Two disasters: My dad almost burned down my house… and others who don’t have a house.

December 24 2015

Here’s a laughable love story. It starts with a cause.We eloped in Nepal last January while on a school building trip with a friend’s charity. They build schools in rural villages and have for 10 years. In April, the earthquake destroyed a place that hardly had anything to begin with. In June, we had Seattle wedding. Instead of a registry we encouraged donations to our friend’s charity. Google “crowdrise bkrainier” for more info.

The Story:
The day my father met my (future) wife was literally a disaster. He arrived around lunchtime for a father/son weekend. My sister and mother hadn’t met her yet. I was a week away from telling friends “she’s the one” (to which they replied “yeah we know”). First meeting, everyone got along great. After lunch, she left for friend’s wedding while Dad and I hung out. Later, he dropped me off to join the wedding and planned a “bachelor night” at my place. I jokingly muttered, “Don’t burn the house down,” as I exited the car!

We get home post-wedding, Dad’s passed out in the guest room (clothes on) having killed a bottle of wine by himself. We pass out (clothes off) in my room. Two hours later, I wake to 11ft high flames coming in the patio window and the smoke detector! Mind you, we’re on the 3rd floor! Yelling, running, primal things - you’re not supposed to be in the middle of fires. I put most of it out with my feet (OUCH!) and a towel, but had to back away for air. Still naked. She runs out. Imagine the sight of a naked 6’4” man jumping up and down amongst flames. Yelling. Hot. Dad trundles upstairs. Imagine a 5’6 not-small-chested woman jumping around and bending over to put out flames in front of her would-be-father-in-law. Nice to meet you. The former fireman grabs a trash can, fills it with water, and fire is out. We find clothes, the fire department arrives, my “non-smoker” Dad admits he smoked, but flushed the butt. (Logic says he put it out in the too-dry planter, which smoldered for hours until it caught.) He refused to consider that.... Spontaneous combustion? Thousands in damage, blisters for weeks, but Dad now likes my girl.

We spend the entire next day together with no mention of the fire! While leaving for dinner, my beautiful bride decided to pull her jacket out of her disorganized bag. She says it was laundry day and she was “down to her last pair--the pair you wear on special occasions”. She exits the room and looks back to see my dad scuffing the floor like a bull… with her red lace thong attached to his white Reebok shoe--must have fallen out while she pulled out her jacket! Now my dad really likes my girl.

On leaving, he privately says to her with a smirk, “Sorry about all that, and don’t worry, I didn’t see you in AAALLLLL your glory!” wobbling his hands in a showtune presenter fashion.

It’s our own little disaster story. We alluded to it in our wedding vows. Crack jokes at the holidays. Dad doesn’t mention it. Mom has no idea it happened. He still “doesn’t smoke”. We covered the repairs. Parents.

Lessons: Fire extinguishers. Smoke detectors. Water your plants. Listen to your mother and put on sunblock (I’m 36 and have carcinoma surgery next week). Love the people who stand by you in the fire. Acknowledge the elephant in the room.

Want to know more about Nepal? Email me. Cuba advice? Going in February.

Brad (and Katy) Roberts
[email protected]
Seattle, WA

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