Sunday, October 6, 2013

So I just about died yesterday . . .

Or at the least, I was almost seriously injured. Cereal.

The children had their usual gaggle of friends over and I was getting them out of the house to be loud outside. "The pool, perfect" I thought. They jumped in for about two seconds then jumped right back out--too cold! Not wanting their dripping loud bodies back in the house I decided to fire up the hot tub for the first time in 2013.

We've used the hot tub a dozen times but I always struggle to remember which direction all the pool knobs and levers are supposed to be turned to when the season starts again. Yesterday, I decided to turn the two knobs opposite direction. I pressed the ignite button and upon hearing the whoosh noise, I walked away satisfied.  I continued fiddling around with the pool equipment not completely confident that I had it positioned correctly. Water from the hot tub was running down the waterfall into the pool. "Shoot," I think to myself, "I don't want to heat the whole pool, maybe I'll turn this knob in this direction?" Water continues flowing down the waterfall into the pool. "Darn" I think, still something is wrong.

The tree above the pool heater has one low errant branch that all of sudden bothers me. Even though the heater is already lit I climb over the pool equipment and move the branch so that it's now on the other side of the concrete wall behind the pool equipment. The kids are splashing around in the hot tub enjoying the influx of heat coming through the water jets. I resumed adjusting the knobs so I can stop heating the ENTIRE pool. I move one more knob to the left. I lean about one foot away from the heater as it continues on. The flow through the stream slows. "Good," I think.

As a professional busybody I clean up the area RIGHT NEXT TO THE HEATER. About thirty seconds pass and I'm satisfied; moving my work away from the heater. When I'm about fifteen feet away and separated by a concrete wall, I hear it.


I hear a huge whoosh sound and I see a gigantic fireball. Terror surges through me as I can't quite yet understand what is happening. The fireball goes ten feet in all directions surrounding the heater. Then it's gone. Panicking, I look up at the kids, trying to put it all together. Then it happens again.

Now I understand. The pool heater is exploding. BOOM Whoosh I scream for Chad. I scream like a crazy woman -- like a woman who has to stop her pool heater from exploding without being burnt in the process. BOOM Whoosh, it continues. The stucco wall is shielding me from the danger of pieces being blown apart from the unit. BOOM whoosh I am screaming bloody murder for Chad to come help me. Where the bleep is he, I think. I can't leave and go get him to help. By now the children are completely freaked out. They are slowly edging down the edge of the pool to the exit of the pool area.

Owen is directing them, "Mom, what can I do to help?" 

"GO GET YOUR FATHER!!" I bellow.

BOOM whoosh. It is relentless and I know we have to get it shut off before it starts to break apart, catches the trees on fire and then the house. I'm still screaming "CHAD, help me!!! I need you CHADDDDDD!" I grab the long metal pole we use to skim the pool and to try to turn it off. The button is recessed so it has to be hit at an angle. BOOM whoosh. I am shaking so badly that I can't hit the button at the necessary angle. 

Chad comes striding out, "what is going on?! You need to calm down." He starts to walk around the wall to turn off the button with his hand. "NOOOOOO!!" I scream, "it's exploding and you'll be hit by the fireball!" Chad calmly walks back towards me and takes the pole from my hands and turns the heater off. I scream, "we have to get it off, the fireball is getting bigger and that tree's going to light on fire!!!"

"It's off honey." he calmly tells me. "WHAT??!!  No, you have to hit the button and turn it off, it's going to explode any second!!!" I scream.

"It's off." he says and I can see that it is, in fact, off. Hot tears burst out of me and I am shaking like a leaf.

The rest of the day I wax serious about the whole incident. It's got me thinking. This experience is an example of what it means to put upon yourself the whole armor of God. Several things fell into place to keep me and our home safe. They were:

  • promptings by the Holy Ghost--moving the tree branch;
  • keeping the commandments--the stucco wall (which was built per building code) as a shield from danger;
  • prayer--my screaming for help and the fact that I didn't get Chad by my shouting, it was Owen. I am reminded of this quote from President Hinkley, "Oftentimes, the Lord answers our prayers through other people. He often uses others to accomplish his will, or to answer our fervent prayers."
  • courage to chose the right--stay with it even though I was afraid.
  • faith--well I can't think of anything that went with faith but I can attest that it's definitely part of God's armor.
I'm fairly certain that none of the children who witnessed this experience will ever have a desire to play with fire. Either that or they'll become insane pyromaniacs who blow up buildings. Who's to say?

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