I was baking yesterday for the small group trip to a cabin… Cheesecake and fudge… And to top it off I made nice supper for Patrick. That and I almost had a stroke. A figurative one, not a real one.
While the cheesecake was cooking, I smelled burning but nothing was burning. Then, a couple hours later I turned on the oven for supper and suddenly it started smoking. Profusely. As I tore over to turn off the oven to turn it off/investigate, the smoke detector went off.
Our smoke detector is electric, so you can’t just pop the battery out and be done with it. So, I had to climb a chair to hit the reset button… All the while flapping and screaming because of the noise.
I go back into my now smoke filled kitchen and open the window and the door… And the smoke detector goes off again. More flapping and screaming. I manage to reset it and look in the oven (at some point here, I am pretty sure I deduced it was not flaming before I wandered around doing the other stuff).
Other than smoke, there is nothing, no food chunk, no pan. A mystery. Except for a burnt splotch on the bottom. What was it? How did it get there?
And then the smoke detector goes off again. More screaming and flapping. Then I hear through the wall, “What in blazes are you doing over there?” The landlord. Oh, too funny.
I explain I was cooking and the oven was smoking. He laughs at me.
So, now I contemplate not cooking, but when I start the oven again it does not smoke… Just faint burning smell. Whatever it was is not smoking anymore.
So, I make supper. There were no more incidents. Though, I do need to clean the oven (which really means Patrick needs to clean the oven because the cleaner makes me wheeze).
Growing up, the smoke detector was a sign supper was ready. I still hated it. Yelling was often involved. But, it could be sedated with battery removal. My mom really liked things well done, especially garlic bread (not intentionally always, though. And now, I am the same way. Problem is that I still react to the smoke detector the same way I did when I was 4.
One of my friends taught his kids to sing “Mommy set the house on fire and its been burning since the world’s been turning,” whenever she sets off the smoke detector to the tune of “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel. I think that is awesome. Patrick wants to teach our kids the same version for me… Because it just seems to happen. And I usually freak out.
I am grateful for smoke detectors. They save lives. But, like my pager, they induce upon me additional stress that I don’t need when something appears to be burning or not burning for that matter and I am trying to deal with it.
Things in life are similar, though. We are dealing with the obvious problem and meanwhile something ridiculous is trying to draw your attention away. At least that is how it works with me. One thing happens and more things pile on. Things that are important, but not at that point, however they are just so annoying, you have to fix them.
Sometimes, the devil is like the smoke detector. Distracting us from the real issue. Alerting us, but not in a positive way, just inducing panic instead of helping with the actual problem. We have to drown out the noise and focus on the real issue at hand. Not get distracted or pulled away. It is not always easy to do. It may feel pretty terrible. It may not be what we want to do. But it is what we need to do.
Other times, the smoke detector is our wake up call. The thing that jolts us away from doing one thing to escape to safety or correct a problem. In that situation, it is like God. Protecting us. Not in the way we want or desire, but in the best way He can. Which, is really the best way. Nothing better than a terrifying alarm to make sure one is up and moving.
I value my smoke detector. Just not after I reset it. Again and again. Or when the power is out and it beeps intermittently just so you know it is operating on battery reserve. And keeps you up all night. Then, it just gets to seem evil.