02 March 2013

Flaming Pop-Tarts

My brother-in-law recently posted a picture on Facebook. It was the aftermath of a kitchen fire in one his apartments, courtesy of one his tenants. The picture reminded me of our own run-in with a kitchen fire...

Winter 1989 was a simpler time for the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML and me. We were newlyweds and were working on getting down the cadence of the give and take of marriage. They were exciting, challenging (in a good way) times.

One of the new things newly-married couples work to iron out is the most effective communication methods. I don't care how long you've known each other, the intimacy of marriage requires a reworking of communication. We learned this lesson one morning as we were getting ready for the day.

On that fateful morning, I was in the bathroom of our apartment in a four-plex in Orem and I recall distinctly that I was shaving. We were paying the princely sum of $275 a month for said apartment and we felt we were living in the lap of luxury. Looking back on it, it really was a nice place. My beautiful bride was in the kitchen/laundry room (yep the washer/dryer served as additional counter space since they were in the kitchen) making breakfast. My breakfast of choice that morning were two delicious and fairly toxic Pop-Tarts. Anyway, as I struggled with the chore of shaving, I heard SML calling me into the kitchen, 'Honey, can you come here, please?' I responded, 'In a second,' as I battled my morning beard. A couple of seconds later, I heard again, 'Honey, please can you come to the kitchen?' 'Just a sec!' was my response. Then I heard this, 'Honey, the toaster is on fire. Can you please come to the kitchen?' Wait, what? Fire. Did she say fire? So I bolted from the bathroom, clad in my towel, and ran the six steps to the kitchen to see something like this:
Indeed, the Pop-Tarts were meeting a fiery doom and the flames were getting close to the curtains over the window. Now a reasonable person would immediately douse the flames. Not me. Nope, I chose that moment to turn to my wife and argue why her entreaties for me to come into the kitchen had not been more urgent. As the toaster is burning, with a half-shaven face and in my towel, I opt to freak out because this wonderful woman had not panicked. She was able to quickly redirect my attention to the flaming toaster. My solution was to yank the thing out of the socket and toss it on to our snow-covered stoop. Flames were put out and the burnt carcass of my breakfast cooled off in the snow.

I started to cool off too, realizing my wife had done nothing wrong. She's not one to panic. She's not one to yell. She's very even-keeled and that was one of the things that attracted me to her. She was, and is, an amazing anchor to me. So the flaming Pop-Tarts taught me a lesson or two that morning. And by the way, to this day, I won't toast a Pop-Tart. No way. no how. Now the fact that I am still eating Pop-Tarts at my age is a whole other discussion topic...

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