You guys, I did something so unimaginably stupid that I almost don't want to tell you about it.
But I hate to let any good material go to waste.
Please don't think less of me. Please don't roll your eyes and think, "What a moron! How could she be such an idiot!" Because I can't answer that question. I was an idiot. I know. I operate on patterns and habit. I never lose my keys because I always keep them in the same place. The only time I have ever lost my keys, it was because there was a hole in the lining of the pocket of my purse where the keys reside and they had slipped into the lining.
I am not late (as long as SH is not involved) because I plan appropriately. I anticipate the worst thing happening and develop contingency plans and run my life accordingly. Being married to a procrastinator who always assumes the best case scenario has caused me no end of stress and a few almost-missed airplanes. I call SH "Typhoid SH" in honor of his ability to cause stress in the people around him.
I usually don't do dumb things. Wait. I usually don't do dumb things that have really bad consequences. I usually do dumb things that are easy to fix, like pour my cornbread batter into the hot cast iron pan and forget to mix the bacon grease in it, but I remember a minute after I put the pan in the oven and pull it back out and give it a quick stir and voila! bacon grease evenly distributed throughout the batter.
I usually don't do disastrously dumb things.
But I did.
Last week, SH was out of town and it was supposed to be a spa weekend for me - no shower, no late bedtime, just me, my Grape-Nuts cereal for supper, and the last season of Foyle's War and season one of Call the Midwife.
[When did TV get so good? TV was crummy for years! Years! I haven't owned a TV for years, then I married SH and he had a TV, but we cancelled the cable three years ago because why would we pay $80 a month not to watch TV, but in the past year or two, there has been an explosion of really good shows and I have turned into a sloth.]
I was also going to cook while SH was gone so I wouldn't have to deal with the stress of his being all "Wooo!" about a kitchen actually being used. His idea of a harmonious life is for dishes and knives and cutting boards never to leave their storage area but for homemade food to magically appear. I have informed him that food does not just come and good food requires preparation, but he doesn't quite believe me, maybe because he grew up with Bad Food with a mother who never made cookies from scratch and so he doesn't know what a kitchen is really supposed to look like.
I had the red peppers chopped to go into the goat cheese tart. Then my next door neighbor, who is moving, who owns a pickup, said that yes she would take me to get the shelves I had seen set out on the sidewalk a few blocks away. I had seen them while I was out running in the morning and as I was inspecting them, the owner of the house emerged and told me to take them, they were free. As SH has the habit of accumulating things in the basement - because there is room! he says - but just stacking box upon box of things like wine, I thought I could at least create a semblance of order out of the chaos with the shelves.
Kristy came over and said we could go now. I didn't want to leave the peppers out because Laverne likes food of any kind, except onions, and nothing is safe. Usually, I put food in the microwave to hide it from her, but I already had the crust and the filling in the microwave and there wasn't room.
So I stuck it in the oven.
You see where this is going, don't you? It's like you are at a horror movie, watching in disbelief as the woman in high heels runs up the stairs to get away from the bad guy. You want to yell, "NOOOOOOOOOOO! DON'T GO UP THE STAIRS! DON'T DO IT!"
And to me, you want to yell, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! DON'T PUT THE CUTTING BOARD IN THE OVEN!"
But I did. The board with the chopped peppers and the knife.
We went to get the shelves but we were too late - someone else was driving off with them. I couldn't be mad at Kristy for taking so long to be able to take me because it was a favor. But I didn't get the shelves.
I got home. It was already 1:00. I had to pick SH up at the airport at 4. I thought perhaps I should bathe before retrieving him.
I turned the oven on to heat and then jumped into the shower.
I emerged from the bathroom ten minutes later, walked into the kitchen, and smelled something odd. Plastic. Hot plastic.
Then I looked at the oven.
There is sight you never want to see inside your house and that sight is flames.
Here is what I have learned: a plastic cutting board will melt but the pile of chopped peppers on top of the board will drip to the bottom of the oven and catch on fire.
I froze, a reaction I wish I had not had because it is probably not a good idea not to act in the face of fire. But I also did not want to open the oven and feed the flames with new oxygen. And I did not want to spray the flames with the fire extinguisher because I thought that would make one big ol' mess.
So I thought, "How stupid could you be?"
Then I thought, "What if I just turn off the oven?"
Then I thought again, "You are an idiot."
Then I turned off the oven and waited, not breathing.
The flames stopped. The smell did not.
I waited a few more minutes. No more flames.
I opened the oven.
You know that Dali painting of the clocks melting over the trees?
Imagine a red plastic cutting board melting over the oven racks and dripping onto the oven floor.
I should have taken a photo but I was not in my right mind.
The knife. The handle of my Cooks Illustrated recommended Victorinox had melted a bit. The blade looked OK.
I left the oven door open, changed into my sweatpants and a t-shirt, and spent the next two hours peeling red plastic off the oven racks and the floor of the oven.
The oven has never been cleaner.
I have never felt like more of an idiot.
I thought, I will just order a new knife and SH will never notice, because honestly, who wants to explain to her spouse a mistake of that idiocy? I would lose a lot of moral high ground.
But I couldn't get the smell of the plastic out of the house.
So I had to tell him.
His comment was that would never happen to him because he is very careful and I responded that of course it would never happen to him because it takes him so long to do any one task, he would never get to something like this. He said that he is deliberate and careful and I said you are slow and maddening and never get anything done and if it weren't for me, we would eat Ramen noodles all the time on a plate that someone - SH - had taken five minutes and half the water in Lake Michigan to wash.
And then he said whatever, I don't care about the cutting board and you're the one who uses the knife.
But I still felt like an idiot. And I still do.