I blame it all on spring fever. The days are longer and warmer, and I’m feeling downright chirpy.
So, of course, I decided to move my living room furniture. For women, cleaning out the nest and rearranging the twigs is a springtime genetic requirement. The other day, the urge hit, and I pushed and pulled until all the living room furniture was resituated. Then, surveying the change and deciding it wasn’t quite right, I strained and heaved again and then reassessed the new look, which still wasn’t exactly perfect.
I repeated this 12 times, until my furniture circled the room and ended up back in its former arrangement.
At least I don’t have a husband to roll his eyes at me.
That done, I looked for other nest-neatening tasks and decided to purge a three-year buildup of account statements, bill stubs and purchase receipts. I attacked my files and accumulated a two-foot-high stack of paper.
This is when the trouble started. You see, I have a paper shredder, but a tabletop one, and I envisioned my petite shredder choking on the tower of paper. Not to mention the hassle of emptying it 300 times in the process.
That’s when the gallon of gas in my garage, the chimenea in my patio and the box of matches in my pantry converged into a brilliant plan: I would soak the papers in gas, load them into the outdoor fireplace, and toss a match into the mix. The fireplace was made for fires, after all, so what could go wrong?
The answer was the atomic bomb-like fireball that blew me back 20 feet. Holy cow, who knew a little gasoline would explode like that! I fingered my forehead with shaking hands to make sure I still had eyebrows.
The neighbors must have been alarmed at seeing flames leaping above my roofline and called the fire department.
I was stirring the blaze with a hoe, keeping my distance from the 3,000-degree oven inside, when the fire truck rumbled to the curb out front. For an instant I actually thought, “Wow, I wonder where the fire is?” before realizing the “fire” was the conflagration at the end of my hoe.
Four firefighters clumped into my backyard patio to assess the emergency. They found a middle-age woman in a scorched bathrobe, her face charcoaled with soot, hoeing a smoking bowl of molten paper, ashes falling like snow.
Naturally, I had to endure a lecture, but seeing no actual burned flesh, and my bucket of water at the ready, they departed, leaving me with a warning and my smoldering fire.
After they left, I realized the smoke-blackened chimenea goes nicely with my wrought-iron patio furniture. When it cools, I’ll move it to the other corner and rearrange the chairs.