On the Third Day We Rise Again


It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep and the season’s first snowfall can do. Three days into our new house adventure and there might have even been some jazz-handing to Winter Wonderland down the stairs this morning.

This a dramatic improvement from the first night when I woke at some ungodly hour to the realization that my fingers were so swollen and so painful I couldn’t even close my hand and readjusting the pillows was definite cause for howling.

They’re still swollen, but I guess if spontaneous jazz hand sessions are breaking out all over the place they’re probably—as the doctors in costume dramas are always saying—out of danger.

The project list is still pretty long, but thanks to the phenomenal energy of my friend Jenn, most of the furniture in the living/dining area is in place, there are books on the shelves, and the kitchen is unpacked (if not painted). It’s really just a matter of picking things randomly off the list—I have Christmas decorations on the table but we have no waste paper basket for the bathroom; I have scented candles burning in the kitchen but there’s still painter’s tape around the living room window.

It’s a work in progress.

Oh, and we don’t have the cabinet doors on yet in the kitchen.

But we do have a fridge and stove now, so there are perhaps more entries in the victory column than the one dedicated to defeat. That’s always a good thing.

Also a good thing: While I did manage to set fire to our kitchen, I didn’t do any permanent damage.

That was Saturday, the day before the move.

I was spending the day painting trim in the master bedroom and dining room (I LOVE our trim—this gooey white, marshmallow cream color), handily being at the house during the window when Sears was supposed to deliver our new kitchen appliances. Which they eventually did, and we chatted about Modern Warfare while they hooked things up and peeled off stickers and told me that the fridge needed 24 hours before it would reach ideal fridge temperatures and the stove needed to be set at 350 for 5 minutes followed by a 5 minute broil session to burn off something or other (so you might want to open the windows; it’ll probably smell badish) before it was good to go.

Easy enough.

I saw them out, flipped the oven to 350 and went back upstairs to paint. It definitely didn’t smell good when I came back down and switched it to broil, but I figured that was normal, so I went back upstairs to paint.

And then the smoke alarm went off, so I wrenched it out of it’s socket  (I hate alarms of all varieties) and went downstairs to see that the oven had caught fire inside. Closer, panicky inspection revealed that there was a BOOKLET in the oven and it was very much on fire.

Now the question was: to let it burn out in the oven (limited oxygen supply) or try to extract it from the oven and get it to the sink (less chance of damage to the oven). It didn’t look too crazy in there yet, so I opened the oven and realized that I didn’t have oven mitts or anything like that… two pliers were the best I could do, so I start trying to slide the oven rack out with pliers, but at the first jostle the book slid off the back and landed in an ashy, blazing heap in the bottom of the oven.

Well, this was even worse. Now the fire was directly touching the oven finish.

A hammer and long-handled screwdriver were my other options, and I started to transport the book to the sink where I could get some water on it. Unfortunately, the book was mostly ash at this point and slipped easily out of the hammer/screwdriver grasp to drop to the floor. Still burning, of course, with a swirl of gray ash now drifting around the kitchen.

Third time was the charm. I finally had the fire contained to the sink, where I gave it a thorough dousing, and began to check the floor for permanent burn marks (none!) and the oven for other damage. You know that gleamy, new oven glow? Me neither. Our oven went straight from showroom beauty to battle-scarred veteran, it’s fancy pants monitor thing blinking F10 in soundless, endless agony.

Failure 10.

I tried hitting the off button. I tried resetting the heat. I tried resetting the clock. Nope. F10 apparently means a complete shut down, and I totally would’ve checked the manual but that was now a heap of sodden ashes in the bottom of my sink.

So…. that was out.

I called Carl. “The Sears delivery people tried to kill me,” I said, mostly because it sounded better than I accidentally broiled the owner’s manual until it caught fire. Should I have checked the oven before turning it on? Sure. Yes. Should oven delivery people hand you one packet of warranty information and then leave the actual manual hiding out inside the oven? No. Definitely not.

The next day during the move, my brother-in-law came downstairs to say the toilet wasn’t flushing properly and had I maybe accidentally flushed the owner’s manual down it earlier?

Ha ha.

It’ll be funny someday, Carl said consolingly, and he was right. It’s funny now, actually. But it wasn’t very funny when the delayed panic hit and I started sobbing in the McDonald’s drive through about an hour after it happened.

I could’ve ruined the oven. I could’ve burned the house down. I could’ve DIED, and then my BABY would’ve DIED too.

You know. Classic stuff.

But I didn’t ruin the oven, and I didn’t burn the house down, and I didn’t die, and Baby J continues to have her sugar induced dance parties every time I eat anything delicious. Life goes on.

And—little known secret—unplugging the stove for five minutes apparently wipes it’s memory, so even the stove has forgotten to be wary of me and very trustingly allowed me to make rice pudding last night without incident.

Life, the house, and my mood are all starting to look up again.

Although, given the hardness of life/my recent brush with death I might perhaps curl up with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for an hour or so before getting back to the grind. There has to be some sort of celebration for making it past the deadline move-in horror. Anyway, house projects ye have always, right?


Happy Wednesday, everybody!


7 thoughts on “On the Third Day We Rise Again

  1. Ha ha!!!! Wow…that was pretty hilarious to me, far out here in Connecticut…all removed from the whole thing. I was laughing pretty hard, reading that account. Am so glad there was no more permanent damage and that you have brokered a truce with the oven. 🙂 Your house looks amazing from all I can tell in pictures.

  2. That is a crazy funny story. The reality was probably awful. I think I would have been significantly shaken. I’m glad you, and Baby J, and your new house all survived.

  3. The pictures of your house are lovely. Your experience of the burning oven, awful! Hope you didn’t inhale too much of that burning smoke. So glad things seem to be all right now!

  4. Oh wow! Glad you and Baby J. survived and your new oven is friends with you again! I, too, love your pictures and am impressed that your place already looks so nice after just 3 days! Way to go!

  5. This account of woe is cuter as time wears on. Like you, I didn’t think it was so funny when it first happened, but I’m sure glad everything turned out all right. Life is full of scary surprises. Thank you, Lord, for a happy ending to this one!

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