Friday, March 05, 2010

Friday Flashback: The House, The House, The House is On Fire

My mom was a working mom before working moms were the norm. When my sisters and I were very young, she worked in the office of a business that sold large farm implements (tractors!) and my sisters and I were kept under the watchful eye of my grandmother.

Eventually, my parents allowed my older sister to watch me and my younger sister and then, the summer after I turned thirteen; I was allowed to watch my younger sister while my older sister pursued a more active social life.

I felt pretty good about the responsibility and really enjoyed the independence that came from not having to answer to my older sister for everything. Plus, I tried really hard not to be a bossy dictator where my younger sister was concerned although; she might disagree somewhat with that assessment.

Anyway, during that time, I developed an enjoyment of cooking, specifically breakfast foods and baked goods featuring cream cheese and chocolate chips (cheesecake, chocolate chip cookies, oh how I miss you).

One fine summer morning, I decided to fry a couple of eggs for my breakfast. I melted a few scoops of lard in my mother’s heavy skillet, cracked a couple of eggs and waited for the magic to happen. Unfortunately, something magical was also happening in Pine Valley at that moment and, my attention was caught by the antics of one Miss Erica Kane.
It wasn’t until I heard a strange popping noise coming from the kitchen that I remembered my breakfast and, upon entering the kitchen; discovered a grease fire blazing on the stovetop.

Being next in line for MENSA membership; I grabbed a potholder, gripped the skillet and was making my way to the sink to douse the flames when it occurred to me that; flames shooting five feet into the air + my mother’s lovely 1970’s patterned curtains on the window over the sink =Certain Doom and; I whipped back toward the stove to set the skillet down. Which, is about the time the heat from the handle started burning through the potholder and, in a panic, I dropped the skillet onto my mother’s lovely 1970’s patterned carpet.

Thankfully, the grease had burned itself out at that point and, although the skillet was melted into the floor, the flames were gone. Unfortunately, so were both of my eyebrows and a large majority of my bangs, having been singed by the flames.

Despite the fact that hot grease had sloshed out of the skillet as I made the trip across the kitchen, I had not one burn on my body. This is especially miraculous when one considers the fact that I was barefoot, wearing a tube top and a pair of ratty cut-offs that would have made Daisy Duke proud. I was incredibly lucky, obviously.

I called my mom and she refrained from profanity both on the phone and in person five minutes later when she came reeling through the front door following a frantic drive home.

Despite the fact that I had completely ruined her carpeting, caused enough smoke damage to require a repainting of the entire kitchen and scared a good ten years off her life, my mom did not punish me for that fire. Nor did she put a stop to my babysitting my sister, instead, trusting that I had learned my lesson about leaving a hot stove unattended, she allowed me to carry on.

I never took that trust for granted and I never caused another grease fire in my mother’s –or anyone’s-kitchen. In fact, even today; I don’t cook with grease, period. I don’t fry eggs, I don’t fry vegetables and the mere thought of frying a chicken brings to mind the scent of singed hair, causing me to break out in hives.

I'm serious, I don’t even keep grease in my house and; I only allow my children to use the microwave when they are home alone. I have also instructed both children in the correct methods for dealing with a grease fire (suffocation with baking soda, salt or a lid) in the unlikely event that they encounter one as well as in the correct usage of a fire extinguisher (of which we have three in the kitchen alone).

I learned from my experience, is my point.

Also I don’t wear Daisy Dukes anymore but; that has more to do with the onslaught of cellulite than with childhood trauma.

In case you wondered.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I also never even keep grease in the house. NEVER. Mainly just because it skeeves me out, but also the fire thing.