It’s taking all the courage I have to sit and publicly recount the events that culminated into one enormous comedy of errors that is soundly the most embarrassing moment of my adult life.

More embarrassing than when I told my former boss my water broke when I had actually just peed myself.

Even more embarrassing than when I passed out at the altar during our wedding.

Today,ย I thought my house was on fire.

I thoughtย my house was on fire.

I should back up.

This morning, I woke up in a crummy, no good, rotten mood. The girls were equally cranky and I decided that the only way the three of us were going to survive the day was to exit the house as soon as possible and keep ourselves busy elsewhere.

I showered, dressed both girls, packed a diaper back with lots of snacks and beelined for the door. No small feat, I should say. I reached for my keys – no keys. I always leave my keys on the stand by the door.

“E, did you take Momma’s keys? No?”


One quick phone call to J later, it was determined he did, in fact, have my car keys in his pocket.


Homebound with two disappointed children (Have you ever had to recant a promise of Dunkin’ Donuts munchkins? It’s not pretty.), I simmered angrily. Well, if we can’t go, we’ll cook!

I preheated the oven and went about my business of separating two quarreling girls whilst picking up the Fisher Price manger scene for the twelfth time since Sunday.

*Sniff, sniff*


The oven was omitting more than the typical amount of smoke and smell, so I turned it off. Probably remnants of last week’s cooking bonanza. I continued on my separation/cleaning mission.

I head toward the bedrooms to put away some clothes. When I opened the door to B’s room, it was a bit smoky in there, too. Again, something smelled like burning but was somehow different from the typical smell of burnt food that I’ve become all too familiar with.

I peeked my head into our bedroom. Same story.

I began rounding the house and checking outlets, candles, curling irons and Christmas trees. By this point, the oven had been turned off for quite awhile. I remembered that the furnace was acting a bit wonky this morning and considered the possibility of an attic fire.

Somewhat panicked, I called J.

“Uh, I’m not sure but I think the house may be on fire.”

What a great line to deliver to your husband over the phone.

He promised to hurry home and I kept looking for the mystery source of the smell- all while continuing to play referee to the girls.

A few minutes later, my phone rang – it was J.

“I just got pulled over going 50 in a 25. This is going to be awhile.”


My panic went into overdrive.

I called 911.

A short 4 minutes later – seriously, these guys were speedy – no fewer than 12 firemen and four firetrucks, complete with a ladder truck (for our one story home) and the fire chief were swarming our home.


Apparently the 911 dispatcher misunderstood my “smell of smoke in the bedroom” for “smoke pouring out of the bedroom window.”

It was quickly determined that there was no fire. Smoke, yes, so I wasn’t entirely crazy. But no flames. No attic fire. Nothing.

Just my dirty oven.

I was mortified.

I’m still mortified.

Our neighborhood is about 90% retired military couples. With today’s show, I’m certain they will have enough excitement to last through the new year.

God bless the police officer who let J off with a warning. Either he was impressed with J’s creative excuse for speeding or heard the dispatch while running his license. Regardless, we could not have afforded that ticket.

So, who knows how to clean an oven?


10 thoughts on “Humiliation.

  1. Oh goodness, I probably would have done the same thing! I mean, how would smoke get into the bedrooms?! It’s a logical conclusion. We had an incident at our condo this summer because the downstairs neighbor (who rents from his sister ) was cooking drugs on his stove and left the building. Fire is scary stuff.

    • It’s becoming slightly less embarrassing and more humorous as time passes. I swear I saw more of my neighbors that day than in the nearly 3 years we’ve lived here. I suppose it just takes a little excitement to drive them out ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Ha! At least you have a good story, and it’s better to safe than sorry. We had an actual fire in our house – the hot water heater started on fire in the middle of the night after only being in our house for seven months. Glad it ended up just being remnants of burnt food ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Found that absolutely hysterical ๐Ÿ™‚ So sorry, but it did make me giggle.
    And good for you for calling 911, better safe than sorry.

    I am sure that the girls thoroughly enjoyed the fire trucks, so you found something entertaining for them after all.

    • Oh, it was entertaining! B thought it was great – she stood pointing emphatically while yelling, “Tuck! Tuck!” E was actually a bit more reserved. I think she was a bit freaked out by the 6 strange suited men in our foyer ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Pingback: One hundred. | The Lambent Life

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