I have a pretty big fear of fire. I mean, my guess would be that most of us do, but I am so over the top about it that I am half convinced I was burned at the stake in a previous life. But then, on the other hand, is there anything more cozy and cheerful than a merrily crackling fire? It's quite the love/hate relationship that I have with it.
There also was the time I kinda, sorta started a chimney fire in my old house and the fire chief had to tell me to close the doors to the woodstove to shut the air down to it because I had those babies wide open to enjoy the pretty flames. Doh! He then proceeded to come to the house and squirt a fire extinguisher up the chimney for good measure and, while he was at it and much to my acute embarrassment, get a look at my room of horror that used to be the laundry/hoarders room. Good times. Good times.
Then there was last night. Sheila had just left from helping with Tess and Charlie was on the island working, so it was just me (and Tess upstairs in bed) and I decided I was rather hungry and thought a casein, nitrite, nitrate, gluten free all natural hot dog would really hit the spot. Because doesn't that just sound super appetizing?
Anyhoo, I got those little suckers frying and ran out to the garage to make sure it was all locked up so any would be ne'er do wells that might be lurking about could not enter my fortress of safety, when all of a sudden the most piercing, shrill sound filled the air.
Then I heard, between those terrifying ear shattering sirens, "THERE IS A FIRE! GET OUT NOW! THERE IS A FIRE! GET OUT NOW!"
Well holy smokes, batman! As I ran back up the ramp that goes down from the kitchen into the attached garage, my internal monologue vacillated between, "SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UPPPPPPP!" (at the alarm), and "OH MY GOD, WHAT IF MY HOT DOGS CAUGHT THE STOVE ON FIRE AND THE KITCHEN IS IN FLAMES?!"
I raced in to see smoke filling the house, ran to the stove, only to realize in a very anticlimactic way, that the hotdogs were fine but the butter that I had used to cook them in was burned and smoking like crazy.
I turned off the gas burner, threw the pan of smoking hotdogs into the sink and raced around trying to figure out how to shut of those mind numbing, screaming alarms.
There were two problems with that plan however.
1) I had no idea where in the house they were all located yet they were ALL going off.
2) Even if I could locate even one of them, I had no idea how to shut it down.
So once I realized that plan was a no go, I moved on to Plan B. Because I'm so good in a crisis and all.
I raced around throwing open the windows and doors, turned on the fans, and prayed my neighbors weren't hearing all of this commotion and calling the fire department.
All I could picture, as those godforsaken alarms kept screaming at me to "GET OUT NOW! THERE IS A FIRE! GET OUT NOW!", was Scarborough Fire and Rescue racing down my very quiet neighborhood and coming to a screeching halt outside my house only to discover that all I was trying to do was cook some hotdogs. Hotdogs that don't even taste like hotdogs.
I still haven't told Charlie about it. He often chides me for "cooking everything on high" and I don't want to even hear about it.
When I ran into Tess's room during all of this commotion to check on her and make sure she wasn't scared, she just looked at me like, "Wow, mom. Wow.", as only a disgusted teenager can look at their parent. I yelled to her over the alarms, "EVERYTHING'S FINE, TOODLE BUG! MAMA JUST BURNED THE BUTTER!" Because I'm sure that despite the smoke, the alarms, and the dog running around in a terrified panic, that my screaming at her as she was trying to fall back to sleep really helped her to relax and feel that sweet inner peace we all crave.
Alas, my friends, the open windows and doors did their magic, the alarms finally ceased and all was well here on Owens Way.
And yes, I did go back to that sink and grab those hotdogs and, as I sat stuffing them into my mouth (because I was rather stressed and I am a stress eater), all I could think was, "These were just so not worth it."
Yet I ate them all.