Thursday, January 5, 2012

Fire in the Hole! (Or New Year's Resolutions)

This is not my oven.  I did not, in the middle of a slight emergency, take the time to find my camera and take a picture.  This is a picture from the internet I'm using for illustrative purposes because, according to blogging experts, blog posts should come with at least one picture. 

One seemingly calm evening in early fall, I baked something, which happens every full moon during leap years. I bake in the oven that came with the house and hasn’t been cleaned since we moved into said house. There are bits of charcoal that have gathered on the bottom of the oven which I think lend the foods a nice, smoky flavor, appreciated when baking pizzas but not so much when baking, say, banana bread.

I was baking macaroni and cheese when the fire alarm went off. I opened the oven to find that my charcoal collection had caught on fire, which was an inevitable development, I suppose, but I panicked nonetheless. Here is Caleb’s account of what happened:

“Yeah, my mom screamed really loud and then threw water on it and the next day she went out and bought a fire extinguisher.”

This account was relayed to my babysitter, who had to contend with her own charcoal fire when making frozen pizzas for the kids last week.

“Why didn’t she just clean the oven?” the babysitter asked.

Why didn’t she, indeed. (Fires in the kitchen are actually a somewhat common occurrence in the Jennings’ household.)

This event is indicative of the level of chaos my kids have come to expect in our household.

All this to say that my new year’s resolution is to get my sh@# together. Because setting your house on fire is not being a good parent.

I’m on a new cocktail of meds that will supposedly help to keep me out of the mental ward (ha ha!), but they make me dizzy and forgetful. So, the next month will be about playing around with dosages, etc. Sometimes the cure is worse than the malady, but I guess I’d rather be forgetful than, you know, an inert weirdo.

(Which sounds better?)
Babysitter: So why didn’t your mom just clean the oven?

Caleb: Because she’s an inert weirdo, of course.


Babysitter:  So why didn't your mom just clean the oven?

Caleb:  She just forgot.  No biggie.  Everyone's okay.

(I thought so.)

New year’s resolutions:

• Don’t obsess over little things

• Hug my kids every day

• Respond with kindness, not impatience and anger

• Let go of those things I have no control over

• Take hold of the things I do have control over

• Be the more loving one

The More Loving One by WH Auden

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well

That, for all they care, I can go to hell,

But on earth indifference is the least

We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn

With a passion for us we could not return?

If equal affection cannot be,

Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I am

Of stars that do not give a damn,

I cannot, now I see them, say

I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,

I should learn to look at an empty sky

And feel its total dark sublime,

Though this might take me a little time.


My name is Heather. said...

i LOVE that you said the fire alarm went off, when indeed it's the smoke detector. unless of course, your house came equip with a fire alarm and that would be quite the important home you got there! i set the oven on fire once in an apartment i lived in. i quickly shut the door and screamed....remembering my boyfriend at the time (now husband) was a fireman and might just leave me because i didn't know what to do...i quickly threw baking soda on it....what a mess. i didn't learn from it though. i have yet to clean an oven in my adult life time.

hokgardner said...

Excellent resolutions.

And once, when babysitting, I set a bag of popcorn on fire in the microwave. All the smoke detectors went off and the kids couldn't wait to tell their parents.

Elizabeth said...

I too had an oven like yours...and every time I cooked in it, it smelled like Ham (that had baked on to the bottom).

I'm glad you are sorting out the meds but it sucks that it isn't an exact science and you have to go through the drowsy and forgetful to get to the calm and happy.

Your NY Resolutions are perfect and ones we should all be aspiring too.

Oh to always be the more loving one.


Holly said...

Ha! I didn't even notice I wrote fire alarms instead of smoke detectors. I don't know if that means something...

I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one with, um, kitchen incidences.

Kim said...

I set the smoke detector off while cooking at least twice a month in my house. The kids all yell "Stay low and go! Stay low and go!" and head for the door. I fan the detector with a thick magazine while trying to convince them that the kitchen full of smoke is not a reason to leave the house.

BTW - I have taken the time to take a picture of my smouldering oven. Bad Mommy. Bad Mommy....