Now that it's November, most of the trees here have shed their leaves. Green household that we are, we've started raking them to put in our compost bin. Our neighbors shared our non-choice of being able to put them out for collection. (On base, yard waste is collected for composting at the base greenhouse. Recyclables are also collected, something else that doesn't happen off base.) However, they did choose to burn them, along with a fair amount of garbage.
I'm not used to _anything_ burning, since Colorado has an open fire ban most (if not all) of the year. When I was a little burrito and we lived in Massachusetts, Mom applied yearly for a burn barrel permit and burned miscellaneous stuff that wouldn't compost in a 55-gallon drum once or twice during the winter. This didn't bother me much because the burn barrel was over 100 feet from the house (we had five acres; the burn barrel area was separated from the house by the backyard, garden, an in-ground pool surrounded by an 8' fence, and a half-acre of brush/small trees around a drainage ditch that came out on our property) and I stayed inside. Needless to say, my past experience with responsible burning left me unprepared for our neighbor's "redneck barbecue".
I woke up on Saturday and nearly fell out of bed with shock -- the last time a room I slept in smelled like a campfire, the Hayman Fire had burned up to Deckers. Nothing on the news indicated a fire (it's awful humid anyway), so I looked outside. On the far side of our next-door neighbors', another set of neighbors was burning _something_. It didn't smell like burning leaves, so I asked Himself what it was and he responded "redneck barbecue".
My sinuses let me know sticking my head outside was a bad idea, so I took my meds (Tavist and phenergan), upped my fluid intake and went back to regular weekend puttering. When the heat came on it sucked the smoke into the house, so I turned the heat off. When Jake came over, he suggested turning on the ceiling fan in the living room to help, so we did. We went out for dinner and my head cleared up, but shortly after returning home my head started hurting again and I started coughing. I took that on by taking more Tavist and drinking even more fluids. Finally passed out a bit after midnight and figured it'd be better in the morning.
Woke up Sunday feeling even worse, so we went out again. Wandered Jose-style around Wal-Mart for the better part of an hour, picking out a toddler bed for Laurel, an iron-on appplique for Laurel's new winter jacket (believe me, I dragged that out) and some frozen juice for the house. After that Himself acquiesced to leaving Laurel and I at Lowe's while he dropped off the Wal-Mart purchases at home and picked up Jake. After nearly an hour of wandering the plant section with Laurel, I couldn't put off going home any longer so we went.
By this point the smoke plume had settled so squarely over our house and backyard that visibility was only slightly better than fog and I couldn't breathe outside. Period. I let Himself get Laurel inside and dosed up again although it was less than 4 hours since my last dose.
Inside, I retreated into the bedroom (the farthest from garbage-burning neighbor's house) and the heat came on, sucking yet more smoke into the house. My chest started hurting like when I had bronchitis (funny, my parents never smoked and we didn't have a woodstove, but I had severe asthma as a child and got a nasty case of bronchitis in April 1999) and I was getting relatively upset, so Himself suggested I call the police and complain. I remembered that solcita had once posted the GPD's non-emergency number in a comment, but couldn't find it in my half-fogged head.
Long story short: we found out that we live less than a mile outside the city line so garbage burning is indeed legal, the very nice paramedics the police sent out (against my wishes; I could have managed to get to Wayne Memorial on my own) said the smoke was indeed thick and since my sat was 92 so they could only give me oxygen if I agreed to transport, and I hate when my neighbors can't just put their garbage out like normal people. They emobdy everything negative about rednecks.
Should you be able to send reinforcements, I would like more Tavist, help convincing my doctor I need more phenergan (last time I had to be IV'd three times to convince them), something to keep further smoke out of my house, and an icepick to vent my sinuses with.
Putting Ponaris up my nose makes everything taste like Pine-Sol smells.