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Saturday, January 23, 2010

NOT my smartest moment

The first clue was my son's coughing. At that point I should have realized something was wrong, but I didn't.

Next, my daughter started complaining that her throat hurt and began coughing too. I thought she was imitating her brother and told her to knock it off.

Then I started coughing - and my eyes were watering - and something smelled a bit funny. It was only then that I noticed that our home was filling with smoke.

Now, in my defense, our home is designed with a beam dividing the kitchen from the dining room where we were sitting doing our schoolwork. That beam caused the air to move in a circular pattern, containing the thickest heaviest smoke to an area separate from where I was sitting.

When I did finally turn around, I discovered not just a little bit of smoke, but a thick black cloud. It hung like a dark wall exactly where the beam is, and from the ceiling all the way down to waist level it was nearly impossible to see. But what I could see wasn't pretty. Out of my microwave was billowing enormous amounts of scary looking smoke.

After quickly sending the kids outdoors (in the snow, without shoes or coats, but hey it was the right thing to do), I shut off the microwave, unplugged it, and checked for flames.

Realizing that the fire was contained to the inside of the appliance, I decided that we were in no real danger and decided to seize the teachable moment and give the kids an unforgettable lesson in fire safety. I brought them back in and showed them the (amazingly obvious) line between the breathable and smoke-filled air, and reminded them about crawling out of a fire from our previous lesson in fire safety. They thought this was uproariously funny and giggled as they crawled back and forth between the kitchen and front porch several times. Meanwhile, I ran around selectively opening windows and closing doors to usher the black nastiness out as quickly as possible.

All looked well as the smoke began to clear up, but the microwave continued to heat up rather than cool. It was so hot that by the time I realized that I should probably throw the thing outdoors, I was afraid to touch it for fear of getting burned.

Truth be told, I wasn't really afraid of burning the house down. I was just leery of scorching my husband's beautiful cabinet work, which he put so much time into creating. So I did what any other bright girl would do, I pulled out the fire extinguisher and blasted the thing - inside and out.

What a mess! In addition to the black ash settling over every surface of my home, and the horrible smell of burned whatever-that-was, I now added fine white powder. Yuck!

Now, after lots of cleaning up, my kids are safe, my cabinets are not scorched, my house is still standing, and it smells almost normal in here again.

It probably wasn't the poor microwave's fault in the first place, (I may have pressed 20 minutes instead of 20 seconds) but why chance it - I had my husband buy me a new one.

Oh yeah, by the way, not one single fancy-schmancy hard wired fire alarm went off in the entire house. We're working on that. But until then, (with much eye rolling from my husband) I'm going to keep a cheapo battery operated alarm in the house. Just in case.

1 comment:

Doris said...

I am so happy you are all safe. By the way, how is that new microwave working? :) Never hurts to get a new appliance.