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Monday, October 23, 2006

Kitchen SNAFU Part Two.

My infant daughter is a crappy napper. 35 minutes per nap at the most. (Well in the interest of full disclosure, she slept for 90 minutes this afternoon, but that is extremely rare.) So when she goes down for her afternoon nap I have time to visit the powder room, get her lunch and my lunch together (for when she wakes up) and maybe sit down and write her mom an email It is nice to spend time with her, but the lack of alone-getting grownup stuff done-time is occasionally disheartening.

Last Tuesday she went down and rather than follow the usual routine I decided to get a butternut squash and some garlic and onions roasting for soup. As well, I decided to slip the phone headset on and get some phone calling done at the same time. Multi-tasking super-dad in action. The calls were all made, the squash was rubbed with spices and roasting along side the garlic and onion, the lunches were made and I had some time to spare. Go on I says to myself, peel and cut the apple and then fry it with the curry, that way when the roasting is done I can drop it right in the pan, add the stock and set it to simmering. It will be ready as soon as N comes home from work.

So I put a pan on the stove and add some oil. I get an apple out and peel, core and slice it. I turn the pan on high and reach up into the cupboard to get the new curry powder out. The can is taped tightly so I am hunting around for the scissors or a knife. Then I hear it, the baby rolling over. If I can get to her in time, and if I can start patting her back quietly, persistently and soothingly she just might go back to sleep for another 35 minutes, who knows maybe an hour. I rush down the hall and into the room. Pat Pat Pat, she opens her eyes, Pat Pat Pat, the eyes close and the breathing slows, she is going to fall asleep, then the freaking phone that is still in my pocket rings. She bolts upright. All is lost. I angrily hang up on the person (sorry Alan, but ya screwed me man!) and take her in my arms for a cuddle. If she doesn’t get a cuddle when she wakes up – look out, crabby baby. So we are sitting there, turning the ceiling light off and on with the remote when I remember the oil. I remember I turned the oil on high and then never turned it off. We run down the hall to the kitchen expecting clouds of smoke, only to find flames leaping up almost to the ceiling. I put the baby down and grab the fire extinguisher – I am finally going to get to use it! – It is going to make a huge mess of the kitchen! – What am I thinking, the fire is in a pot – I slam the lid on – fire goes out. Thick black smoke is pouring out from under the lid, I go to lift the pot off the burner but it has melted the enamel and it is stuck, I am struggling and pulling and the baby is pulling herself upright on my leg. Eventually the pot and the element come loose together and I put them down carefully on the back of the stove. At this point, just as I am getting the element and pot down the smoke alarm goes off and the baby starts to cry. I pick her up, open the window in the kitchen and then go into the back hall to open the door to the deck. The smoke detector is out here, and it is so loud that it frightens the baby into silence. Back into the kitchen, even though the pan and the element are no longer generating heat there is still fresh smoke coming from the pan. I take the baby to the living room and prop her up against the couch, then I run full speed back the kitchen, grab the pot and take it out the porch. Then I grab the stepladder, climb up to unplug and pull the battery from the smoke detector. I get down from the ladder just in time to stop J from crawling out of the kitchen and throwing herself down the stairs. It is all fine. Fire is out, smoke is clearing, squash is almost roasted and I have already prepared her lunch. Yes, it is all going to be fine.

Thankfully I caught the fire before it melted the microwave or set the cupboards alight. I guess it hadn’t been burning for too long, I was able to clean all the soot and smoke with citrus cleaner and paper towels. When they cooled down it was easy to pull the element and the pot apart. The element is fine – except for a bit of red enamel on it - and the pot is garbage.

The soup was excellent and the little stinker just finished the last of it today mixed with leftover rice.

I wish she could sleep longer.


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