Even when large disasters are going on in other parts of the world, I can’t remain calm and watch it on television like other people. Instead, I always try to sympathize by having a mini disaster of my own.
We were at the grocery store when I spotted something that looked good, fresh unbaked pizza. It would make a quick supper when we got home, so I tossed it in the cart. I was sure fresh pizza would taste much better than frozen and be quicker than a carry-out pizza.
At home I removed the plastic wrap, the oven buzzer went off and I was ready to put the pizza in. Boy, they were not kidding when they said large. This was a really big pizza. I have a large pizza pan, but the directions said to put it directly on the oven rack.
My son cooks them that way, but usually the cheese drips onto the bottom of the oven, makes a big mess, and I get mad at him. I decided to give it a try anyhow. What I didn’t realize was how limp an unfrozen pizza would be.
When I removed the cardboard and started to put it in the hot oven, the sides flopped down and cheese tumbled to the bottom of the oven. I grabbed a dishcloth to wipe it up, but it was too late. Once the cheese hit the oven it was there to stay. It bubbled, melted and started to burn.
What to do?
The oven is already a mess, I figured, so I might as well let the pizza bake. It only had to bake 12-15 minutes. I could shut the oven door and keep the smoke inside. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Who knew that ovens are not air tight? The smoke started leaking out and the kitchen quickly filled up.
“What’s going on?” asked my son.
“I made a huge mess in the oven,” I grumbled.
“Well, at least it wasn’t me this time,” he grinned.
“Open the door,” I fussed, “Before the smoke alarm goes off. And lock the cats in the bedroom before they run outside.”
The open door didn’t help much and about that time the smoke alarm sounded at an ear-splitting volume. We used to have the kind of alarm you could take the battery out of when this happened and it would stop. Don’t ask me how I know.
Our fancy new smoke alarm, however, is part of a home security system and you have to know the code to turn it off.
“What’s the code?” No one could remember.
The security intercom came on. “What’s your emergency?”
“There is no emergency — we can’t remember the code.”
We remembered the password for accidental alarms, which at least stopped security from sending the police, fire truck, bomb squad and swat team, but we couldn’t remember the code to turn the dang fire alarm off.
We frantically punched in every code we could think of: the phone number, the bankcard pin number, our license plate, my email password, my blood pressure reading, and my mother’s maiden name. Nothing worked.
“What’s the code?” We asked the security operator.
“We don’t have your code, only the homeowner knows.”
Oh, great, the alarm continued to blast like a fire truck on meth, and no one knew the code to turn it off.
What happens now? Do we have to listen to this all night… or forever?
Finally, in a brilliant flash of pure desperation, I thought I remembered the code.
“Try this!” I said, yelling the number.
It worked! Blessed silence.
After administering CPR to myself, my heartbeat returned. I figured we might as well eat the pizza after all the trouble it had caused.
The house smelled worse than Pizza Hut for three days, I had to clean the oven, the neighbors think we are terrorists, and the cats now have only eight lives left.
The pizza was actually pretty good, but I don’t think I’ll be making another one any time soon. From now on we will just order carry-out.
Copyright 2013 Sheila Moss