In our first few years of marriage, Amy spent a lot of evenings at home by herself while Jordan coached at the soccer fields to help give back to a game that had given him so much, and also earn a little extra money for our camera gear fund. Amy held down the fort, took care of the laundry and thanked her lucky stars for Meredith Grey, who kept her company while she graded fourth grade spelling tests. It was a typical Thursday night, and she’d placed her go-to home-alone dinner (a cheese quesadilla) in the toaster oven, just as the screen on her phone lit up. “I’m outside!” the text message read. Dressed in house shorts and a t-shirt, Amy threw on some flip flops and headed out to her friend Teri’s truck. Teri was dropping off a key for Amy, but it’d been a few days since they’d seen each other, and as girls do, they couldn’t help but start chatting and catching up on everything that had been happening. One topic quickly lead to the next, each laugh bringing up a new subject to discuss. Lost in conversation and loving their time together, they found themselves still standing in the driveway under the night sky without a care in the world thirty minutes later. Just two friends catching up on life. Small, unimportant things, but life things, like when Teri mentioned, “Yeah, I just finished up dinner and–“
Amy’s heart stopped. Her eyes widened.
“Dinner?” Her heart started to pound. She gasped and shouted, “DINNER!!!“
“I gotta go!!!” she said in a panic as she sprinted back towards the door.
She flung open the door. And that’s when she saw it.
Smoke. Black smoke. A dark cloud of wispy mist and a smell of charcoal. Like a cartoon character whose feet were moving TOO fast, she stayed in exactly the same place for a split second as her feet tried to bring her into the abyss. She must have kicked up a storm of dust before she got enough traction to move an inch. She covered her mouth in horror when she stepped inside. Unable to see much of anything, she bolted from room to room — starting in the kitchen to turn off the toaster oven — opening every window to let out the smoke that had invaded each room and enveloped the ceiling like on an overcast day. She turned on every fan and opened every door as the smoke floated in every direction. You guys, it was like a scene from any great firefighter movie. All she needed was a helmet and mask.
Thank goodness she didn’t get bronchitis. Ain’t nobody to time for that.
Once the smoke started its gradual departure from house and the proverbial (and literal) dust began to clear, Amy (ashamedly) crept back into the kitchen to confront the smoke’s source.
And when she saw it. She gasped, reached for the oven mitts and then couldn’t help but laugh at herself. This would happen to her. Jordan prepares (and has always prepared) all the food in our house and she’s only ever been allowed in the kitchen for things that don’t involve knives, screws, or anything that runs on gas or electric (which basically limits her to pre-popped popcorn, chocolate, and cereal). In fact, she routinely describes the kitchen as “not my natural habitat.” And oh, Internet, it’s not. It’s really not. And there was no better proof of that than what she pulled out of the toaster over that night. Among the billows of smoke, she saw it.
Nothing fancy. Not blackened chicken or smoked salmon or charbroiled beef. Certainly not rocket science.
Nope. There it was in all its glory. A pitch-black, charred-to-the-core quesadilla. And what has now become permanent evidence that the kitchen will be off-limits for Amy from here to eternity.
Want to catch up on The Pink Slip Files? You can read them all right here:
Intro: What Are the Pink Slip Files?
No. 1: Failing Pre-Marital Class & Otter DNA
No. 2: Sink or Swim
No. 3: Turning Off the Lights
No. 4: Leave a Message at the Tone
No. 5: Chocolates, Mystery Shows & Honeymooning
No. 6: Cutting Coupons & Wal-Mart Jeans
No. 7: Paper Chains of Memories
No. 8: Dancing on Bar Tops
No. 9: Man’s Best (Feline) Friend
No. 10: Confessions of a Waffle Fry
No. 11: What’s So Important About Shoelaces?
No. 12: Breaking Records… Like It’s 1924
No. 13: Why We’re Not as Classy as We Thought
No. 14: A Letter to My Only Starbucks Lover
No. 15: The Night We Killed Someone (Kind Of)
No. 16: Lord, It’s a Fire!