Distractions are not good for me, especially considering my “mental issues.” Since the TBI, I haven’t been able to multi-task often; and when I can multi-task…things must be simple, without background noise(s), or distracting shiny objects (I am not trying to make a joke; rather, I am überly serious).
Tonight, as I was cooking dinner, HUD informed me that our friend Rae, was going to come by for a few minutes. Because HUD prepared me, I was not at all surprised when she appeared at our open front screen door and walked in.
She was waving and Rae was smiling broadly right before she opened the door and stepped inside. I returned the happy gesture, and smiled at her while gesturing for her to “come on in!”
Rae walked in the front door, and over to me in the kitchen as I was standing in front of the (gas) stove, frying pork chops and boiling ears of corn. I had HUD roll up croissants and put them into the oven (I realize that is a strange combination…but my love asked for the canned croissants). All I had left was to finish frying the okra, and we would have dinner ready to eat when the croissants were finished cooking.
[I think I had water on the stove to get ready to boil for INSTANT mashed potatoes (the brand I buy is actually good. Still, I prefer the real thing, as I planned to purchase real potatoes when I ventured out to go grocery shopping the following day).]
HUD had gone to the restroom, leaving Rae and me in the kitchen with the Princess and Mr. Whiskey. Rae was saying “hello” to Coco and Whiskey as they were excitedly jumping at her feet. She and I were talking to one another about mundane things when I started removing the okra from the iron skillet and putting it onto a paper towel in a covered, glass, dish.
I then began to take the remaining FROZEN breaded okra, and I dumped it all into the frying pan (it was pre-battered, and frozen/stuck together–I didn’t see any use in trying to pry it apart any more than I had already done with the first pan; so I put the ice block of breaded okra into the iron skillet to fry it). I thought nothing of it because I was too focused on conversing with Rae.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this story…I should only concentrate on one thing at a time–especially because I had never cooked FROZEN fried okra previously. The remaining FROZEN okra was stuck together in a big block of coldness.
I proceeded to dump the entire block of FROZEN breaded okra into the iron skillet…of course, within 2 seconds, a large flame ignited. The flame rapidly began a mini indoor bonfire!
As I immediately started to pull the skillet off of the eye; in the same instant, I thought better of it, and began to push the skillet back onto the eye of the stove with the potholder I was present in mind enough to obtain from the nearby drawer. I do not really recall this, but hearing Rae’s recollection of the events causes me to be able to tell this story correctly.
Rae tells this part of the story much better than I feel I will relay it here. She says as the skillet was beginning to travel off of the stove, I was pushing it back (a larger flame had begun to dance in the skillet by now). Rae says that she was watching the skillet inch closer to the edge of the stove, and I just kept pushing it back onto the eye. Rae says that she was thinking:
“WHY WILL IT NOT STAY ON THE STOVE!?”
Rae says as she stood there, witnessing the fire actively start a mini-inferno from the skillet; she was watching in awe/horror, as she was thinking;
“Brandy, just push it back onto the eye! Don’t let the pan fall onto the floor…the whole kitchen is going to catch on fire, then!” (SIC)
As she was standing helplessly behind me; I was expecting Rae to swoop in and save me from the impending horror. Sometime while this was going on, HUD had stepped back into the kitchen. Neither of us women could say anything to HUD; we were both so horrorstruck, that we continued in our quest of doing nothing and saying nothing; yet, assuming that the other person was going to swoop in and save the day, er…night!
By about the third time the skillet, had inched itself forward, I decided to give up my quest and allow it to migrate to the floor. The skillet swiftly fell onto the linoleum floor…
and as Rae reminded me, it was a good thing that the iron skillet fell with the bottom facing up and the contents of the pan on the trapped on the floor underneath it, else we would have had a much larger problem…A FIRE!
As the skillet fell; the fire was actively burning. I watched helplessly, and sort of dumbstruck, as gravity encouraged the pan to travel lower. Even more absurd, I watched it as the fire was still ablaze inside, and I thought:
“Well, it’s hot, and I do not want to burn my face if I pick it up…maybe it won’t burn the linoleum too badly. If it does, HUD is wanting to remodel the kitchen, anyway.”
I assumed that if I were to pick up the skillet; the fire would blaze back up and this time into a much larger area…and burn not only my face but Rae’s face as well. I recall HUD being in the room while this was happening, and he stepped toward the skillet…I thought, “Oh, phew. A man…he’ll take care of this.” Not even one second later, I realized that HUD did not have a way to pick up the skillet (plus, that thought is completely dissimilar to my beliefs).
HUD was standing about 3-4 feet away from the drawer where the pot holders are kept; it was then, I became cognizant of the fact that I WAS STILL HOLDING A POTHOLDER! So, I proceeded to pick up the pan. I felt as if I were a superhero; I admit that I heard a super-hero score resounding in my brain. I was a bit disappointed when HUD &/or Rae did not cheer or at least give me a round of applause when I accomplished the task, and”saved the day;” which made me that much more confused that HUD nor Rae were as excited (relieved) as I was.
This was truly a moment where everything seems as if it is happening incredibly quick, yet the occurrences feel as if they are being dragged through used motor oil as it is happening. My friend, Rae, helped me clean up MY mess before she left. I will forever be grateful to her for that. I do remember telling her that it was not her responsibility to clean up my mess; her reply was something akin to, “Hey, it’s no big deal…I am not going to allow you to pick this up all alone. I mean, I was watching the pan fall!”
Rae stayed a few more minutes…as the two of us were giggling and recounting the events to HUD. I was thanking her, and she was telling me that she did nothing! She insisted that all she had done was prepare to witness the impending fire that we both knew was coming.
I now recall that friend helped me with sewing more than he did cooking in Home Ec….cooking was my female friends mostly). (Only now as I am writing this, the following morning, do I remember that I was cooking the okra with olive oil! Not that it matters now.)
Throughout all of this hub-bub; our babies were staying out of the way. It is only after Rae & I cleaned (even if I was insisting that she leave the mess to me), that they decided to try to eat what I missed when I was sweeping the floor. Needless to say, HUD’s and my appetites were missing when we were settled down enough to eat. So, all of that was for nothing.
I now understand what people say when an ignorant accident occurs by insisting;
“It all happened so fast!”Lessons learned:
- Do not buy pre-made/pre-battered vegetables (even if the vegetables are not able to be found at a curb market or in a friend’s garden because they are not “in season”).
- Friends will understand if I seemingly ignore them while I’m focusing on something…especially if the thing in which I am doing involves FIRE!
- Every time I clean something; be prepared for HUD or myself to dirty it up within a couple of hours (I had just mopped the linoleum in the kitchen and the floor in the living room/hall, as well as the bathrooms earlier today. HUD had walked on the WET kitchen/utility room floors prior to the incident described in this blog).
- Rae is a great friend. I guess you had to be here to understand what prompts me to say that so often in this text.
Yes, HUD, I did write the story and recount what happened; get used to being married to a writer!