Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Can a Fire Extinguisher be Reused?

Parents are eternally kept on their toes by their children.  I know as they get older things get easier until they're teenagers then comes a whole slew of other problems.  But that's my point.  It never ends.  Until I was married I know my parents thought I'd kill myself by way of stupidity or worse, someone else.  OK, well, they are MY parents, so the or worse would be reversed for them.  Then again, they are MY parents, so maybe that statement stands.

You're of course asking what my child did now.  I know you are, because you know otherwise, the word fire wouldn't appear in my title.  And this is my blog where I get to vent about my curse offspring.  You already know.

Yes, my daughter nearly burned down the house.  No it was not successful but an admirable attempt nonetheless.  Oh and don't think my wife and I weren't accomplices via neglectful parenting either.  

How am I responsible?  I didn't reinstall the gate my daughter ripped out of the wall.  Technically I did, I just didn't buy the right stuff and had to go back to Home Depot "the next day" (read that as: a week later) to repair the damage and properly reinforce our barrier between our living room and kitchen/dining room area.

Note the child is still ultimately responsible.  She plotted this, I know it.  Step 1:  Destroy gate and eliminate all obstacles.  (Should be read with a two year old's inner voice) 

How is my wife responsible?  I'll spare you all the "She's your child arguments."  My wonderful wife surprised me (the primary cook in the house  ---- read that however you want as long as you know I cook ALL non-take out meals that I eat at home) by cooking dinner.  She was making Arroz Con Pollo (Spanish for Rice with Chicken --- we're all fancy and shit 'roun' here).  Step 2:  Recognize opportunity's knock.  The guards are disoriented by a change of venue, weakness in the ranks is evident.  (again with the toddler inner voice

How else is my wife responsible?  You didn't think I was letting her off that easy, huh?  Hell, some might misconstrue her act as kind and considerate.  Some I said.  My wife is notorious for not putting things back in their place in the kitchen.  I don't mean she puts plates and silverware in the bread box and ice cream in the drawer.  I mean, she doesn't put pantry products back in the pantry.  EVER.  I put the peanut butter back weekly.  I put the bag of chips back weekly.  (I'm being generous with the weekly bit, don't take me so literal people!).  What did she leave out this time you ask?  If you didn't, I'm obviously losing you and I'll try to speed this up from here on out.  She left our son's teething crackers out.  Where is the important piece of info and will be revealed in a sec.  Step 3: Strike while the fire --- pun intended --- is hot! (I'm gonna have to find out who her inner voice is so we can give him/her credit in the future.  Maybe Kathryn can help.  She seems to be very in tune with the secret lives of our superegos.)

Let's get to it shall we.  What did she do?  My wife went to pull dinner from the oven.  I was chillin' in the living room with the little guy.  I hear a shriek and a shrill "DORN I NEED SOME HELP IN HERE!"

I smelled fire.  Instantly I assumed she'd caught her oven mitt on fire or something.  It is rare that she gets this in depth with food.  Mac & Cheese might be the most complicated thing I see her make.  (Before guilt gets me, I have to admit she will make the occasional breakfast, so I can't claim ALL food is prepared by me, but most is highly accurate)

As I rushed to my feet, I asked "is something on fire?"  "YES," was her reply.  I rounded the corner to see flames two feet high coming from the toaster! A box of teething crackers my wife left on the toaster has ignited.  I scrambled.  The sink had a mountain of arroz con pollo prep dishes in it (one pot meal my ass).  Knocking it into the sink is a no go.

AH HA!  I just got a new fire extinguisher a couple months ago!  It's in the child proof cabinet!

I've never used a fire extinguisher!  Oh shit!

I pulled the pin and gave it a burst.  Gave it a goofy gawk necked, wide eyed look.  One more burst for good measure.  Daddy's a hero!

Smokey house had to be aired out and we decided to eat in the living room to avoid the disaster we knew we had to tackle soon.

There's really a Step 0.5: Know your enemy's stupidity level weaknesses.  (I'm pretty sure that Map from Dora the Explorer would be my daughter's inner voice right now.  So yeah, all of these probably should have been read with an excited parchment's inflections.) Mom & Dad don't unplug appliances after they are done using them.  Should they know better?  Absolutely.  Weekly (there I go again) she turns the microwave, the dishwasher and the toaster on.  Lesson learned kid!

 The Scene of the Crime

Toddler Arson will get you 20 years or more of family ridicule once you're old enough to understand it or at least show visible discomfort while being the butt of a joke. 

So this is the second shelf inside the cabinet above the toaster.  I was amazed how far those two little half second bursts sent this crap.  We did two full loads of dishes straight from the cupboards and drawers plus the coffee pot.  The wine glasses and pans that were drying were covered.  Clean up wasn't fun but it forced a bit of spring cleaning in the kitchen and now we have SOOO much room in all the drawers and cabinets.  Good time for a garage sale I think.

What I want to know is what I'm supposed to do with the fire extinguisher.  I know I didn't use even a tenth of that container.  Does it have to be recharged?  Can it be recharged? Do I have to replace the whole thing?  This wasn't one of those little BS ones.  I bought a big 'ol boy!  I don't want to replace it!  I just bought it.  Granted, it came in handy and I am eternally grateful that I had it available.  Though in retrospect the hose from the sink sprayer would have probably made less of a mess.  Then again, we are talking about a toaster fire.  Daddy could have electrocuted the whole family that night.  Eh, why dwell on the what ifs.

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