anyone calling their name out if they got lost or something....just plain stupid. I'm so sorry to hear about that accident!! That must have been hellacious...
My hubby witnessed a similar event at a NYE party at his cousin's house. They were 20 sheets to the wind, and promptly forgot the burn ban that had been going on for almost a year. Set up a bonfire in the backyard, then decided that the wood wasn't catching fast enough for their fancy. One idiot grabbed a can of camp fuel and started pouring it into the fire...when the wind picked up. It caught that entire stream of fuel on fire, then blew it up on the arm of the moron holding the was 3rd degree madness. Then, all the drunken fools decide that it "isn't that bad!!" and grab Neosporin to slather all over the charred arm...and I'm sure you can guess the results of THAT brilliant move. He went into shock and had to be rushed to the ER, where he should have been from the beginning. Funnily enough, they took him to the hospital where hubs worked in security, and he has been trying to live that down ever since! (Even though it wasn't him who was burned....LOL) I hope your situation turned out better than the camp fuel douchebag!!

Kmama said...

Oh my goodness Rach! That is terrifying. I can't even imagine. My worse fear is burns. I don't know how people can work in burn units at hospitals. I can handle pretty much anything EXCEPT for that. I'm PARANOID when the kids get around the stove, etc. Ohhh, I have chills thinking about that.

Brandi said...

And, thank you, I'm NEVER sending my kids to camp! ;)

Aunt Crazy said...

I always knew you were smokin hot...just sayin

Foursons said...

That is downright terrifying! What degree of burns did you have? Was your mother called and what the heck was the punishment for that stupid boy?

We won't be doing a BOB with fire as an option. It's one of my biggest fears.

Stacyonthecouch said...

holy crap, I was not expecting that .. I was laughing at the battery part though. And what kind of camp was that to leave deaf kids alone with fire? Haha. My kid goes to camp every year and I've never heard of fire issues, mind you we're on fire bans most of the summer ... maybe she's never even seen a real live camp fire.

Stacy said...

How does all of this stuff happen to YOU, Rachel?? You poor thing! Well, at least you survived to tell the tale, and perhaps that nurse decided to actually watch the children she was set in charge of, hopefully, right??

I agree on the camping front, too. I camped so much growing up at rodeo grounds that it just doesn't appeal to me. Brian either. Sunday Anya asked when we could go camping. I told her, "We don't camp, we go to hotels where they have showers..." and she finished, "And swimming pools!!". Yes, she understands. ;)

{Kimber} said...

what tha heck?! why were ya'll alone?! scary!!!!!!

Jenny said...

Hmmm.... I think all the other comments said what I was going to say. So instead I'll say that the paper picture in the next post is adorable. So, so, so sweet.

Unknown said...

Oh heavens! This story gave me the willies just thinking about it - I would have panicked! I'm glad you were ok!

ps - working at camp for kids who can hears, I know it's hard enough to herd them - I can't imagine trying it if they couldn't hear us!

Michelle Pixie said...

That is so freaking scary! I will never ever be sending my kids to any camps thankyouverymuch!

Jennifer Haas said...

Ohh my goodness! How scary, but it seemed to turn out okay and makes a great story. This is why fire and kids don't mix!

Your right about deaf kids too, loud as ever. I took ASL in college and those deaf students, so loud!!!

Floortime Lite Mama said...

OMG that sounds soooo painful
Rach I am glad you are here to tell the story

HeatherOz said...

That is one busy angel you've got lookin' after you! Julie asked the same questions I was worrying about!

Jane Anne said...

This is one scary true story tuesday story! It kind of gives me one more reason to be afraid to let my kids go to camp. Oh my gosh. I'd have nightmares from that.

Margaret said...

That would be so scary. I am sure I would freeze like you did and forget to stop drop and roll.

He & Me + 3 said...

Yet another reason you don't play with fire. OMGosh that was so scary. I'll bet your mom was so upset when she was notified. Thank God you got put out quickly.

brian said...

Yes, Ms. Rachel, stop, drop, and roll. Of course, prior to that is "DON'T PLAY WITH FIRE"!!!!!

You deaf kids were little hellions!

Julie--You two MUST do a B.O.B. on fire :)

thevodguy said...

That is a scary story!!! That had to really hurt, too. You have had the craziest things happen to you!

Lexie Loo, Lily, Liam & Dylan Too said...

By the way, that comment above was from me. Gotta teach my husband how to log out of his account. ;) Or I have to learn to double check that it's really me posting a comment. Either one would work.

Jennifer Haas said...

I just noticed that I was not following your blog, so mow I am!

Kara @ His, Hers and Ours said...

Holy shiznit!! I've got the BIGGEST goose bumps ever!! So glad you were ok, and glad the nurse finally got her arse of the tent to help you! Ack!!

Dyann said...

Hold on. Did you say the NURSE grabbed your arm and RAN you to the river? I seem to have learned that running is the last thing you want to when on fire.

Good land.

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