Where to begin? Hmmm. . . . I became a mother twelve and a half years ago . . . There've been quite a few times when it seemed like perhaps my children weren't suited to my calling in life. (I'm suited to it; it's the kids who don't get it. Amateurs.) For instance there was the great three-year-old-with-a-tool-kit debacle of 2004. (One deadbolt down, four stripped screws.) There was the poo on the playground incident. There were many, many, many other occurances when I figured surely I was on some cosmic version of Candid Camera. (Seriously, if there is some Celestial gag reel being made for the Judgement Day cast party I will be a major star in it.)
But today. . . . Today makes me wonder if my true calling in life is as an Alpine hermit. The quiet. The solitude. The distinct lack of "Mom--he's breathing too loud!" It would be just me and the mountain goats, and between you and me, mountain goats smell a whole lot better than my kids sometimes do.
Deep cleansing breath . . . in . . . out . . . once more. . . .
Okay. I'm steeled and ready. Today. [Deep breath.] We have a microwave. For some inexplicable reason it is a constant source of deep fascination for my children, which I can understand on some level. In go ice shards of a pasty hue, and in five short minutes golden savory chicken chunks emerge. (That's usually what our amazing piece of modern technology and design is used for: chicken chunks. Six thousand years of human development, and we employ its pinnacle for non-discernible poultry parts. Our civilization is doomed.)
As soon as they can teeter on a step stool (or a series thereof), my children want to press the microwave's grease-smeared touchpad. They yearn to hear its hum. They itch to control the source of all yumminess. And then they think 60 minutes is an appropriate length of time to melt a slice of cheese onto bread.
So when I returned home from taking a small feminine child to piano lessons and her brothers greeted me from the backyard fence, and the acrid smell of charred electronics wafted from the exhaust fan vent, I had a good idea of what I would find inside.
I was right.
My house was filled with a smell I know from experience won't be eradicated without time, strenuous cleaning, and the help of possibly toxic chemicals. I've turned on every bathroom vent in the house. Bowls filled with white vinegar now dot our interior-scape. And in desperation I pulled out the only smell-masking substance in the house: pine-scented room spray left over from Christmas.
Now my house smells like a forest fire.
I told you so: motherhood is not for wimps.