Ok, almost burned the kitchen down. And maybe it was just me, not we.

I’d like to blame the children.  This was totally something they would do. And in a way it was because of them that I was up to my elbows in combustibles that day. But darn it! I have been teaching that whole “take responsibility for your actions and be a stand up person” moral nonsense. Seriously, I should really think before I speak sometimes.  So I knew  if I blamed it on our nervous 6 lb Yorkie, that was freaked out and probably having a seizure under the couch, I’d lose all credibility and my boys would be repeat convicts by age 21.

So I just spun the whole ordeal like an expert politician:

“That was just a fire drill, guys. Congrats, you all passed!  You just never know when accidents will happen.  Yup, we have to be prepared.”

 They weren’t buying it. I was shrill and shaking like I’d just witnessed Satan waltz in the kitchen and pour himself a cup of tea and sit at the bar.  Cause he did!  Except it wasn’t tea, it was hot boiling wax.  And his flaming horns were licking at my eyebrows when the boys came barreling down the stairs to my rescue!

Let me back up and clear the air. Cause at this point it was full of burnt orange smoke and ear splitting sound waves from the screaming smoke alarms.  It is science fair season around here, which means no one has clean clothes or a decent home cooked meal.  If they manage to get their hands on something tasty, there is nowhere to sit and eat it anyway, because every counter top is an organized mess of creativity in limbo.

Three boys, three separate projects, and just one me. Staying organized is key, but cutting corners is easier.  So when it rains, and you have a schedule to adhere to, you go ahead and launch a rocket in the kitchen.  And now you’re thinking, Well, duh! No wonder you started a fire. But this is not where things went south.  We launched with the utmost care and precaution by aiming our trajectory at the kitchen sink and managing to hit the cook top backsplash instead, which is basically a fireproof enough wall.

We’re talking tiny homemade rockets. And we have a vegetable sprayer thing on the sink which is like a firemen’s mini hose.  We were basically OSHA compliant. We stopped after a near perfect mission, because we had already shot off five or ten  launched a test run just before and decided to quit when we got such a nice one on video.

Of course, we had to rid the home of the evidence of our pyrotechnics before the principal got home from work. There was an odorous hint of rocket fuel about the place.  I grabbed my cute mini iron skillet with the yummy wax squares. You know, the ones that melt into the promise of fresh baked lemon pound cake without the calories? Except, I didn’t know where the mini tea light burner was hiding. So, I just slapped that puppy down on the gas burner to melt it a little, and then I would turn it off to cool and freshen the air.

But I forgot that last vital step about turning it off. Not a good place to cut corners, just FYI. My multitasking mom brain had glitched and moved on. It was time for swim practice.  I was busy putting towels in backpacks, and changing out of my sloppy yoga pants into my newer less sloppy yoga pants in order to get the boys to the pool. They were all upstairs on their tablets solving mathematical enigmas.

Okay, okay, they were playing Minecraft! And they were oblivious to the underworld bubbling up below them.

As the fire alarms went off like a domino rally across the house, I was using the bathroom in peace. And I sat there a moment thinking how odd it was that the smoke from the rockets was just making it to the detectors.  Weird.  And as I was yanking my yogas back up, I remembered the mini wax skillet!  And the distance from my bathroom to the kitchen telescoped exponentially.

I rounded the cabinets to find the stove a fiery inferno of lemon scented hell! I turned off the gas but the flames continued to reach for the vent hood.  Had I given it a few seconds, it probably would have gone out on its own. Maybe. But time is funny and twisted and evil.  Life threatening moments tick by like prolonged mental torture, and my mind had time to write the entire press release for the local news in one twenty-fifth of a second:


Recent homeschooling new comers to the area burned down their house today in a science fair experiment gone wrong. The mother claims it was simply a forgotten air freshener, but the smell of rocket fuel, and assorted questionable materials scattered around the home, leave room for suspicion.  The children have been removed and placed in protective services after admitting their mother was teaching them to build and set off explosive devices. Their dog was found to have died of fright under the couch.


We just moved here, and I didn’t want to get to know the rest of the town by asking for their donated socks and underwear. So I acted, grabbing the oven mitt, and then the flaming skillet, and tossing it into the water and dirty dish filled sink.

BWOOOSH!! The boys rounded the corner in time to see a blazing mushroom cloud explode from the sink over four feet into the air. If their individual reactions were any indication of what kind of men they will be, I should make notes to warn their future wives. But what fun would that be. And I won’t say who did what.  But know that one child literally stopped, dropped and rolled out the back door, another froze in place, screamed and plugged his ears, and the third’s eyes lit up excitedly as he exclaimed, “Awesome!”

The fire was out; I still had eyelashes and the tip of my nose. But I could feel the need for a pace maker in my future.  We opened the doors, turned on all the fans, and thanked Jesus for our functioning smoke detectors, which finally hushed when the smoke was thinned to light sea fog.  Amazingly, there was a nice not-too-overly-done lemon pound cake smell left in the house. However, every dish in the sink was not only still dirty, but the food bits were encased in a hard wax veneer.

And that, folks, is how my children made me I almost burned down the kitchen. And how I pulled off the most awesomely realistic epic fire drill ever.

 Disclaimer: If you work for, or are planning to contact child protective services, I totally made all of this up. Especially the part about getting it on video.

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