I love when a column writes itself….
Here on Hastings Street we get very nervous when we see a fire truck. Almost 11 years ago, we lost our neighbor to a gas explosion, and the anxiety has lingered all of this time. (Well, at least for some of us, can’t speak for everyone on the block.). So the scene I will set for you is this:
It is early Friday morning and the world’s best mom decides to make some cookies for the welcoming of the Sabbath queen. She preheats the oven (well, the world’s best mom does, I have yet to meet the actual Sabbath queen) and waits for the beep beep beep to begin filling the house with smells of brown sugar and margarine. The world’s best mom heads over to other parts of the house to clean up and vacuum (as the world’s best mom does not have cleaning help…).
All of a sudden, a loud alarm goes off. “What is that?” she wonders out loud. It is really wailing, that alarm, and a voice is repeating, “Fire! Fire! Fire!” Umm, what? She realizes that there is smoke everywhere. As she runs to the keypad to turn of the alarm, she is thinking that, perhaps, “The Most Heavenly Broccoli Kugel,” that she made from her new cookbook, might have leaked over the sides, forming a puddle of grease on the bottom of the stove, causing the stove to smoke when she preheated it this morning. Stupid kugel — it better be really, really heavenly.
She runs upstairs to check on son #3, who is sleeping. She is thinking that she better get up there fast so he doesn’t worry about his precious mother. She opens the door, about to say, “Mommy is OK, don’t worry!” but son #3 is fast asleep. Fast. Asleep. OK, at least the alarm didn’t wake him up, she thought.
The phone rings and it is the alarm company. “Everything is OK,” I tell them as I tell the woman who really doesn’t care a quick synopsis of my morning, including the security code. She informs me that she will call the fire department to call of the alarm. Thirty seconds later, I hear the sound of a fire truck. “Please don’t be for me, please don’t be for me,” I am thinking and saying out loud. And it was for me. I run outside to say, “It was a stupid housewife mistake. Everything is fine.” And I proceed to tell the cute firemen what happened. They informed me that they still have to come in and check that everything is OK. We reminisce about the unfortunate house explosion, how this call was not their first “stupid housewife” call of the day, checking that all of the windows were open and that there was little smile left.
I told the main guy how 19 years ago I had spilled a bottle of baby oil under the oven and the guys had moved the oven and cleaned up the mess for me because I was holding two crying, but adorable, babies. Good times.
So my house gets the all-clear. I receive a lesson in NOT resetting the alarm until the fire department comes, because if the alarm goes off again, and it is an actual emergency, they won’t know about it. A few more minutes of small talk and he was on his way. God bless those firemen. They really are heroes, putting out real fires and having to meet all of these nutty women (OK, maybe I am just nutty).
The whole time I am thinking of son #3, who is upstairs and probably really freaked out with all of the smoke and noise and voices, so I run upstairs to tell him that everything is OK. Up the stairs I go again, yelling as I go, “It’s all good, don’t worry, everything is fine.” I open the door and, yes, he is still fast asleep.
Come on, really???? How deeply can an 18-year-old sleep? And then I go from greatest mom in the whole world to scary mom. “Well, this is all your fault because you are one who got me the cookbook in the first place!” And he continued to sleep. Oh well.
Now I just have to remember to clean the oven before I turn it on again. Good luck with that.
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is hoping her Friday night company enjoyed the Most Heavenly Broccoli Kugel. Stay tuned. It’s a real nail biter.