I set my entire oven on fire.

Oh no.  I didn’t just kinda set my oven on fire.  I mean the whole inside, contents and all went up in a blaze of glory.  And I did it.  All by myself.

Let me rewind.  I’m in full-blown Martha Stewart mode.  I have just put the last of the onion and rosemary in the crockpot with my roast.  My plan?  To slow cook it and my vegetables all night and through the next day.  I sure am proud of myself at this point because I love my roasts and making them makes me feel very, well I don’t know, domestic.  And since I obviously won’t be eating that tonight, I also decided to bake some brussels sprouts with a side of butternut squash.  I think to myself, what a fine little lady I am to make all this goodness for myself.  Oh and the turkey.  I forgot the roasted turkey.  Anyway, everything was going fine.  Just. Like. Normal. 

While I’m tying up some loose ends around the kitchen my phone rings.
It’s Leon wanting to chat me up about something.  So we talk and gab and everything is fine and dandy.  That is until black smoke begins to pour out of my oven.  I don’t mean gray smoke, I mean BLACK smoke.  I’ll spare you the language that flew out of these dainty lips, but it wasn’t pretty.

I, of course, rushed off the phone with Leon and threw open the kitchen window.
And from there, it’s all a blur.

I’d like to tell you that I was the hero, remaining calm and collected as I methodically thought out the next appropriate course of action.  But since I can’t even remember what the hell I did, something tells me that there was nothing methodical about those next three minutes of my life.

You see, in hunting for a fire extinguisher, I discover I do not own one.  And by “own one” I mean, I thought every apartment comes stocked with one.  Like the little firebird-prevention-fairy swoops in prior to every tenant arriving to ensure that all extinguishers are in place and ready to prevent serious catastrophe.   But nope, I think someone must have killed my firebird-prevention-fairy cause I was left with nothing but vague memories of what not to do in case of an oven fire and NONE of what to do.

In a fury I almost dialed 911.
Now, you can sit there, safely behind your pious computer screens and think to yourself, “of course it would have been totally reasonable to call the fire department, Laura Katherine.  Even if it was a false alarm.  They see this thing all the time.  It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

But no.  I’ve called the fire department before.  I opted to be that type of hero and I was left with (5) fire trucks, building evacuations and 20 firemen scaling walls.  All for a little elevator smoke.  So forgive me if I don’t want to face those very same firemen again and this time, with a brussel sprout fire. 

So who do I call?  My landlord.   He lives down the hall from me.  And here is where my pride is totally and utterly compromised.  My landlord’s name is Mark.  I store his number in my phone under the A’s.  “A” for “apartment manager”.  I know this.  I know exactly where his name is positioned in with the other A’s; I use it frequently.  But tonight?  When my oven is breathing wild amounts of flames in every direction and my cats are panicking because of course, I’m panicking?  I have no idea where he is in my phone.

I finally find him and recall me yelling into the phone, 
“Mark! Mark!  Help!!  My oven is on FIRE!  It’s BY-YED!!”

I’m southern. 
That is no secret.
And of my southern drawl, I am quite proud.  But this?  In this moment?  In this way?  To be the southern damsel in distress, the opposite of cool, calm and collected like I prefer to picture myself to be?  Screaming “BY-YED!” instead of “bad” into a telephone?  Oh no.  Certainly you must have me confused for a different Laura Katherine.

Because you see, this Laura Katherine is amazing during times of crisis.  This Laura Katherine has made many a living staying calm and fixing crises for others while they freak out from the stress.  But oh no, not me.  In times of stress, my adrenals do marvelous things with my norepinephrine production.  Things that I’m sure doctors would love to study.  I. Stay. Calm.  Even when I find myself in full-blown fight or flight mode, I stay calm.  I have been this way for as long as I can remember.

But tonight?  When the mood is right and the fire is in full flame? What do I do?  I scream “by-yed” and plead for someone to help me.

And I get it, we all need help from time to time.  But when my help comes rushing in with a water bottle and cozy pajamas, I have to wonder if I haven’t made a grave mistake. 

Fortunately at this point, the fire has died way down due me smothering it out.  I mean, I did reach in there, braving the whipping flames to rescue my new casserole dish and what’s left of my brussels sprouts.  I mean it was bad.  And my voice was even doing the “I have too much adrenaline flowing through my body so my voice is wobbling all over the place” thing.

So Mark puts out, what is at this point, a minor fire with his water bottle and then bear hugs me to his chest.  There I am.  Almost 31 years old, resting my head on the oversized breasts of my dear, sweet landlord.  I love this man.  Gosh I do.  But man.

As he went to exit my apartment, he turns back to me with a grim face and says “well you really are getting that new stove now aren’t you?”

Yes, yes I suppose I am.  But really, it wasn’t that serious.  Though you absolutely would not be able to tell it by the state of my kitchen right now.  My oven is black and my cats are hiding.

But hey, guess who still has a roast cooking…

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