Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Toaster Oven Fire Story

I took a walk in memory lane the other day when I was using my toaster oven to warm up a piece of pizza for lunch: way back, 20 years to be exact. I started thinking about the time my cute little two year old daughter almost set my entire house on fire - with a toaster oven.

I'm not even sure why the toaster oven was out on the counter, plugged in. I'm sure the kitchen was a mess, as was customary back in those days. When you have two small children who has time to clean? They were lucky they were fed, bathed and dressed (mostly). If there was extra time after Barbies/Legos, going to the library, playing outside and whatever else was on the agenda for the day, then the dishes got done. It was usually at night after those little bundles of joy - and time hogs - went to bed.

A lot of this memory is hazy - cut me some slack, it was 20 years ago and the kids have taken most of my brain cells at this  point! - but the actual moment is still very vivid.

I was in my bedroom getting dressed for the day. As I was pulling on my shirt I heard a squeal of delight coming from the kitchen, quickly followed by ooo's an ah's from that daughter of mine. Okay? Wonder what the kids are up to now?

Then the smoke alarm.

I ran out of the room, still pulling on my shirt, to find Jessica on a chair she had pushed up to the counter. She was mesmerized by the flames shooting out of the toaster oven, only one foot away from her face.

The rest of the memory is back to being hazy, as everything moved so quickly at that point, and instinct kicked in. I grabbed Jess, put her on the floor and pushed the toaster oven in the sink and doused it with water.

I suppose Jess had seen me use the toaster oven and wanted to "cook" something for herself. She had pulled out the tray, put a kitchen towel on it, closed everything up and turned on the little oven. It didn't take long for the fire to catch. I swear I was only in my bedroom for five minutes tops.

It was a super scary moment for me. It's hard not to think of the "what could have  happened" scenarios. To this day I never leave appliances plugged in - Ever. I have a habit of always unplugging everything the second I am done using it.

I am happy to report that both my kids, and myself, have made it alive through their child rearing years. There have certainly been some close calls, but we are alive, healthy, physically in tact, and mostly mentally balanced.

Why is it, in the end it's the scary, traumatic and unpleasant experiences that make the best stories? I guess Shakespeare made a living off of writing tragedies. Most of these little instances, that were such a big deal at the time, are the ones we sit around laughing about now when we get together. I suppose you can't truly appreciate the good moments without throwing in a few bad ones to remind you how good the good is.

Raising kids is a bumpy ride, but so is that freaking roller coaster at the park we like so much. There are definitely some scary climbs, but the rush you get as you head down is so worth it. I loved being a mom. I loved every moment of it. Even the parts that were hard.

 

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