Friday, January 25, 2008


I nearly blew up the house last night, and I didn’t even mean to.

It was a bad enough day that I could almost have done it subconsciously, but I’d be much more likely to slip out for beer and cigarettes than blow our home to smithereens, and I’d never do it with the family inside.

I should never have tried to use a barbeque in the dark on a cold, windy winter night, and certainly not when I was overwhelmed, starving and about ready to shoot my spouse for setting out for home forty-five minutes after the projected E.T.D. But I wanted to cook the damn salmon.

It had been years since I’d last tried to use the barbeque. My wife is the designated grill mistress of the household, and while I don’t normally ask her to cook anything but breakfasts when we have guests, I do expect that she can brave the weather with a spatula and a plate of salmon in the name of healthy eating and safety. I’m just not comfortable with anything involving matches.

In this case, not only was I unable to light anything, I was also unable to determine which way to turn the knob (a sign that I was in major need of a mental health day) and left both taps wide open pouring out propane under the barbeque’s metal hood. When my wife finally arrived and rescued the partially cooked fish from under the non-working broiler in our oven, and took it outside, she discovered this lethal miasma seeping out into the frosty night.

She took it pretty well, considering. Admittedly, it would have taken a braver woman than she to try to confront me with unsafe cooking practices at that moment, my scowl was scaring our preteen into angelic behavior and our sons were hiding, but I think she kept any comments to herself out of kindness, reading from my rigid body language that I had answered too many appeals for butt wipes, picked up too many Legos, and spent too many days cooped up with kids to take even a jocular admonition.

With the first bite of tasty salmon I began to unwind, and by the crisp salad munching between my equine-like teeth, I was beginning to feel normal. When she offered to take the youngest to play some Nintendo 64 after dinner so I could take a breath, I positively purred.

Six days is too long for below zero weather and a semi-sick high maintenance preschooler with an attitude.

This morning he is back in school and I am in the waiting room at the school, typing this with a plastic bottle of hot green tea by my side. The middle school girl is working away at home, the high schooler went back to school today after being home sick yesterday (adding to my armload of upkeep), and my wife has taken herself off to her job and will hopefully arrive within a reasonable time span around dinner. Oh happy day.

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