I’m standing in the middle of my kitchen eating muscadine grapes as I stare at the open oven. A seemingly benign series of events have derailed my dinner plans. A putrid white smoke filled the kitchen just a moment ago. I had turned on the oven to roast asparagus for dinner. I had grand plans of also roasting potatoes and brussel sprouts for tomorrow’s lunch. But now everything is at a stand still until the smoke clear and my senses return.
It all started when I stayed home sick today. I didn’t sleep well last night and when I woke up I had a migraine and a fever. When I get sick I always assume it has something to do with my housekeeping abilities. If I had just been tidier, that germ wouldn’t have hitched a ride on my glass! My irrational thought turns into irrational behavior and I begin to clean. It truly doesn’t matter how sick I am either. At one point this afternoon, the curls behind my ears were bound tight by fever and determination. The kitchen is the usual recipient of my wrath. I cleared the counter and scrubbed my way to purification. I started at the end of the counter by the wine rack, moved past the sink, around the corner with the food processor and stand mixer [that still haven’t been used] and landed on the oven. I shined up the glass top and wiped down the microwave. I peered into the oven — not too bad, but could be better. Something could be growing in there. I read the directions on the Easy Off Oven Cleaner three times before I let loose the spray. I would do the two hour clean. I closed the door and promptly forgot about it for the next six hours.
I took another nap. I went to spin class in an ill-fated attempt to break my fever. [It really just made me more tired, more thirsty, more hungry.] I developed vegetable roasting plans. What I did not do was wipe the Easy Off out of the oven before cranking up the heat to 425. I was in the bedroom changing out of my gym clothes when I hear Pete! the Wonder Pup bark. Clearly, he’s been brushing up on his Lassie episodes because he was trying to tell me that the kitchen was filling up with a white fog. I still didn’t get it, so I stepped closer. My eyes stung. The smoke was billowing from the oven. I opened the door to see the white crust all over the walls and floor. Aw, crap. Once the oven cools, I should be able to chisel the toxic chemicals out of my oven. But maybe, just maybe, this was a sign that I should have stopped at Chick-fil-a when I had the chance.