“Mommy, something smells bad.”
“No, it’s not a bad smell. I’ve put a pineapple casserole in the oven.”
“But something smells bad.”
“Please stop saying that. I’m baking my contribution to the Easter menu.”
“Tyler, something smells bad.”
“Tuck, I just asked you to stop saying that.”
“I wasn’t talking to you. I was telling Tyler.” A harmless observation, then.
I had baked Scalloped Pineapple, an Easter favorite from Robb’s side of the family. It’s the perfect dish to accompany an Easter ham. A sweet casserole of sugary, pineappley goodness.
I tripled the recipe, since we were joining a crowd for this holiday. The hostess in me can’t bear to bring ‘just enough.’ There has to be more to share and leave behind.
But in retrospect, it would have been smart to put the tripled recipe into two pans for baking. My casserole baking stone overfloweth. Onto the bottometh of the oveneth. A nice sugary glaze.
“Mommy? There’s smoke coming from the grill over the oven.”
Couple that statement with the beeping smoke alarm and the screeching siren of my new security system. A security system that alerts the fire department if there is a smoke-related emergency.
The boys ran around the house opening windows. My house became a mess of bath towels, as they had flailed them all about. I took the casserole out of the oven (no flames, just a hearty, thick smoke), and turned on fans to ventilate. I might have even huffed and puffed.
Still with the beeping and the screeching alarms.
All of this is new to me, this technology system that sets things in motion. I was busily trying to handle the situation, which is why I missed the call from the security system to ask me if everything was okay. I’m sure I thought, Whoever is calling me, you’re going to have to wait. Now is not a good time.
And when I didn’t answer, the security assumed fairly that everything was not okay. They didn’t call off the dogs. They sent them straight to us.
Meanwhile, solutions came to me one by one. I turned off the oven. I entered the security code to stop the screeching. I carried a bistro chair up the stairs so I could climb up and turn off the smoke alarm. Which seemed smarter than climbing the bookcase and cutting wires, all willy-nilly.
Just as the alarms quieted, I heard sirens.
“Please, God, be with the family who is dealing with an emergency on Easter morning. Please send that fire truck to someone else who really needs them, not to my house.” I said a few other words in my head.
No dice. All the hubbub was mine.
The fire truck pulled right up to my driveway. I met them in the yard, with a friendly smile and two thumbs up. “It’s okay, gentlemen. Just an unfortunate casserole situation.”
“What kind of casserole?”
“Well, that sounds delicious. Mind if we come in and make sure everything is okay?”
“Come right on in.”
They came in the front door in all their gear. Tucker greeted them and said, “My mom did it.”
The firemen checked out the scene, deemed us safe, and complimented me on being very settled in after less than three weeks of residence.
Yes, thank you. It was a team effort.
Just as the firemen pulled away (and this doesn’t happen subtly), a neighbor came rushing to my door. “I know this is a horrible time to introduce myself, but I’ve been wanting to meet you ever since you moved in, and I just hadn’t made it over here yet. But when I saw the fire trucks, I thought, oh no. She’s probably lost her Easter menu. So I wanted to see if you need to use my ovens or if you’d like to join us for our meal.”
Now see? That is thoughtfulness embodied. This neighborhood blows me away with their hospitality.
The casserole survived. It has been hereby renamed: Five Alarm Scalloped Pineapple.
And I have established my identity as the new girl in the neighborhood. You know, the one with the fire truck on Easter.