Smell That Smoke

On Mother’s Day many families choose to grill something for Mom and a commonly heard phrase is, “Smell that smoke.” It invokes memories of grilled pork steaks (if you live in the Midwest), grilled chicken, or maybe even grilled steaks. They are all typical b-b-q fare where I live.

But on this Mother’s Day, “smell that smoke” took on a whole new meaning. My son and his fiancee came over after church. I started cooking some ground beef on the stove because it needed to be used, and I thought I could fix spaghetti or sloppy joes–something quick and easy. My son quickly informed me that they were going to take me to lunch and so we started talking about where to go where there would not be a long wait. We have a Townsquare Pub close to me that serves good food, so I called to see what the wait time would be. She indicated that right at that time there was no wait. So we got in my car and off we went.

We were seated in the restaurant fairly quickly and had a leisurely meal. When we arrived back home, I noticed a funky smell in my garage, but could not quite identify what it was. Then I heard the smoke alarms blaring. When I opened the door to the house, thick, gray smoke billowed out. Unwise I know, but I quickly ran in and realized I had forgotten to turn off the stove. I turned it off, and ran through my house and threw open windows in every room. My wiser and anxious son kept reminding me, “Mom, you need to get out of the house. You have breathing problems already and the smoke will make it worse.” He was right, but sometimes in a situation you do not stop to think through the wisest course of action!

Luckily I had put a lid on the pan, and it created a barrier for the charred meat, but the odors left by the burned pan and smoke were just about unbearable. The fire department did come out and checked for any hot spots and deemed the house okay to be in.

But the smell. It has permeated everything! And much to my dismay my insurance will not pay on the accident because there was no soot or ash. I guess I could have emptied all of the ash out of the pan, but I did not think that would be a very good thing integrity wise. It did not matter that every single thing on my main level must be washed. It did not matter that my furniture and rugs and light fixtures will need cleaned or the walls will need washed and probably painted. It is not covered. Period.

Leaving cabinet doors open to help clear out the smell. Even with washing every dish and cleaning all the surfaces, the smell lingers.

So I am now awaiting quotes from the restoration companies (that in itself takes a week to a week and a half) and then I will see how much my forgetfulness has cost me! It will always be a Mother’s Day to remember.

But never fear, I do have some things I am thankful for. I am thankful the pan did not catch on fire, spreading quickly to the rest of my house. I really think that was only God’s doing since we were gone quite a while for lunch.

I am thankful I have a finished basement and am able to sleep there since it was spared the smoke damage. I could have stayed with any number of people, but then it would be a hassle coming back and forth to clean at home.

I am thankful for friends and family who have helped me with cleaning.

I am thankful that I have a new awareness of having too much stuff, despite having pared down when I initially moved here. So I have started a give-away pile.

I am grateful that we had two days of moderate weather so I could initially open my windows, as opposed to the record high we had on Tuesday.

But most of all I am thankful that God helped me to remember, that after all, it is only stuff that needs cleaned and that is truly not the important things of life.

The Holidays Are Coming

holiday_stress_shutterstock_62603809I love the holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas are two of my favorites. For many people the holidays are a joyous time to be around family and friends, however, for some individuals it is a time of stress and turmoil. For the perfectionist, unrealistic expectations of the perfect house, perfect gifts, and perfect entertainments can take a toll. For the lonely and those who have recently lost loved ones, the holidays can accentuate their very aloneness. For others, the thought of being with certain family members makes them cringe. The reasons for holiday stress are many and varied, but most of us experience it to some degree.

One of the hardest things I have learned is to Let Go of Unreasonable Expectations. Here are some expectations that contribute to stress during the holidays. Continue reading