Friday, May 12, 2006


There was an explosion in my living room. And the nasty smoky smell from the fire on Saturday is gone; so is the smell of too much sage burned to cover the smell of smoke that refused to drift out the windows. In sort, this room should probably be declared a disaster area and be rescued by government funding.

My HP printer is on the floor next to the chaise. Since I use the laptop in the living room from the comfort of the chaise or sofa (with my feet up of course) that was the logical place to put it when I downloaded the drivers and software. Halfway through the download, as I read the instructions, I realized I needed the printer here so I could finish the setup and synching, hence the printer on the floor in here instead of in the bedroom near the French doors where it usually resides out of the way.

There are books scattered all over the sofa from my trip to the library the other day. I had several books on hold and brought them all here. Since I needed the canvas bag they were in to do the grocery shopping yesterday, and being in a rush, I placed the books on the sofa (it's near the door) and practically ran out of here into the sunshine and fresh air. The circulars from the mail and a clothing catalog balance the book spreadage on the other side of the sofa. Somehow or other my sage smudge stick ended up on the floor in front of the sofa. Last, but not least, there are wires snaking across the floor from the outlet across the room to the laptop, printer and space heater. A couple big padded envelopes rest near my socks at the foot of the chaise where I dropped them after opening a gift for the Evil One (he'll get that on Tuesday) and a hand rest, mouse pad, ruler and calculator thingie the office sent to celebrate Medical Transcriptionists Week. Still haven't figured out if I'm going to use it. I'll at least try it out before I toss it in a box in the closet or hang it on the wall for a display of art and function gone wrong.

Oh, and about the fire in the kitchen last weekend. It was a miscalculation on timing. I put a very big yam in the microwave since I waited until the last minute to fix dinner and the entree was nearly done, figured it would take 15 minutes, set the timer and sat down to eat the entree. Something tickled my nose and I looked toward the kitchen where a cloud of smoke rolled slowly toward the doorway. FIRE! Or at least SMOKE! I went into the kitchen and saw my yam in flames in the microwave. Two steps and I was at the microwave, yanked open the door and was slammed in the face by the smoke, smell and a little blast of flame, speared the burning charcoal lump that had been my dinner and dumped it unceremoniously onto the clean counter top. There was nothing edible in the blackened char and I gingerly scooped it into a microwave dinner tray handily nearby and dumped it in the trash.

As I sluiced the worst of the smoke and gunge off the glass turntable the smoke alarm in the bedroom sounded its klaxon warning, so I rushed off to beat the air in front of the alarm with an old T-shirt until it stopped, then started up again as soon as I walked in the living room, went back to beat it some more, back to the living room, back to beating the smoke alarm until I decided to disengage the contacts on the battery for a little peace. After all, no one was in danger of dying in a fire, having been put out a while ago. You'd think having all the windows open and the vent over the stove running would have dispersed some of the smoke, but the wind blew the smoke back inside and since the stove hood vent isn't connected to the outside the smoke just kept circulating into the vent blowers and back out into the room.

I finally managed to clean up the worst of the smoke from the inside of the microwave and off the glass turntable, put another big yam inside and punched in 7 minutes this time and went back to eating my lukewarm entree while smoke swirled around my head and past my watering eyes.

The phone rang and the landlady offered to deliver a fruit tart. I met her at the door and she asked if I had burned something as the smoke swirling menacingly out the door and into the hall. "Yes, my yam. Left it in the microwave too long," I said, smiling. "Oh," she replied and handed me a plate of fruit tart with what looked suspiciously like thick plastic jutting out over the end of the triangular point of cake and between the strawberries and other unrecognizable fruit. "Gelatin?" I asked, pointing to the plastic. "Yes," she said as she turned and walked down the stairs.

Dessert to go with my dinner. Nice. The plastic tasted of almonds beneath the spreading glop of whipped cream (fresh made and not from a spray canister) and was easily digested, just as the microwave timer dinged for my now baked yam that wasn't quite done, but I opted not to hazard another few minutes lest this last yam in the cupboard turn black and go up like a Yule bonfire.

I clearly deserve government funding for the disaster, although the only thing damaged was my pride. I washed the smoke out of my freshly washed that morning hair because I found it impossible to sleep with the reek right under my nose. And I guess I'll have to break down, break out the recycled plastic bags and scoop up the litter on the couch, find some place for the books, pick up the mailing detritus and hose down the tables and vacuum the floor. Who knew living in an apartment could be so much work. It was so much easier living in a hotel, and they changed the sheets every day and laundered the towels and linens, too. Oh for the simple life of restaurants, housekeepers and the road. Still, the management didn't care for me repainting their walls and bringing in my own furniture and art work, so it's an even trade.

That is all. Disperse.

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