My husband, daughter and I had a good chuckle reminiscing about those times when I was…well…a little less pulled together than I would have liked. In fact my daughter offered up her memory of another time when I nearly burned the house down. Different house…a decade or so after my first fiasco with the stove in my Long Island home.
Seems I had begun prepping for dinner. I’d lit the burner under a frying pan in which I’d poured some oil. My daughter, in elementary school at the time, called from the nearby dining room. She had a question about her homework. Attentive mother that I was, I went to see how I could help.
Of course you know how the rest of the story goes…
Minutes later, I returned to find a fire had started in the frying pan. Its flames were reaching upwards toward the 9 foot ceiling. What was it they taught me in Girl Scouts? Whatever it was, I couldn’t get my befuddled brain to think straight. My eyeballs, however, were working overtime…bulging out of their sockets. And my mouth, according to my daughter, could only say one thing…”Oh shoot! Oh shoot! Oh shoot!” She remembers that because when I recounted this story to Carol, a close friend, she was amazed that I only said “Oh shoot!” and not something more colorful. But as I told my daughter, I held myself in check when she was young. Now that she’s 27…well…let’s just say I’m a lot more liberal-mouthed. My vocabulary has increased by leaps and bounds.
Not knowing what else to do, I did what I wasn’t suppose to…I took the frying pan to the sink. I don’t think I turned on the water, although I can’t be sure. The one thing my daughter and I both remember is that the curtains above the sink caught fire. Again, I don’t remember what I did about that. Except that whatever I did, the fire eventually petered out.
What didn’t subside, however, was the confounded smoke alarm. It blared and blared and blared. The ringing drove me nuts! No matter what I did to the thing it wouldn’t shut off. Between trying to stop its incessant noise and running around throwing open windows to let out the smoke which was rapidly accumulating throughout the house, I was a crazed woman.
At my wits ends, and worried that passersby would wonder at the commotion, I ripped the smoke alarm off the ceiling and flung it out the front screen door onto the lawn.
I have no idea what my poor child was doing while I ran around like a chicken with its head cut off. All I can say is thank goodness she has a funny bone like her dad, and can laugh at my antics. I think it’s safe to say she doesn’t intend to trade me in for another, saner mom anytime soon.
I guess you’re wondering if I called my husband at his office in NYC? No. I didn’t. Things were happening too fast and I was 10 years older, though not necessarily wiser. Perhaps the fact that I had someone else to think of, my daughter, made me depend upon my own resources, limited as they were. And after all, we were then living in Connecticut. Then again, being in another state, or country for that matter, hasn’t precluded my calling my husband for help. But those are other stories.
When my husband arrived home later that evening, he was surprised to find the smoke alarm laying on the grass…in pieces. My daughter was only too eager to relate the sordid details of the day to her dad, whose eyes grew as large as saucers as he listened. After a full accounting of the ugly event, my husband knew better than to chide me about my foolishness. The gleam in my eye warned him not to go there. Instead, he gave me a hug, and from the twinkling glint in his eyes I knew…