Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Repairing Birthday Damage

It seems to be a cliche that husbands are all thumbs around their wives when it comes time for the baby to be born, but this is the Third Millenium and I consider myself an involved, educated, supportive father. Certainly I would be able to support my wife without mishap?

Instead, I seem to have set fire to our home while my wife was in labor. Here is our son assisting in repairing the damage I did to our deck on the day he was born, three years ago:

 That is why there are separate words for "Theory" and "Practice".

Our son was born at home in Spring of 2013. We planned it, practiced it, and did it, with the excellent help and support of a Doula and a Midwife. We walked through everything repeatedly and practiced so when the day came it would run as smoothly as possible.

So much for plans.

The day before the birth, we decided to clean out the birthing tub and change the water. A great idea, but ill timed. By dinnertime my wife told me to cancel an international meeting the next day and activate the plan.

Now, the problem was simple - we had cold water in the birthing tub and that would not work. So, the problem was to heat the water quickly. How hard can this be? I dragged out a cauldron we bought for boiling straw (mushroom cultivation, another topic), filled it with water, put it on our deck with a heat shield and misting hose keeping the deck wet around and under the burner, and turned on the giant propane burner underneath it.

Everything looked good, and the Doula thought it looked good and sent me back to my wife's side.

Some person at the house, never identified, thought the spraying water needed to be shut off, probably since it was making the area around the birthing tub cold and wet.

About half an hour after I went back to my wife's side, the Doula enters the room with a peaceful look on her face, puts her hand on my shoulder, and makes the most amazing bug-eyed face at me and just me. I get the idea something is amiss. She trades places with me and I head down the hallway to see what is going on.

Straight down the hallway, through the doors and out on the deck, is a giant fireball.

I grab the hose, end now melted off, turn on pressure and start spraying. We are in a very remote location, so doing what can be done right now seems prudent - and the deck is made of very fire resistant wood (courtesy of a lot of zinc napthenate treatments over the years).

I get the wood fire out and manage to cool off the propane tank, the hose to the giant burner melted through and it is the last big flaming thing to deal with. I manage to shut off the gas and all the flame is out. I drench everything, remove the wrecked burner, put the hot water in the tub, and grab a sheet of plywood to cover over the burned area on the deck. Perhaps not all better, but the tub is serviceable and the deck is sound with the plywood sheet in place....

Our son was born later that evening, at home, without additional excitement (other than the fire, which my wife didn't find out about until the next day or so...).

Three years later, one of my neighbors had a suitable tree fall on their lands, and were kind enough to give me the logs. Last weekend we milled new deck boards (we have a sawmill) and the much delayed repair job is finally done.

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