Thursday, April 3, 2008

How I Burned Down a Kitchen

First, let me say that post dating the the last entry to a later date did not cause it to appear at that date and time. Sorry, Melissa. Second, you people get a kick out of the fact that I burned down some poor woman's kitchen. Haven't I already told you this story? What's wrong with you people, all happy over someone else's misfortune? So what if she got her dream kitchen as a result, and her hideous 70's avacado green appliances were ruined? Geez! Have some respect! It was a fire! I was half naked running around the neighborhood!

Alright already, I'll tell the story. But it's long. Consider yourself warned!

After I graduated college in 1990 - kinda (I failed aerobics twice and couldn't get my diploma, but I know I've already told y'all that one, right?) - I moved to Maryland to work for a summer day camp I'd worked with the summer prior. At summer's end I knew I didn't want to move back to Louisiana, so I found a nice, recently divorced lady who needed a paying renter. Me. She was a little, um, needy and wild, having recently had her husband of 20+ years leave her for the secretary, but she introduced me to country
music, so I'm grateful to her for that.

(This is me about that time - sad, huh?

The Hunny and I had met at camp that summer - we were spreading grass seed and straw, getting the new property ready for hundreds of children - but weren't interested in one another. In fact, we were both dating other people. Haven't I already told you all this story? I saw him, as I was bouncing down the hillside in my bare feet, carrying a bucket of grass seed, and thought, "What a cute guy! My best friend would really like him!" We started talking and I was even more impressed with how much my friend would like him. According to the Hunny, he felt God tell him I was the one he was going to marry and his response was, "Hell no!" Romantic, huh? Yeah, that's why I keep him. It's that gut level honesty which drew me in. ;)

So camp ends, I find a place to live, I get a job at a daycare with a stellar reputation and lesson plans, and I settle in to my new home. The lady I lived with would take me to Alabama concerts, Clint Black, Randy Travis - everything that came into town. I was attending the college single group at the church (which the Hunny also attended), and being hit on by the weirdest guys. Okay, there was this one guy from Nigeria, about 6" shorter than I, who was madly in lust with me and kept telling me it was God's will that we get married, that I looked like his grandmother. He wrote me poetry and long letters. Called. Extremely creepy. I would come early to singles and have two guys sit on either side of me. And another guy who was in the Army and freshly divorced, who thought I was the greatest thing ever. He drove a Jeep Wrangler, which I loved, but I just didn't have it in me to follow up on him. Then there was the one who pursued me for a year and a half, impressed that I'd volunteered to clean bathrooms my first summer at camp. He,
um, wasn't quite all there. Very sweet, but a few fries short of a Happy Meal. I finally shook him when he asked me what kind of animal I'd like to be and I told him a snake, because they're slick and low to the ground and come up on a person without warning, frightening, even killing them. Yeah. Hee.

So it's January and I finally decide that I need to learn to drive. Yes, I was 23. Yes, I was terrified of driving. And yes, I already had a license. But yes, I was also riding a bike to work, four miles each day, on a two lane highway with no shoulders and tons of traffic. I was done. So I bought a car (Lil' Bro actually bought it for me - thank you, Lil' Bro!) for a thousand dollars, from a little old lady who only drove it to church on Sundays. Really! True! You should have HEARD the turn signal on that thing! In fact, if you were within 20 miles of me when I was turning, you probably did. Good night Irene! But I learned to drive in my little Plymouth Horizon by going out every evening after work with a good friend, letting her tell me what I was doing wrong.

Fast forward to March. The Hunny and I have visited a couple of D.C. museums together, spent time laughing and wandering, but he has no idea I'm even a girl, much less interested in him. Dork. We only got together because I'd call and pretend to be bored, so he'd suggest a trip into D.C. Here I am plying my feminine wiles, pouring on the humor and charm, but nothing's working. I didn't want to seem desperate, and, quite frankly, I was making plans at this point to move back to Tulsa.

St. Patrick's day rolls around and the singles group has a dinner. I'm making scalloped potatoes from a box, because that's the kind of domestic diva which is the Good Flea. Like I said, the woman I rented from's kitchen was ancient. Her neighbor had recently renovated
, too, and she was green with envy. I preheated the oven, then whipped up the potatoes, but when I opened the oven, the rack was set too high.

Now, this woman's brother had worked in insurance for years, in Kansas or someplace, and had sent her every pot holder which had ever come across his desk. She still owned every last blessed one, ratty holes and tears, no longer heat coated, dirty, brown things. All in one drawer next to the stove. And I reached in, grabbed two and moved the rack. Then put the pot holders back in the drawer.

I then went upstairs to my room to get ready, In my slip, doing my hair and face, I hear the smoke alarm. Muttering about faulty wiring (that's always been my experience with smoke alarms), I open my door and am met with a face full of smoke. Smoke! So I run downstairs and pull open the oven. Flames! Pull open the pot holder drawer. Flames! I pulled open the sink cupboard to grab the fire extinguisher -
flames! - and it seems that the extinguisher had been used the year before to extinguish a flaming car in the driveway. Silly me.

So I call 911 (the phone was right there), run through the living room and grab the afghan on the couch so as not to freeze to death, then run to the neighbor's to ask for help. He went over with the garden hose and kept the house from burning down till the fire department arrived. And I got a good look at the neighbor's pretty new kitchen while there, waiting.

So there's the kitchen story. The insurance company tried to pin it on me, to get blood from a stone, but nothing came of it. I didn't put a flaming pot holder into a drawer. And I told them exactly what happened. (I was told afterward that I should have kept my mouth shut) And then I had nowhere to go for Easter dinner, since there was no working kitchen in the house. So I called the Hunny and told him just that, and he naturally said, "Well, why don't you come here?" Yesssss!!!

Meeting his family for the first time? A whooooooole different story.

Until I write again ...



CanadianMama said...

This is the best "first date" story I have ever heard! You totally take the cake on that one.
ps. THanks for the laugh - I'll pay you back somehow ;)

dlyn said...

I knew it had to be a good story!

Laura ~Peach~ said...

AWWWWWWWWWWWW soooo sweet! what a fantastic story!
giggles and grins!

Tanya Brown said...

Yep, you can't make stuff like this up. Great story!

Mental P Mama said...

Great story, I think I'll write about meeting squazz soon. By the way, could barely read it because your picture was so alluring...:)

Anonymous said...

What a hoot!
You write a good story ma'am. I can see everything clearly as you've described it!
Thanks for letting us have a peek!

PS~ you were lovely to boot!

Marguerite said...

I remember that car and the seemingly never-ending road trip. It was fun though. :)

I really must find my pictures. I can guarantee I looked worse at that time and you are only showing that picture for sympathy. :P

Mom Knows Everything said...

That's a great story! I met my hubby at the local pool hall....yeah really exciting eh? LOL

brneyedgal967 said...

So your catch phrase isn't...


And... why not?

Casdok said...

Great post! Love your story!

marky said...

what an entertaining story! I had those same glasses! And I thought I was so stylin'

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Maybe all dogs that look like Chauncey are mean's a thought!

Hallie :)

Anonymous said...

I'm a chucklin' Too funny Flea!

Beth from the Funny Farm said...

Hahaha! I actually caught a pot holder on fire a year ago. I was able to throw mine into the SINK... and put it out!! lol

Hhmmm... I can so see this happening! I was AMAZED at how fast that sucker lit up!

imbeingheldhostage said...

Holy Flaming Pot holders-- that brneyed gals a hoot, ya? What a great story!

Anonymous said...

See... I can totally see me doing that. Except the part about having sense enough to get out. I have smoked up my kitchen so many times it ain't funny, even tho there were only flames once. Maybe I should have just walked out one of those times. Ha! I'd have my dream house, too!

mumple said...

Hilarious story from a good story-teller!

Mama Teaching 3 said...

Oh no! I want more! FLEA get on with the next part of the story!

Wineplz said...

that story is hilarious! Way more interesting than anything I've got to tell! I keep seeing you with your hair and make-up done, running around in bare feet and a slip, doing a little "wha??" yell with each thing (smoke, flames in drawer, missing extinguisher, etc.).