So, I guess it was just one of those nights. I mean, it’s not every night you set your house on fire on your way out the door. And almost don’t even notice.
It started with a toddler temper tantrum. And a frantic search for shoes because it was time to go and no one had any. And all the other typical little kid things that put me in a rushed frame of mind as I’m trying to leave the house.
And then I did it. See, we keep our keys and wallets in a little basket on top of the desk along with whatever other odds and ends get dropped in it now and again. It’s a good place to go for loose change. And it’s a good place to drop things I’ve taken from the baby that he shouldn’t have. So as we were on our way out the door, I grabbed the basket, took out my wallet and put the basket back on the desk.
It’s these little things you do every day that you just don’t think about. Little risks you take without a second thought. Little things that could lead to you stepping right out the door as your desk becomes engulfed in flames.
So anyway, then I turn to open the door and I smell smoke. I think, “Well, duh. We heat with wood.” But it just wasn’t quite right. It didn’t smell like smoldering wood smoke. It smelled like a freshly lit match and that first burst of warmth smell you get when you set a bunch of papers on fire on top of the wood in the stove.
This is the moment where the rush and the distraction could have led to me going right out the door.
But instead, I hesitated.
And I turned around, thinking it was all very odd. And suddenly became aware that there were flames shooting out of the basket I had just taken my wallet out of!
Fortunately, it was contained to a couple of papers sitting in the basket and all I had to do was pick them up, blow them out and toss them in the stove for good measure. And then stand there staring in what seemed like a perfectly harmless basket just moments before. Because normal baskets don’t just burst into flames when you take wallets out of them.
Then I saw it. A wee little burnt match wedged in the basket. Somehow, it had fallen out of a box of matches and taking the basket down and putting it back up on the desk was just enough to get it to strike. And set my papers on fire.
And had I just pulled the door closed behind me instead of turning around, it could have grown to take the basket, the papers around it, the desk and the whole house.
All because I grabbed my wallet as I rushed my children out the door.