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Friday, February 13, 2009

Embarrassing moments, and the natural order of things.

In order to achieve and maintain proper balance in a marriage, each partner should have at least one “bbq moment”. If you don’t have one of those, a “self-cleaning oven moment” will do. Allow me to explain.
In 2006 when I was a single mom finding my way in Canada again, I moved into a new townhome. This quaint domicile came complete with a lovely self-cleaning oven. I was absolutely certain that I had read once that you could kill two birds with one stone, if you will, by placing your dirty trays and pans inside the oven before flicking the switch to “clean”. As it turned out, I nearly killed more than a few birds, not with a stone but with toxic fumes and smoke.
I had decided to clean the oven before work on a weekday morning. Why? I have no idea. I suppose I thought I was multi-tasking or something. I just loaded the oven with every pan and cookie tray that I could find that had remnants of past burns and bakes, and flicked the switch to “CLEAN” before heading to the shower.
The bathroom fan and my singing are both fairly loud, but I could still hear the smoke alarm ringing in the background a few moments later. Next, I could hear my daughters’ voices as they emerged from their respective rooms, coughing, sputtering and cursing the noxious, putrid fumes.
“Hey! Who set the house on fire?!” my eldest demanded.
“Oh don’t exaggerate…” I muttered, as I grabbed a robe and tore down the stairs to the kitchen to inspect the damage. “Just get back in your rooms, close the doors and open the windows.”
“No way. I’m going outside. I can’t breathe in here,” Anastasia said. And then, hopefully, “Do you think the firefighters will be coming?”
Black smoke and flames were billowing out of the oven vents. The house was quickly filling with smoke, and I could barely see my way to the fire extinguisher. I tugged on the oven door, but I couldn’t get it open to extinguish the fire, as the self-locking mechanism was in place. Finally I realized that I needed to shut the oven off and to wait for the temperature to go down before the door would open.
In the meantime, we all went out on the front porch, followed by plumes of smoke and the wailing of the smoke alarm, much to the enjoyment of the fifteen youngsters gathered on the corner of my lawn, waiting for the school bus.
I then came to the realization that perhaps it would have been wise to ensure the pans were relatively free of grease before locking them inside the 700-degree self-cleaning oven.
I spent the next week cleaning soot and ash off of every flat surface in the house. This is a story that my husband loves to hear, so it gets told around the dinner table often. But then, just to balance the scales, I must tell a story about him.
In our early dating days, my husband (great cook that he is) invited me to the farm for a bbq. When I arrived, he was on the porch, standing next to his brand new grill. But as I climbed out of the car, I noted a look of surprise on his face before he suddenly darted into the house. That was strange, I thought.
A few minutes later, I was poured a glass of wine and invited to sit on the porch while he cooked our meal. I thought that he was acting kind of weird, but decided to chalk it up to nerves.
Then I noticed that the bbq rotisserie with our meat on it was turning quite awkwardly. I stood up for a closer inspection. My parents had a similar bbq and I could tell by looking at it that something was wrong. Finally, my date confessed.
It seems he had experienced a few problems with the assembly of his new toy, as he couldn’t get the rotisserie to fit. Eventually he decided to CUT A HOLE in the side of the bbq with a saw, to force the fit. He was ducking into the house to hide the saw just as I arrived, he said.
I smiled, and pointed out that the labeling on the rotisserie mechanism was upside down. As a result, he had installed it incorrectly. I demonstrated that if he just turned it over…it would fit. He thanked me for pointing that out.
I love that story. It makes me feel powerful. Is that so wrong?
We all have bbq moments. They are what makes us human. And as long as we have an equal number of these embarrassing incidents that go down in family history, our partnerships remain in perfect balance.
Which reminds me – now that my husband also has a “Krazy Glue on moustache mishap” story, I need to come up with something silly that I’ve done recently, or everything will be seriously out of whack at the Fisher Farm.
Have a good week, and play safe, everyone.

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