Today, I almost caused 2 fires in my home.  And I figure, if you almost cause 2 fires in your home, you had best share it with the world to either a) caution them from doing the same, or b) let them know in advance of your potential liabilities in case they ever ask you to care for their home.  (Ironically, I am house-sitting this week.  Poor family couldn’t have known.)

If you read my twitter, you probably already got the gist of one of these incidents.

Almost fire #1:

I’ve been doing my laundry all morning, and was able to squeeze the last load of wet stuff into the dryer before heading off to Lindsay’s.  Mike does not like me to leave the dryer running when I leave the house – you never know when a spark might catch the lint.  I don’t know exactly what we would do if that were to happen while we were home, but perhaps we should consider placing a fire extinguisher next to the laundry detergent, just in case.  I do try to listen to Mike, as he is my husband, but I also tend to think that surely he is worrying too much and that there is nothing wrong with leaving a dryer on when I leave the house.  The same rule applies to cooking, as my mother left both on while we were out many a-time in my childhood and we have yet to suffer a house fire.  Knock on wood.

So I left our wet clothes tumbling and headed over to Lindsay’s, who, it turned out, was not home at the time.  I have no reason to question why she was not there to welcome me when I showed up, as I never actually called her to let her know I was planning to come.  Communication is key in avoiding things like this, but I tend to avoid communication and therefore suffer the consequences.  I decided to head to the store and get some groceries, but this too was a failed plan, because I have no money in the bank (today is payday, so I will have money, I just haven’t put it in there yet).  The only thing left to do was return home, make lunch, watch Friends.

I came to the house and heard the dryer still humming.  Thinking again of Mike’s disapproval of the concept, I decided to go to the bath-and-laundry room to satisfy myself with the fact that there was no reason to worry about an unsupervised dryer.   Too bad our dryer has a tiny little problem of its knob occasionally not turning from “star” (more dry) to less dry, then off.  It gets stuck, and you have to twist it closer to less dry when this happens to get it going again, or it won’t turn off.  Seeing as how I had no intention of coming back home today, but instead, of going to housesit for our last night, the dryer may have run into tomorrow and I’m sure sparks would be more likely to ignite.  Looks like my wonderful, wise husband has a point.

Almost fire #2:

After internally scolding our dryer for its flaws and punishing it to constant supervision from now on, I moved to lunch.  With no groceries, options were limited, so I settled with ragu.  Not hard at all… water in the pot, pot on the stove, turn on the burner and watch Friends until you hear the water boiling.  This I did.  And I was catching up on twitter updates when I heard crackling in the kitchen, and smelled something strange.  I was not quickly alarmed, and proved it by first twittering what my senses were catching on to before going into the kitchen (I see husband, mother, father, sisters, friends, shaking their heads at this in disbelief and possibly a bit of despair.  I’m sorry!)

Nothing seemed wrong, except that the smell was worse.  I thought maybe something was burning beneath the pot and went to pick it up to see what was below it.  The pot was actually a foot above the stove before my brain registered the screaming pain my hand felt from the searing hot handle.  I dropped the pot and water splashed out of it and sizzled on the hot burner… the hot burner that was NOT the burner the pot had been placed upon.  I’d turned on the wrong burner, the one that had bits of sponge stuck to it from a time it had been cleaned while still hot – the sponge melted to the surface, and we are still trying to get it off.  This was the cause of the bad smell, of the smoke hanging over the stove, and of my burned hand – the pot’s handle had been positioned over the burner that was accidentally turned on.

So here I sit, hand still burning and lesson learned.  The lesson being, be around to supervise quirky dryers and make sure you pay attention to which burner you are turning on.  The only good thing about a burnt hand is the most wonderful, immediate sense of relief you get when you press it against something cold, like a glass of ice water.

Time for lunch… take two.