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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Come On Baby Light My Fire

If this is your first visit here at Home Fires, welcome! Typically this is not a site where the name of the blog is to be taken literally. But since I did set a fire at my mother's this weekend, Home Fires, just sort of fits.

Nothing says lovin' or happy Mother's Day quite like a kitchen fire. It's like the gift that keeps on giving really. And who better to give such a gift than myself? After all, three years ago I was given a plaque by a local fire department for my volunteer work and media coverage. They named me an honorary firefighter, one of two in the history of the department, quite an honor. Anyhow, along with the status and plaque, I get free lifetime ride-alongs. Nothing like riding a hot fireman. Hmmm... I did not just say that.

As much as I like the firefighting gear, I never wear it when I visit people. I should have, just this one time.

Like I mentioned yesterday, my mom is a cry baby. A few weeks ago when I asked her what she wanted for Mother's Day, she never mentioned the ring she has been asking for more than a year. All she wanted was for me to make macaroni and cheese. Yes she really is that easy to please. I protested and said one day she is going to get sick of macaroni and cheese, since she wants me to make it every time the family gets together. I reminded her how far away I live, and said it wouldn't be as good reheated, which was when she came up with a plan for me to cook at her house. Reluctantly, I caved.

The first thing she warned me about her kitchen was that her smoke detector goes off every time she cooks. She ordered someone to detach the wires, and take the smoke detector off of the ceiling. Nice dinner bell Mom!

As I began, I noticed she didn't have the right size casserole dish. She insisted it would be "fine" if I put it in a more shallow pan. Against my best judgment, I did what I was told. As it cooked, I could see it was on the verge of dripping over the edge of the pan, as the foil on top danced. I asked for a cookie sheet to catch any mess but all she had was a little one. She suggested I put aluminum foil at the bottom of the oven instead. I did what I was told.

Remember that part folks. Lois listened to her mother.

You know Mother's Day just isn't a holiday, unless something goes terribly wrong. I had taken the foil off of the top to give it the final browning and to release the steam build up. I never time anything when I cook. I go by smells and looks. Because I have a cold, my nose wasn't working, so I asked everyone to keep their noses on alert so it didn't burn. Soon after, I could see smoke in the air but of course, my nose still wasn't picking up on any aromas. I asked everyone if they smelled anything, I suppose everyone has a deviated septum and perhaps are also visually challenged. How could they not at least see the smoke?

I went back into the kitchen, opened the oven door and saw a pat of butter was kicked out of the pan by a noodle gone wild, apparently. It landed on the foil and instantly burst into flames.

"I've got flames people!"

Why they found that particular statement amusing is really beyond me. They giggled like school girls and came running to see. Not to help, just to see. The smoke detector, although detached from it's electric wires went off, apparently it comes with a backup battery. The dog started running around in circles barking insanely, as if to say, "We are all going to die!"

I was choking my friggin' lungs out from the smoke, and Mom Anita and Angie were laughing so hard, the three stood bent over, cross-legged to keep from whizzing their drawers.

Not one of the bitches handed me anything to put out the three-foot flames. I reached in the kitchen sink, grabbed a sponge, put the water on, filled the sponge, and while throwing and squeezing in the direction of the fire, all the while trying not to totally ruin my mother's precious fucking mac and cheese, I extinguished the flames.

An even larger puff of smoke came out of the oven and into my eyes and lungs, as the water sizzled against the heat. My sisters and mom were still laughing. The dog was still barking.

Red lines covered my eyesballs as tears poured down, puffs of smoke came out of my mouth as I coughed out the smoke that had entered my lungs as I battled the blaze.

So Anita finally decided to try making the smoke detector shut up. She stood with a big piece of cardboard, waving it at the ceiling, where the smoke detector used to be mounted. Mom and Angie were too busy trying to hold each other up as they cackled.

I kindly reminded Anita that she was merely fanning the ceiling and should really try to find the smoke detector. That sent her into a cross-legged fit of laughter. I pointed to the top of the refrigerator, where the smoke detector was beeping like crazy, but the bitches were too busy laughing. I grabbed it, tossed it to Mr. Lane, who finally got off of his ass to see what all the "hub-bub" was about, and I said "Throw that fucking thing outside and take the dog with."

That was another statement they found terribly funny. Did I mention yet that I hate those women?

Thankfully at the time of the fire, all of the kids were outside playing. Can you imagine the pandemonium that would have broken out otherwise?

Anyhow the hilarity ensued as they rehashed the entire scene from their perspective, while I scrubbed the oven.

Anita said, "Did you see Lois's eyes? They practically popped out of her head! Hahaha! Oh my God! And they were all red and tears were just pouring down her face! And Mom! Hahaha! Oh shit! If you could have heard yourself as you yelled 'Lois don't throw that water on my macaroni!' never mind she was trying to put out a fire! Hahahaha!"

Angie chimed in, "Yeah, and how about you and your ceiling fan smart ass? Hahaha!"

"Well I didn't know where the beeping was coming from!" Anita defended.

"Nothing like fanning a fire Anita! Hahahaa!" Mom added.

After the smoke cleared, literally. I made my mom cry. It wasn't because I handed her a bag of Twizzlers when I first walked in, making her think that was all she was getting for Mother's Day. Not because I made fun of her four week-old shiner and still lumpy head from her accident. And she didn't even cry because I caught her stove on fire.

She cried because I did get her that ring she's been wanting for almost a year. She was so happy to see everyone that she missed the surprise time and time again. I took the ring out of its box and hid it in her cigarette pack. I can't tell you how many cigarettes she smoked without seeing it in there.

Mr. Lane even tried helping her "find" it by asking to bum one from her. She still didn't see it. I decided it needed to be more obvious.

My sisters convinced me to put the ring under her soda can. I tried to will her to take a drink. I lifted my can of soda, took a sip, "mmm" looking at her the whole time. She didn't know why the rest of us were laughing, she just joined us by giggling along, assuming we were laughing about the fire, because what's funnier than a fire, macaroni and cheese flambé or suffering from smoke inhalation, really?!

I lifted my can again and almost in a cheers motion toward her, I raised my eyebrows looking right at her and took another sip. I felt like the Amazing Kreskin when she finally lifted her can of soda.

As she set the can back onto the table, she hit the ring and finally looked down. When she saw it she first asked whose it was and when we all said "yours", she burst into tears.

I told her to knock it off or I'd set another fire.