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Setting My Lunch on Fire

I’m having a string of bad luck. My printer/scanner/copier died last weekend, and I have over eighty pages I need to print by this coming Sunday. As I mentioned in my last blog post, I fell up the stairs of the church at my cousin’s wedding straight into the preacher, who thankfully caught me. My homeowners insurance nearly doubled this year, and I had to scramble to find another company before my mortgage payment increased by $155.00 a month. All of that is discouraging, but Tuesday took the cake.

I bring my lunch to work every day, which saves me a ton of money. Oftentimes, my noon meal requires cooking before I can eat it. Such was the case on Tuesday when things went horribly awry. During the span of roughly ten minutes, I solidified my office nickname, Hurricane. I was cooking my lunch at work when I nearly burned the building down.

I put my hotdog on the stove to boil, and I placed a potato in which I had poked several holes in our new, super powerful microwave. I set the timer for ten minutes. That’s the minimum amount of time my microwave at home takes to cook a potato. It’s usually closer to fifteen minutes before my machine gets a spud cooked.

I went back to my desk to finish the report I was doing while my lunch cooked. Our building is small. In reality, my desk is probably less than fifty feet from the microwave, but it’s separated by two walls. I didn’t feel I was really leaving anything unattended because I was so close. With only a thirty minute lunch break, I didn’t want to spend any of my eating time cooking.

I was making good progress on my report when I heard the smoke alarm in the hallway go off. I jumped out of my chair and headed that way just before I heard Tom yell, “Margarite, you’re on fire!”

I ran to our little kitchen nook in the hallway where I found my potato had burst into flames with three minutes left on the timer. In the forty years I’ve been cooking, I’ve never seen anything do that. I launched myself at the microwave, turned it off, punched my hand into a hot pad, and jerked the flaming potato from the appliance. As I was rushing it outside, three of my coworkers returned from their various meetings in time to see the flames die. Of course, the universe provided me with an audience for my mishap. Embers were still gently cascading from my poor spud when I dropped it in some mud in the parking lot.

I set up a fan in the hallway, facing the propped open side door to blow the smoke out of the building. Then I scrubbed the soot coating the inside of our microwave. It didn’t all come off, but the machine doesn’t smell like smoke, so I’m calling it a success. I placed a box of baking soda inside, just to be safe.

Of course, my coworkers are all teasing me about my potato now. That’s okay. I can take it. I’m just thankful that my potato was the only casualty. I will tell you one thing, though. I brought a bologna sandwich and salad for the lunch the next day, even though our microwave still works just fine. It will be a long time before I eat a baked potato again.

I seem to have a black cloud hanging over my head, but I still have many reasons to be thankful. There are silver linings to all of the above. A friend gave me his old printer, which hopefully still works. I’m waiting on the ink I ordered to find out. The preacher and I both remained on our feet at the top of the stairs instead of tumbling down to the bottom and getting hurt. I found another insurance company for my home that is saving me nearly $700.00 from the insurance company I’ve had for sixteen years and never filed a claim. My mortgage payment will still increase, but not as much. No one was hurt in my hot potato debacle. The building didn’t burn down. Even so, I feel like I need to go buy a rabbit’s foot.

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