Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Chestnuts Roasting and all that crap

Call me Bad Luck Schleprock.

Today was the last day of my vacation. I had plans. Ali and I were going to restock the pantry and the fridge, I was going to buzz by Target to buy a rug for the entry way and we were going to pick up the Ogden kids so I could de-Christmas my house with great efficiency.

It started off at 6:03 when Alison came into my bedroom trembling from a bad dream where some stuffed animals had come to life, chased and killed us all. I don't think they were her own menagerie; I think they were strange stuffed animals. Regardless, they were hungry and we were lunch.

After a while, we went downstairs so she could show me her Webkinz estate. Bleary-eyed, I was happy when she decided we needed to watch TV instead and I could doze through it.

At 8, I went up to ensure Jeff was awake and preparing to return to work. Once he was off, I left Ali downstairs and started gathering holiday decor.

By 11, we'd had breakfast and dressed and were ready to go Krogering. We bundled up only to find the car protesting the winter weather. The battery was on sabbatical. Back we went, happy we'd picked up a gallon of milk and that there was Ramen in the house.

I called Dale to tell him we couldn't pick up the kids, but if he'd bring them over, we could still have a play date. I talked him in to Taco Bell -- our plan for lunch -- and he delivered that, too.

After lunch, the kids were occupied with comparing Christmas loot and destroying the basement. I was tired of working so I decided to build a fire. I laid down to check the flu, wiggling the lever thing until I thought it was open.

I got the wood, the firestarters, the paper and followed the directions my Mainer husband had given me a few weeks ago. I'm a real girl. I can build a fire.

While it took a while for the logs to catch hold, all went well for at least a couple of hours. When Dale came to pick the kids up -- about 20 minutes before Jeff got home -- the fire was down to embers. I looked up from my book and it seemed a little smoky. But it hadn't been at all earlier so I decided I was wrong.

By the time Jeff came home, you could see the haze and taste the air. It was not the welcome home he had expected.

He decided the flu wasn't open enough and that, combined with damp logs and the fire down to embers, created the smoke bomb. He wiggled the lever thing some more.

We had to open the doors, put on the fans and turn off the heat. We told Ali to stay downstairs and went out to address the car situation. It didn't take long to hook the Subaru up to the Honda and voila: we had two cars again.

I managed to scrape dinner together and Febreze the hell out of the upstairs. Ali emerged smoke free and we had dinner in front of the smokeless fire.

I'm hoping work will go better.

Oh, Christmas itself was great. When I recover from the smoke inhalation, I'll tell you all about it.

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