Burnin' Down the House!

DH and I are having a bit of a quiet away-time. It was just about a year ago, I was almost burning down the house!

Reposted from October 2008

I wrote here, that I would be recording a podcast of Vespers in ‘about an hour.’

Well, Vespers will be late. They’re coming, just as soon as I write this and my hands stop shaking.

Here’s the deal: I’m fasting. No eating between meals, only two meals a day, yadda yadda, by the time supper comes around, yer girl is pretty hungry, a little lightheaded and goofy.

My husband is having a “guys night out” which I encouraged. Elder Son is distracted. So, I decided I would order out – a pasta dish for the young man, and a salad for me. Then I thought…wow…there’s this leftover stuff, all melty cheese and meat, that I like. I’ll heat that up in the over as a wee “appetizer” to my salad.

For some reason, My son’s pasta dish was delivered in a pizza box – I suppose to keep it warm. I put the pizza box on the stovetop, as usual, popped my little “appetizer” in the oven and turned it on. And walked away.

As I walked away, my Guardian Angel – who I know better than to ignore – said, “pssst – you’d better doublecheck that you turned the right knobs.”

My intellect – such as it is – said, “nup, nup, nup, I’m smart, don’t need to check, dudduh-duh-dudduh…gonna go read now, dudduh-duh-dudduhhhh….”

You see where this is going, right?

So, I sat down to read…well…garbage. I admit it. I sat down to read this imagined conversation between Salma Hayak, her breasts and Karl Lagerfeld and yes I giggled because I think the Fug girls are witty and because…you know…serious material is all well and good, but after reading it for a while, I do have to break out the brain candy.

The sad equation is this: for every 3 hours of news/opinion reading, ten minutes of brain candy. For every 20 minutes of Thomas Aquinas, two hours of the wildly entertaining, terrifically funny and wonderously frivolous, Georgette Heyer.

I never said I was anything but a savage, you know.

So, there I was, reading fluff, when the dog and the smoke detector both went off.

The pizza box! The pizza box I left on the stove. The electric stove. The electric stove with the black knobs that are so easy to mix up!

I turned the corner to the kitchen and saw the bright flames merrily lighting up the far wall – the white smoke everywhere – and I yelled out, “oh, no, not again!”

Yes, sadly…this was an “again.” Twenty-three years ago I set fire to the kitchen while sterilizing baby bottle nipples. Yes, I did breast feed, but you know…juice…water…your first child you want to do everything perfectly, so you sterilize everything in sight. And then you fall asleep because you’re so tired from sterilizing everything in sight. And then the water boils down and the nipples catch fire. And what black, black smoke comes out of those synthetic rubber nipples.

Well, they are petroleum-based products, after all.

Isn’t it funny how, with your first child you disinfect everything the child might touch, and with the second, you recall Auntie Lillie’s dictum that “you gotta eat a peck of dirt before you die.” Poor Buster. His brother got sterilized nipples. Buster’s pacifiers I’d pick up from the floor, kiss up to God, and shove back into his mouth. No wonder he’s always been so delicate!

So I yell, “oh, no, not again! Fire! Help! Got a fire, here!”

I don’t remember doing so, but I must have reached through the flames to shut off the stove, because the forearm feels a little scorched. Elder Son appeared out of nowhere yelling, “where do we keep the fire extinguisher?”

I didn’t know where the extinguisher was, but I’m sure it wouldn’t have mattered, as we have not had it charged in a good, long while. I began dousing flames with water from a pitcher and poor Elder Son raced to where the fire extinguisher might have been, maybe ten years ago, before I lost it. Seeing I had the flames under control, he began opening windows and doors, as the smoke was everywhere.

“Damn,” I said, picking saturated, burned corrugated pizza box off the stove, counter and floor. “I think the pasta might be ruined. It was a very nice rigatoni bolognese…” Then I saw that the knobs on the firey side of the stove were melted out of shape. “Ohh…yer dad’s not going to like that…”

Elder Son, fixing fans into windows, and mistaking my meaning, scolded, “You know…the food doesn’t really matter, just now.”

Sigh. So, here we are on a rather chilly October night, every window open, the just-packed-away fans buzzing along. My lovely, tempting appetizer, forgotten in all of this, ended up overheated and inedible, although the dog thought otherwise, and my house smells like a campfire, which has never been my favorite indoor smell. I managed to salvage most of the bolognese and my kids both learned long ago not to be too fussy if they wanted to survive, so Elder Son is fed.

Me? I’m really hungry because the salad is insufficient both in calories and in comfort-capabilities.

And I need comfort food. I need vanilla Carvel ice cream, with chocolate sprinkles. What I want is the “Go Blind From Chocolate” dessert from a local trattoria, but you know…I’m fasting. So, all I can do is offer up the hunger, offer up the yearning, offer up the needful interior whimpering that thrums “chocolate brownie with chocolate mousse.” Offer it up, for the good of my country.

That may not sound like much to some. But I bet many women out there understand that this sacrifice is almost Nathan Hale-ine. I regret that I have but one appetizer and one “Go Blind from Chocolate” to give up for my country!

It is a far, far better thing I do, than I have ever done.

But I want it.

And I don’t deserve the comfort-food, anyway, since I ignored my Guardian Angel.

Every time I do that, I end up regretting it. If you don’t like the idea of a Guardian Angel, then think of it as your “gut” – it’s there to be listened to. Except this wasn’t my gut. I distinctly heard, “you’d better doublecheck that…” and ignored it.

Gad, I’m such an idiot. But you already knew that!

Two chocolate brownies with chocolate mousse in between, and kahlua and chocolate fudge syrup…

Okay…I’m not going to get any comfort out of food tonight – comfort will have to come from prayer.

Podcast coming up, as soon as I make myself some Royal Rum Pecan Coffee – which is the nearest thing to dessert I’ll be seeing. In the podcast, I believe I will read a brief snippet from this book, because it is a wise and challenging snippet. And right now I need all the wise and challenging I can get.

I’ll bet Ann Althouse never had so much trouble getting a podcast done!

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