Saturday, June 23, 2012

Burning Down the House One Can Opener at a Time

So, since my girls are at the ripe old age of ten and eleven, we have forsaken the baby sitter...

After all Bookworm is going into seventh grade.  And she's scared of, like, EVERYTHING, what's the worst that could happen?

I came to the brilliant deduction that a baby sitter is a teenage girl that you HOPE is going to keep your kids from making bad decisions.  After all, if an intruder tries to come in a teenage girl is going to do the same thing the girls will do:  Panic.

And between basketball camp,  vacation Bible school, church camp, a week at my parents, and maybe even some time with friends or at my sister's, the summer is practically over.

Last Friday was their first full day at home alone.

 Bookworm nearly burned the house down.

No joke.

She was annoyed with her sister for using the microwave sauce pan to make Ramen and decided to make herself some mac and cheese in the microwave.

In a metal sauce pan. 

Yep.  She mixed it up, programmed 3 minutes into the microwave and walked away.  At the end of the three minutes she returned to the kitchen and noticed a strange odor.  She did NOT notice that the handle to the pan was melted.  She tried to finish the mac and cheese, which was strangely "disgusting" and abandoned her concoction on the kitchen stove.

Brent came home two hours later to find that the microwave was still hot, and carried it out of the house, to:
A) Ensure it did not cause a delayed electrical fire.
B) Get the stinky thing out of the house.

When I got home he told me all about it.  "How embarrassing if the kids burned the house down while we were gone."

"Yes.  Clearly.  Embarrassment would be the biggest issue here."

"Well, and of course the guns.  If we weren't home, who would rescue my guns?"

Gentle Reader, I will not even bother to clarify who made what statement in that little conversation...I will allow you to use your critical thinking skills and come to your own conclusions.

Zoiks.  Yes, she knew metal canNOT go in the microwave.  She just "forgot."  I was reminded of a conversation I had with her fourth grade reading teacher.  I was expressing frustration with her inability to keep track of things and to just not pay attention as she should.  Like bringing home papers.  And special assignments.  Y'know.  Small stuff...

"Oh, that's common of highly intelligent kids like her.  Their minds are on loftier things."

Is that what they mean by having your head in the clouds?  And by the way, I do NOT use high intelligence as an excuse to be a flake...

So, we had some safety talks.  Lots of them....And I left for work Monday morning, with a lovely list of chores for them to accomplish.

They did such a FANTASTIC job that I decided to kick things up a notch and left them directions for cooking dinner.  Because y'know.  They are TEN and ELEVEN.  Clearly they are at the prime age to assume not only all of the house work duties, but also providing meals for the family...

After all if I'm bringing home the bacon they can fry it up in the pan, right????




So, at about 11:30 I notice that I had missed about three cell phone calls from the girls.  I called them to see what was up...

"Mom!  We can't get the cans open."

"What?  Just use the can opener!"

"We don't know how!"

So.  My children were obviously fully prepared to assume kitchen duties...

But never fear!  I proceeded to give them detailed instruction on the use of a can opener over the phone.

Gentle Reader, have you ever tried to verbally coach someone on the use of a manual can opener?  It's not as easy as it sounds.  It is actually quite difficult.  Especially considering that I was trying to explain how to use one can opener and the girls were trying to use a completely different one...

"Okay, there are two silver wheels.  One is serrated the other is smooth.  Place the lip of the can inside these two wheels with the silver part facing down.  Turn the handle.  You will notice that the top of the can now looks like when paper is perforated. This is so you can lift the lid off with no sharp edges.  On the side of the can opener is a little plier/alligator looking thing.  Grasp the lid of the can in this and remove the lid."


At one point in the conversation Popcorn said, "Mom, if we don't figure this out soon, Bookworm is going to throw a fit."

And I laughed so hard tears were coming out of my eyes.  Because that is just like me.  When I can't get equipment to work right, I tend to growl in my throat, stamp my foot, and if that doesn't work I say, "I am about to throw a fit!"  And my radiology techs and doctor always laugh at me and make red hair and fair skin comments...

Which is always helpful...

In spite of the cooking dinner drama I was day dreaming on my way home about how responsible and grown up my girls are, and how my house will turn into an utter disaster in just a few short months because they will be at school, so I will no longer be able to pawn all house work off on them.

And then I walked into the door and the kitchen was a complete disaster.  The counters were disgusting.  There were empty cans that they HAD succeeded in opening out.  There was a mutilated can that they just destroyed.  The floors were sticky.  The sink was full of dirty dishes and the dishwasher was empty...

And we had to leave nearly immediately for a double header softball game.


We actually won both of the games, which was a HUGE deal to our Bad News Bears sort of team, so after the coach (who I happen to be married to) treated everyone to ice cream at Braum's, I was still kind of wound up.  Which left me with energy to clean the kitchen...

So on Thursday I gave them another opportunity to prepare dinner...After giving a brief inservice on how to use the can opener...

And it was delicious!  As a matter of fact Popcorn asked, "So, what do we got to cook for dinner tomorrow night?"

Ah, Gentle Reader, you KNOW these days are fleeting.


Freckled Hen said...

This is one of my least favorite emotions--worrying about the kids at home. I'm always nervous about this even no matter how old they are. Your girls sound smart and responsible, and I'm sure they will forever remember how to use a microwave now!

Anonymous said...

I love this little family. They give me lots of things to laugh about and be thankful for.

Dawn Castor said...

So did the food turn out good in spite of sticky floors and such? Sarah read this to us Saturday on the way home from camp and gave everyone a laugh!

Sue Ellen said...

It could be so much worse than not knowing how to use a can opener... a friend of mine was a teacher at a private school, and was one of the teachers who took the kids on an Outward Bound trip (where they hike and camp in the bush for ten days, learn survival skills and cook their own food). On the first night they cooked for the boys and showed them what to do, and warned them they'd be cooking their own food from now on. The following night none of the boys started cooking because they thought it was a JOKE. After being assured it wasn't, one of the boys approached my friend with something in his hand and said, "Um... Miss, what's this?" She looked and said, "Are you joking?" He said no. She said, "That's a potato." He'd never seen one that wasn't cooked and on his plate.

Oh, and these boys? They were SEVENTEEN.