The Time I Lost My Cool

I don't think I'm alone in hoping that, in a high-pressure situation, I will react totally calmly and keep my cool. See someone choking? Heimlich maneuver. Bam. Saved a life. Someone is holding me at gunpoint? Use my vast crime TV knowledge to convince them through witty dialect that they don't actually want to kill me. Meet a celebrity in the grocery store? Engage in a flawless conversation, walk away with an invite to the Oscars. Accidentally light a fire in my kitchen? Smother the flames with one hand while continuing to whip egg whites with the other. NBD.

Unfortunately, I have always known that this would never be the case. I have rarely, if ever, been able to say or do something perfect and witty in the moment, and even if I do come up with something borderline clever, it usually comes out all wrong. Exhibit A.

So it was really no surprise when, after starting an oil fire in my kitchen last night, I freaked out. 

I knew the pan was hot, but I didn't realize how hot. I poured the oil into the pan, watched it settle, and then watched as it literally burst into flames. Calm and collected? HA! I immediately started jumping up and down yelling Spencer's name over and over, possibly slipping the word "fire" in between terrified shrieks. It was actually pretty similar to my reaction when I see a bigger-than-average spider, but with much more urgency. I mean, this was a fire! A real fire! It looked just like the fires started by a chef on Chopped! It was big. The flames were reaching the counter, the wooden counter! It was going to spread and we don't have a fire extinguisher! (is it legal to not have a fire extinguisher?) And Carter! Carter was right over there! How could I start a fire when Carter was in the house? And where was Spencer? Could he not hear me screaming his name? 

Although I have a clear understanding that the absolute worst thing you can do in the event of a grease/oil fire is add water, I immediately started looking for a glass to fill with water to throw on the flames. I mean, hey, you see fire, you think water. Closely followed by Stop, Drop, and Roll, but I knew that didn't apply in this situation. Luckily my husband was able to keep a much calmer head and he quickly covered the flaming pan with a cookie sheet. 

Spencer: 1; Sadie: 0

Ah well. Let us hope that, next time I send my kitchen up in flames, I will have gotten out all of my "freak out and scream" and will be able to take care of it. Or at least grab the baby and call 911 before the whole complex goes down in flames. Amirite? 

This is one of those things that only looks cool on TV or in a Japanese restaurant.


  1. hahahahahaha. I love it. ^-^ (also LOL-ing at your crookston post... hahahahahaahahhaahahahhahahahahahaha)

  2. I think the most valuable part of my military training was the gas chamber, where they force you to go into a room full of tear gas and then calmly and carefully remove your gas mask, fold it up in accordance with established procedure, store it inside of your hip pouch, and then place your left hand on the person in front of you and wait -- again, calmly and patiently, despite not being able to breathe or keep your eyes open -- while everyone else accomplishes the same task.

    All while staring at the door, about ten feet away, that leads to fresh air. But no, you can't go walk out that door, you have to wait. Did I mention that you can't breathe? That you spend all of this time choking on your own snot while your lungs are burning and you're 100% convinced you're about to die?

    I had never before felt myself lose my mind to the base animal instinct of simple survival, and I still remember how it felt to clamp down on it and force myself to hold fast and wait.

  3. Ok I've pretty much had the exact same experience and I'm laughing so hard right now. I was broiling Tilapia and it caught fire. I kept screaming, "Dave! Fire! Help! It's big!" As I was desperately searching for baking soda to throw on it, he calmly walked into the room and literally blew it out in one puff like a birthday candle.

    Good thing there's one person in the relationship who doesn't freak out under pressure! And if our complex burns down i promise I won't breathe a word of this to anyone....