Saturday, June 23, 2012

Saturday encore ~ The weirdest thing that's ever happened at the 7MSN

Last year at this time, there was some seriously weird stuff going on at the 7MSN. The post below describes weird thing number one, and here are the links to the weird things that happened the day after that, then the day after that. Maybe is was planetary alignment, maybe it was three extremely bizarre coincidences. Whatever. I sure am glad life returned to normal. And I can't believe I just said that out loud.


It was Wednesday morning around 6:45. I had just taken a shower and dried my hair in preparation for a long, boring day of meetings in town. As I was walking out to the kitchen to make coffee, I thought I smelled smoke – and not the wood smoke that's been in the air from the Arizona wildfire. This was a different kind, not quite electrical smoke but something along those lines. Hmmm.

All of the pictures below were taken the next day, in my attempt to re-enact the scene.

I sniffed my way around the house and couldn't locate anything amiss. 
But every time I walked back into the bedroom, I smelled smoke.

I checked the hair dryer I had just used...nothing on fire there.

I headed for the open front window to see if the smell was coming from outside.

The chickens were busy eating their breakfast and didn't seem to be concerned about an impending barbecue.

Me: Daffodil, do you smell smoke?
Daffodil: Now that you mention it, yes, I think I do.

Me: Smooch? Smooch, are you in there? Stop staring out the window and tell me if you smell smoke.

Smooch: Did you say smoked? As in bacon? Bacon bacon bacon!
Me: Smooch, I'm serious here. What's that smell and where is it coming from?

I pressed my nose against the window screen and didn't smell smoke outside.

Then, as I was walking back the other direction, past the window seat, I saw it...

The window seat cushion was on fire! There was a little flame and a pillar of smoke, camouflaged by the filth on the window. 
I slammed my hand on top of it and quickly put it out.

 It was a tiny fire and I did not burn my hand, so don't be thinkin' I did something majorly heroic.

I could see immediately that a very bright beam of light was the cause of the combustion, so I closed the window shade as quickly as I could. Then I stood there wondering what in the heck was on the window that would cause a reflection hot enough to set the cushion on fire. I peeked behind the shade to examine the glass. Nothing but filth. I opened the shade. The beam of light came back. I closed the shade. Open. Close. Open. Close. You don't want to know how many times I did that trying to figure this out. Then I stopped looking at the window and glanced to my left.

Remember when you were little and you used a magnifying glass to cook bugs on the sidewalk? Or make wood-burned signs at Girl Scout camp? That is exactly what was going on here. The almost-summer-solstice sun, at the far north end of the eastern horizon, aligned with the magnifying side of the mirror, which was tilted at the precise angle to focus the beam of light and start a fire. Who woulda thunk it?

So then I took the seat cushion outside and unzipped the cover to make sure the stuffing wasn't burning, and it wasn't. Crisis over.

I don't think there's any deep meaning or moral to this story. It will just go down in memory, and on this blog, as the weirdest thing to have ever happened at the 7MSN ... so far.


  1. Lucky you were in the room at the time ..... it could have been a lot worse.

  2. Did I ever tell ya that a similar thing happened here? We were given a glass globe that was laser etched on the inside (a science I don't understand) with horses. It and it's nice decorative base were set in our front bay window. The morning sun would go thru that globe and, like a magnifying glass on ants, proceeded to burn the nice oak window sill. No major harm done, but it looks like someone set a stinky cigar down and forgot about it. Never underestimate the power of the sun.

  3. Holy smokes! Wow am I ever glad you smelled it. That could have been bad.

  4. Similar situation, location: Dallas. Refractor: Crystal bowl in a kitchen window. Combustible item: dish towel. Result: fully engulfed flaming dish towel. Moral of the story: no refractors or reflectors in or near sunny windows!

  5. It happened to me. Years ago on a Saturday I was up early and had just finished the Saturday house chores and taken my shower. I sat on the couch and turned on the TV to check the weather. On my coffee table was a mug with pens, pencils, scissors, magnifying glass, etc. and a little grass basket with a lid where I kept stamps, rubber bands and stuff. All of a sudden the basket started smoking! Yep, the sun was shining through the mag glass and the basket was about to go up in flames. If it had happened the day before, I would have been at work. Definitely planets in alignment. Lesson learned.

  6. Gosh! How ever it occurred that you were there for that ignition...thank your lucky stars, you were.
    May blessings aboud and keep abounding!!