Here's the thing - only two people live in this house, and neither of us smoke. So, when at 2 ish this morning I smelled smoke, I got curious.
So I sniffed DH quite thoroughly - it wasn't him. He did smell kinda funky, but not smoky funky. Okay, out of bed, sniffing my way around the room (picture a rat in a maze, sniffing its way to the food). Nope, not any candles lit. Nope, none of the plugged in stuff giving off electrical fire smells. But hey, the smell is really strong at the open window - so, the source of the smoke must be outside. Great! I can go back to sleep and not worry. Back into bed. Tossing, turning. Almost asleep and then - man, the smoke is getting heavier. Substantially.
Back out of bed. Robe on, search the house (back to rat-like sniffing my way in the dark). Nothing. Checked out all windows - no obvious fires, no evidence of backyard barbeque type fires either. Humm. Okay, clothes on (DH still sleeping soundly, I'm on my own here), hat on (bed head really scary), now sniffing around outside in the dark. Startled a deer that was standing in the middle of the street out front (couldn't decide which way to go??). Around back. Ooooh, smoke is smelling stronger here. On the patio RIGHT OUTSIDE MY STUDIO WINDOW it is really really really strong! Ohmygawd - there is a fire right outside my studio!
Three really large (and heavy) buckets of water later, it is out. Apparently, the friend we had over for dinner last night, a smoker, decided to butt his after dinner cigarette in a planter box full of peat moss. Yup. Not terribly bright. It must have smoldered all evening, then finally got into burn mode in the deep of night. The planter box is toast (burned through one side), there is soggy peat moss all over the gravelled section of the garden, and I have soaked down the wooden patio boards and the side of the house. The smoke is still lingering under the balcony, so the smell is really strong, but all embers appear to have been extinguished.
What really scares me is this - I am a very poor sleeper, so sometimes take a sleeping pill to help me stay asleep. What might have happened if I had done that tonight? I won't dwell on it, but let's just say we will be adding extra smoke detectors this week. And DH would have slept through the entire thing, except for me yelling about not being able to find the big bucket, and where the #@%* do we keep the hose. In fact he is already snoring again. Sigh. So now I will sit and blog, and every half hour go out and do the sniff and poke test to make sure that we, and my studio, are safe.
And the guest we had over tonight that inadvertently started the fire? Let's just say he will be provided with an ashtray, but asked to go out to his vehicle to smoke from now on. We will no longer be a "go ahead, you can smoke on the patio" kind of household. Not so long as my fabric stash might be in jeopardy. Nope. Never again.