The Many Uses of Smoke Alarms
Smoke alarms save lives; but they also have a tendency to annoy a bad cook.
Many times over the years, my smoke alarm has been a constant reminder of my inability to cook, boil water, or do much of anything on my fire breathing dragon-stove. It’s alright though. I have had some fond memories that I can look back on with a bit of smile and an inward giggle. My family, however, is not so bashful with their laughter at my expense. Every family get together is peppered with stories of my challenges in the kitchen.
I remember my first encounter with the fire alarm very vividly. Work was exceptionally tough that fateful day. I forgot to do several things and remembered right in the middle of a, hopefully, scrumptious Arroz Con Pollo. Of course, I confidently left the kitchen with the chicken cooking in the hot oil to finish a few tasks.
As I walked back into the kitchen, I saw on the adjacent wall the amber glow of a fire emanating from my beautiful, new, white kitchen. As I ran into the kitchen, the smoke alarms went stark, raving mad. The shrill sound reverberated from every room in the house. Apparently, some safety conscious code enforcer decided it would be a good idea to electrically interlink smoke detectors. When one went off, they all went off; as though I needed more of a reminder as to my inability to cook. The panic swept through me as I tried to figure out what to do to stop the flames that were now as high as my eight foot ceiling. A moment seemed like an eternity as I tried to complete a single thought and focus past my fears.
As I grabbed a pot top and filled it with water to pour on the grease fire (yes, I know now not to do that), I continued screaming to my seven year old son to leave the house. Quickly, I threw the pot top onto my fire breathing chicken. Fortunately, the top accidentally fell into the pot and smothered the fire that at that point left me shaking like the aftershock of a quake. Every cell in my body was trying to jump out and escape. It seemed as though once I passed the need to get the fire out, panic struck in full force.
The blaring alarms were still going off vehemently as I ran to the electric panel to turn off every bit of electric in the house. This was the only way to stop that incessant blare that repeated itself over and over. My son, who never left the living room and his Nintendo, was more than a little annoyed that I turned off his game. Apparently, he is the only one in the world who did not hear the smoke alarm or my screaming.
The fright continued racing through me for quite some time. When my sister arrived home, she called softly to me as she passed the white kitchen cabinets that were faux painted in black by my now charred Arroz Con Pollo. She found me sitting on the floor of my bedroom. My hands were white as I clenched my last bottle of Ice House beer rocking back and forth mumbling incoherent ramblings.
I have gotten past that moment but still have not learned to cook. I am now actually able to cohabit with my smoke alarms. In fact, there is one in the kitchen of my new home. This one, however, goes straight to the alarm monitoring company. Now, they are well aware of when my dinner is finished cooking each evening.
Recently, I prepared a beautiful London broil for my niece and her boyfriend. True to form, my now familiar smoke alarm alerted me to the completion of the cooking time. There was no panic as I slowly turned off the oven and then punched the code to reset the alarms. Soon after, the alarm monitoring company called to tell me that my alarm was going off. I just informed them again, that dinner was done.
The dinner still was delicious and not overcooked, which almost makes me believe my alarms are taking on a life of their own.
Over the years, I have learned a few things about how to keep the alarms from going off as often. I have also met many firefighters along the way. Some of them were even good looking enough to make me wonder if I was subconsciously setting the alarms off. All in all, however, I have learned to exist with the smoke alarms and put them to good use.
Gone are the days of the dinner bell. My children run to sit at the dinner table at the first shrill shriek of our family smoke alarm.
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