Friday, December 10, 2004

It's Not Rome, But I Think It's Burning

Eli 3.4 asked for 'breakfast for dinner' tonight, a popular mealtime tradition that is one of his favorite special treats. Breakfast for dinner means cinnamon toast and scrambled eggs, and the house always smells so good from the cinnamon toast that it makes me want some, too.

Gloria turned on the oven to pre-heat it (cinnamon toast uses the broiler to melt the cinnamon, sugar, and margarine into a sweet, gooey mess) and went about her business. About five minutes later, I thought I smelled something.

Something not good.

"Is that the oven?" I asked.
"I think it needs a cleaning," Gloria said, as she arranged the bread on a layer of aluminum foil. I thought it smelled worse than just a dirty oven, but she was probably right.

A few minutes later, Gloria opens the oven to put in the bread, and a wave of foul smoke comes out. "Yikes," she says, and she shuts it quickly, then peers through the little window. "Oh, no," she says. She opens the oven door and pulls out a cookie sheet--with a plastic spatula on top. A melted plastic spatula, sort of a Dali cooking project, with the handle melted over the edge of the cookie sheet.

Plastic doesn't burn well, in case you're wondering. I immediately go into stink control mode and turn on fans and open windows as quickly as I can.

A few little jokes later, everything is mostly back to normal. For the moment.

I call my Mom to say hello and see how she's doing. Eli 3.4 wants to say hello, so I hand him the phone, and the first words out of his mouth are "Granny, Gloria left a spatula in the oven and she BURNED IT UP!" Two sentences later, he says "It's burned up FOREVER!" He follows that with "Man, it STINKS like CRAZY in here."

So much for that confidentiality clause he signed last week.

Gloria says "Great. Two weeks later this will be all over the Internet." She just said that as a figure of speech, but then she looks at me and realization dawns. "Oh no! Not two weeks--THIRTY MINUTES!"

"At most," I said. "If only I had a video. Could we burn another one?"

Fifteen minutes later, Eli 3.4 is walking around his little plastic kitchen, pulling out a plastic spatula from his collection. Then he says "Daddy, look at this!" I walk over and he says "I left it in the oven. It's burned."

A few minutes later, he pulls a muffin tray from his oven. He walks over to me, shows me the plastic food inside, and says "I left this in the oven and it's BURNED. Burned, burned, BURNED."

Our holidays are burning down the house. So to speak.

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