Izzy (and Mama) Eat: The Gourmand Grows up...

Tales of Empty Nesting ...The Next Chapter

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Things Can't Get Much Worse, Can They? Of Kitchen Fires and Other Calamities

I had been attempting to make today a "lazy day of summer". Izzy and I had no particular plans as we were recovering from an eventful though tiring day spent in the city. We finally got to experience Traveling the Silk Road, an exhibit at The Museum of Natural History (go now it closes Sunday) and today we were just going to take it easy.

We spent the morning reading and Isadore was still in his undies and a t-shirt when I put some frozen pizza (leftover from Di Fara) and some frozen Yonah Schimmel's knishes in the oven for our lunch. We were sitting in the living room reading and I was just getting to the end of The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews when Izzy said, "Mama, I smell something". "What ?" I asked. He just insisted it was "Something" and he looked uncomfortable about it so I ventured into the kitchen.

It was then I saw cascades of thick black smoke emerging from the oven. I just stared, then picked up the fire extinguisher, knowing full well that in my crazed state I would not have the wherewithal to use it.

I instructed Izzy to run outside and ring a neighbors doorbell as I, with extinguisher in hand, grabbed my phone and wallet and followed. I frantically dialed 911 and we stood waiting barefoot in the street. I accosted the first passerby (a young woman who I had never seen before) and asked her if she could operate the extinguisher. She said she would give it a try and entered the house. When she saw the smoke she thought better of it and we both went back outside. She looked at me a moment and then said, "I feel terrible. Can I give you a hug?" Of course she could and she did and went on her way.

Meanwhile, Izzy was hopping on his toes, frightened and nervous. The sirens began wailing and we knew the trucks weren't far behind. At least three trucks arrived and fireman began to flood the house. While they were inside dealing with the smoke, Izzy and I paced about, uncertain of where to go or what to do. Just then, Miss S. arrived to save the day. She is the Director of Izzy's school which is located just a stone's throw away. When the teachers noticed the commotion at our house, she immediately set out to rescue him. She asked if she could take him over to the school and she had him hop, barefoot, on her back and off they went. Never mind that he was still in his undies!

And what was the cause of this unexpected disaster? I had no idea until the firefighters presented the charred remains...which can be explained here.

A few days ago, A. had washed up some grilling utensils (tongs, spatula, etc.) and when I saw them dry in the drainboard I decided they needed a new home. I thought I had found the perfect spot. I placed them in the broiler drawer, not realizing that they weren't fireproof. Why would grilling tools not be fireproof? I haven't any idea. But I digress...

When the firefighters finished their job, I was left with a sooty, filthy kitchen. The white stove was blackened, the walls tinged with dirt and the floors muddied and wet. I didn't know where to turn. Just as I was pondering what to do, the phone rang. It was S., who has been helping us out since I haven't been well. I asked if she had some time to spare and she agreed to come over and help clean up. She scrubbed and mopped, mopped and scrubbed, pouring buckets upon buckets of sooty water down the drain. She took apart the stove, down to the knobs. I worked alongside her, doing the less gritty tasks of cleaning the counters and bric-a-brac. Without her, my kitchen would still be in disarray.

At around six-thirty, I went out to pick up Izzy from his friend I.'s house and to round up a few rice balls and zeppole from this year's Festa Italiana (more on that tomorrow). I walked carrying my money and iphone on a wristlet. When we returned with our spoils, S. was finishing up mopping the kitchen (which is now gleaming) and there was a large bucket of sooty water near the table. When I leaned over to put down the food, the wristlet slipped off and into the water, iphone and all. Just the icing on the cake of a most disastrous day.

And so, weary as I am, I am compelled to tell this tale, as my iphone sputters, soggy and most likely useless on my dressing table and Izzy sleeps peacefully beside me (the trauma of the day keeping him from his own room). May tomorrow bring a hint of sunshine our way.


Anonymous said...

What a day! And what a positive spirit you are to have weathered it so gracefully!

Lisa D.

Eileen said...

You are SO NOT the family who deserved a kitchen fire. (No one does, but seriously, you deserve a turn of good luck.)

I'm glad your friends were so helpful. And, I read ahead ... Happy birthday. So glad you got to have a lovely night out!