No, it was not in some massive demonstration for freedom and peace. It was merely a demonstration of sleep-deprivation.
I am making tea in my terry cloth yellow bathrobe that matches Scott’s terry cloth yellow bathrobe. The tea is probably to celebrate showering during E’s nap since he was only ten months old and still waking up 3-4 times a night.
I look down at my arm. I’m on fire. The little fibers hanging off the robe caught our gas stove light. And the fire is on a mad dash up my arm. The crystal clear thought I have? HOLY CRAP! I’M ON FIRE.
I throw off my bathrobe and begin nude-stomping. The fire goes out. My arm is okay. The baby is still asleep. The robe is ruined. I begin crying. And hyperventilating. Mostly because I was on fire. But maybe a little because I still miss that robe.
Fast forward to yesterday afternoon. I start dinner during N’s nap and while E is at camp. I throw the oil in the stainless pan and begin responding to an email. Or two. Or three. And I turn around to see a THREE FOOT FLAME shooting out of my pot.
I think OMG OMG OMG. Which isn’t helpful. I can’t remember where the fire extinguisher is. Then I realize that I don’t know how to USE a fire extinguisher. By the time I Google it my house will burn down.
My kitchen is filling with smoke. I think to turn on the exhaust fan until I realize that it will suck the flames into my stove’s venting system. And possibly explode.
Now I’m in full-on panic. I know there’s one thing you are not supposed to do. Except I can’t remember what it is for an oil fire. So I decide to throw water on it. Which turns out to be THE ONE THING you are not supposed to do. Instead, I create a fire ball that flies up into the air and mushrooms.
I realize that this is when I call 9-1-1 and collect my daughter. Who is clearly not asleep and instead is yelling UH-OH from her crib. Uh-oh is right, baby.
But just as suddenly, the fireball uses the last of the oil and POOF the fire is gone. I inch closer. Turn off the stove. And begin coughing.
I realize that although the fire is out, the kitchen has filled with thick smoke. I throw open a door. But I realize that this isn’t burnt-the-dinner smoke. This is smoke-inhalation-danger smoke. (firefighter jargon. not really.). As I make my ex-smoker-coughing way upstairs, I see smoke filling the guest room.
I run to my daughter’s nursery. She’s all HI MAMA and SLEEP IS FOR SUCKERS. I grab her and she’s like HEY! WHERE’S THE FIRE. Um, downstairs? I call for my dog. And we run into the 102 degree backyard because I am too embarrassed to go into the front yard after spying my neighbor yacking away to another neighbor.
Then my doorbell rings. And I’m pretty sure it’s the fire department coming with CPS to remove my children and my computer. So I yell just a minute. But I’m scared to go back inside because my lungs are burning and now my dog is in the house because SOMEONESATTHEDOORSOMEONESATTHEDOOR. And my calling RATCHET RATCHET is of little consequence when SOMEONESATTHEDOOR is racing through his head.
But I don’t want my dog to die of smoke inhalation so I go and get him and bring him into the backyard again. Then I go out the gate and around the house to the front yard so I can beg the firefighters to let me climb the ladder and jump onto the safety mat JUST ONCE.
But instead I meet a non-firefighter stranger who wanted to take our porch swing that we are keeping on the side of the street in the hopes that the trash collectors will take it away even though they haven’t for the last two weeks.
I’m thinking: I SET MY KITCHEN ON FIRE.
And he’s saying: Can I have your broken bench?
Me: Um, okay.
I guess the billowing smoke plumes are not as noticeable when you have a broken porch swing on the mind.
Now it’s still 102 degrees and after ten minutes, that seems worse than sucking smoke.
So my daughter, my dog and I go back inside and sit in the one room with a ceiling fan while I opened up all the doors and windows. (Except the front door. Let’s not forget my pride. And my neighbors.)
Oh yeah, and I cried.
And I’m stilling breathing like a chain smoker.
And my house smells like fire.
And when I pick up my son from camp, he says: Mama, I missed you.
And I give him a hug and say: I missed you, too. But I also lit the house on fire so it was probably good that you were at camp.
And when I came home last night, Scott had left a candle burning in the kitchen. He never takes me seriously anymore.