Friday, September 19, 2008

The Iron Chef I'm Not

I've come to the conclusion that either I have a particularly entertaining life, or funny stuff happens to other people but they're smart enough not to publicize it the way I do. I've got stories galore, most of them quite embarrassing to myself. Am I the only idiot around here, or am I just the only idiot big enough to tell everyone that I'm an idiot? And do I use the word idiot too much?

Anyway, I like to laugh, and I figure I might as well laugh at myself. Hence this blog: I plan to take over the world one snarf at a time. Erk. Probably shouldn't have said that, because now you're on top of my nefarious snarf-related plot (NSRP).

But back to the topic at hand. I was recently retelling one of my Embarrassing Carrie Stories, and I thought, hey, why not put this on The Wonder That Is My Blog? Because I really haven't gotten the maximum level of humiliation out of it just yet.

And lo, here I am. Woot woot.

See, I like to cook, when I'm not chopping off the tip of my index finger (long story) or being forced to make mountains of pate (another long story). And when I was a grad student, I lived in an efficiency apartment nicknamed The Hovel with a kitchen the size of a postage stamp. I didn't cook when I lived there; I reheated a lot. Then I moved to an apartment which I nicknamed The Palace, and I felt proud of myself until I learned about the drug dealer downstairs with a propensity for headbutting stained glass. Again, long story.

After I moved into The Palace, I decided to cook something to celebrate. (No, it wasn't a mountain of pate. Will you quit bringing that up!?!) So I got myself a steak and makings for baked potatoes with everything, and I thought I was hot shoot.

Well, not hot shoot, but I'm trying not to cuss so much.

I was preheating the oven and seasoning my steak when I noticed the smell. Apparently, the former residents hadn't bothered to clean out said oven before they left, and billows of dark grey smoke were pouring out. So I opened all of the windows and doors and turned off the oven. Remember how I said I'm calm and cool under pressure? Yeah, I rock.

Except for one problem. I had not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR freaking smoke detectors in that one bedroom apartment. And the first went off. Imagine a beeping ice pick being shoved into your temple and you probably have it. Then the next. Finally, all four are beeping at me, and smoke is pouring out the windows and doors, and the shut off buttons don't work, and I can't get the covers off to take out the batteries, and I'm beating at one with a broom and cussing (hot shoot!) incessantly, but the smoke detectors beep on, impervious to my potty mouth.

So finally, I rip one of the damned detectors (so much for not cussing) off the ceiling, throw open the door to my balcony, stalk outside, and wing it frisbee-style onto my lawn, where it sits and beeps. And beeps. And beeps.

This is when I notice my audience. About twenty people on the sidewalk outside, all staring up at my apartment, waiting for me to throw myself to safety, because with all the streaming smoke and smoke detector chorus, they have jumped to the obvious conclusion: there's a fire. At this point, though, I'm not in the mood to explain. I yell, "Don't worry! I'm just cooking!" run back inside the apartment, and slam the door behind me to deal with the other three.

I ate McDonalds that night. The smoke detector stayed on the lawn for two weeks, just in case of an incipient lawn fire. And people in the neighborhood ran for cover whenever I brought in the groceries. The saddest part of all of this? My stepmother was a bona fide French chef, and she taught me to (make a mountain of pate) cook. I'm pretty good at it, although pate makes me want to yark.


Jamie Eyberg said...

Wow. So what happens when you want to make something complicated.

Brenda said...

Now you wait one minute, Missy! You mean those little round things on the ceiling aren't dinner bells?

So when am I to know when to take my dinner out of the oven?

Tiny T said...

We have a sign in my mother's kitchen... It goes like this, "Dinner is served when the smoke detectors go off." :D

PJ Hoover said...

I'm pretty sure apartment smoke detectors are possessed. Not sure even an exorcism could help.

Carrie Harris said...

Jamie: Actually, it's fine. It's when I try to cook simple things that chaos reins. Funny, ain't it?

Brenda: The saddest part is that my dinner didn't even GET into the oven!!! LOL

Tiny: I need one of those. Desperately. :)

PJ: Oooh. Now there's a book idea. A smoke detector exorcist. I'm not sure where to go with that, but it's still funny.

Cate Gardner said...

Mine is permanently disabled. Darn things.

Adrienne said...

Funny story! I've been known to forget to take that little diaper off the meat before throwing it in a hot pan. That's how we end up at MacDonald's.

Mary said...

I once lived in an apartment where the fire alarms were so sensitive that burnt toast would cause them to screech. Cold food preserves one’s sanity in such circumstances. ;)

Stephanie Perkins said...

My favorite part: "Well, not hot shoot, but I'm trying not to cuss so much."

Hot shoot. I am totally stealing that.

(You can borrow Mother Funker, if you'd like.)

Ronald L. Smith said...

"Don't worry! I'm just cooking!"

I can just see it. It's like a Lucy episode from the 50s!

Jim Danielson said...

Your story reminds me of an episode of FRIENDS were Pheobe throws her smoke detector down the garbage shoot and a fireman brings it back -- still broken.

Jim D

Fox Lee said...

Don't feel bad, Ying always sets off the smoke alarm. The alarm is right next to the kitchen and Chinese cooking tends to create a lot of heat. Pain in the ass (the alarm, not Ying).

Carrie Harris said...

Cate: See, you're smart. You are NOT an idiot. I still have working smoke detectors just to see if something else funny will happen. That and the fire thing, of course.

Adrienne: Meat diaper. That phrase alone is worth a thousand words. :)

Mary: I would have tried the cold food approach, but my sanity is long gone!

Stephanie: Please, do share in the hot shootness. Mother Funker is good. I like Mother Lunker too. Nothing like a good fish joke.

Balthazar: You've got it. I've got latent Lucyesque tendencies.

Jim: And Phoebeish tendencies?

Natalie: Oh, don't get me started on adventures in woking. :)

K.C. Shaw said...

Lol! A few weeks after I moved into my tiny house, I wrenched the smoke detector off the ceiling and gutted it of its batteries. It's sitting useless in the closet now. I may die in a fire, but at least I don't have to suffer through its incessant beeping every time I take a shower (the steam apparently set it off).

sruble said...

Don't worry, I'm an idiot too. I love that you whipped the smoke detector outside and it sat there beeping. Our new one can't be detached and is impossible to get to stop beeping when the battery needs to be changed or there's smoke.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on this; I'm very suspicious of smoke detectors. I swear mine has a life of its own, including starting to wail when I'm not at home. Almost like the "look at me - my mommy abandoned me!" wail of my dog when he was a puppy. ;-)

But your story surely takes the cake of smoke detector stories! :-D

Carrie Harris said...

K.C.: Every time you take a shower? It sounds like a gag smoke detector. Now there's a get-rich-quick idea. ;)

sruble: I'm so glad I'm not the only one!

Anna: So your smoke detector has abandonment issues? LOL!

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Your blog is so funny! And I can certainly relate to this post, as the fire alarms in my apartment (all four of them) go off every time we attempt to broil anything. I am fairly certain that by the time my son goes to kindergarten he will be the only kid who has no ability to hear in that decibel range.

Carrie Harris said...

Kate: I didn't even think of the hearing issues! I knew there was a reason my cat went insane. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not.