I'd like to invite you into a vignette from my life:
Thursday afternoon during my daughter's precious naptime I found myself wearing my husband's headlamp, kneeling, pregnant belly hanging, while scraping black char off the inside of our oven.
Last week the turkey pot pie that I cooked for dinner overflowed from the 2 quart casserole, that the recipe told me to put it in and spilled into my oven. Instead of turning off the oven, removing the pot pie, and cleaning it like some may do I whipped the pot pie out, put a 9x13 underneath it and kept right on baking. Because that was our dinner and it wasn’t done yet. And we didn’t have another option. Later in the week I baked some cookies for only ten minutes and the house filled with smoke. When I peered down into the oven I saw a patch of volcanic lava bubbling up on the bottom of the oven.
One might think that I would give up on the cookies and save myself from a kitchen fire. Nope. I wanted those cookies. So I waited while smoke coursed in the sunlight streaming into my living room. Did I set my fire alarm off? No. It didn’t go off. This is something that concerns me.
I had decided to bake a quiche for my Friday morning bible study. I knew that I couldn’t bake in that oven again. I would surely cause a fire. I grabbed a spatula and sponge and knelt before the appliance. I glared into the gaping mouth, and began to scrape. I only did this for a few minutes before I decided that I could not see a damn thing. I heaved myself to my feet and fished Scott’s headlamp out of his bedside table. Some of you right now may pause and ask,
‘Lara where is your headlamp?’ good question. Thanks for asking. It disappeared somewhere in Nairobi, either it got lost in all the shuffles or my houseworker made an unfortunate decision with it. We have not purchased a new one for me because with my burgeoning belly backpacking seems a little out of the picture.
Back to the task at hand: I strapped the little Petzl to my forehead and re-assumed kneel position. Pieces of burned debris shone like a glassy lava field at the back of the oven. The molten mess I spotted earlier had flattened to a hardened island of char at the front of the oven. I scraped and wiped and eventually was reduced to scratching a butter knife across the mess. Bad for the enamel, I know, but expeditious and therefore easy on the knees. I thought about all those Saturdays cleaning my mother’s oven and tried to remember how it was done, all I could remember was a can foaming cleaner that I am pretty sure is toxic to the unborn. So I just used water and elbow grease.
It was at this moment of domestic failure that I chuckled at my life. How did I end up here? In an apartment in Massachusetts, in the middle of the day, with no discernible loss of power, a headlamp on, elbow deep in a mess that my own laziness had caused. Do you stop and wonder at your life? How did I get here? Is this my husband? Is this my daughter? How did this feisty little girl from San Diego end up in Boston moonlighting as a stay at home mom?
But I did.
PS: the quiche turned out fine and my oven no longer smokes.