Saturday, May 9, 2009

Need a Break?

I stumbled upon the 60 Second Break website the other day. It got me thinking about my best "I need a break" story. This happened about 2 years ago and I can easily laugh at it now...then, not so much.

My youngest son was just about a year and a half at the time and had taken to playing with the knobs on the stove. Being the diligent parents that we were we decided that in order to avoid perishing in an enormous ball of flames we should remove the knobs and store them at a less toddler accessible location. For several months this worked like a charm. We could just slide the knob on to turn on the stove or adjust the oven temperature.

Then we lost the oven knob (it's been almost two years and we still haven't found that knob). As you contemplate our situation please keep in mind that there are 4 stove top knobs and only one oven knob. To further complicate the situation the oven knob is integral to obtaining the correct oven temperature. Undeterred (and unwilling to shell out $700 to replace an entire oven when we only needed what amounted to a 50 cent knob) my ever resourceful husband employed a pair of needle nose to turn the pin that regulated the oven. As far as oven temperature went, we just sort of eyeballed it. This was working out okay until the little pin broke....while the oven was on....four days before Christmas. After a reasonable amount of swearing, my husband managed to turn the thing off, but it became clear that the stove was now probably beyond reasonable repair. Couple this with the fact that my hubbys family was expecting us to host the Christmas holidays. (Did I mention that Christmas was now only 4 days away?)

Thankfully, the good people at Lowes not only sell ovens, but also offer next day delivery. Two days later (Christmas eve eve) we were back up and running. The house was clean (or as clean as a house containing two boys under the age of five can ever be), the tree was up, the light were all a twinkle...well you get it. I started to think that we just might pull the whole thing off, I got cocky, then karma kicked me in the arse.

One of my oldest sons ENORMOUS bowel movements cause the toilet to overflow. Naturally No one noticed until I went into the basement to get some laundry. I was greeted by an unholy waterfall in my (thankfully unfinished) laundry room. After a lot of unpleasant mopping and airing out and scrubbing everything seemed to be okay. The carpet had been unaffected and we seemed to have caught it before any damage was done. Being folks of good humor, we laughed nervously at our exploits, the phrase "what else could happen?" may have been muttered.

The next day was Christmas eve. We hit the grocery store and while it was ridiculously crouded, by some miracle they had everything we needed to prepare our feast of seven fishes that evening. The feast of seven fishes is an Italian Christmas eve tradition. Most of the dishes are comprised of shellfish, but we had decided to add a baked salmon dish as well. I had written up a detailed game plan for the day. Every 5 minutes from 2pm until dinner was on the table at 6:30 had been accounted for.

The family started arriving around 3pm. Dinner was coming along nicely, my husband was greeting our guests and entertaining the boys. Suddenly my husband disappears. A few minutes later my mother-in-law informs me that he is calling me from the bedroom. This clearly isn't going to be good. I find him curled into the fetal position on the bed, sick as a dog.

Don't be mad. He's not sick on purpose. I tell myself. I look at my carefully crafted schedule and realize that I just don't have time to kill him right now. Instead I send my older son up with some ginger ale and assume that he will survive the night.

Around 6:15 my mother-in-law wanders into the kitchen and asks what is for dinner. I begin to explain to her the tradition of the seven fished, excitedly expounding upon the interesting culinary treats I have planned. It is then that she informs me that she is allergic to shellfish. I momentarily rethink my decision to allow my husband to live. I quickly regroup and realize that we still have the salmon. The lovely cut of salmon that is currently finishing up in the oven.

"Well, there is still the salmon." I reply. As though on cue the dinger on the over goes off and I pull open the oven door to find my salmon ON FIRE!! The potato chip crust had burst into the flames under the broiler. I threw a damp kitchen towel over the fish. Through the grace of God the towel actually did not catch fire and managed to quell the flames. My mother-in-law looked on, horrified, as the smoke alarm went off. She ended up eating plain pasta and well cooked salmon for christmas eve dinner.

Needless to say I was not asked to cook Christmas eve dinner ever again. So I guess everything worked out for the best after all.

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