Do Not Try This At Home

I obviously cannot multi-task.

“I can’t talk right now,” I said to my younger daughter when she called Sunday night. “Apparently I’m having a fire.”

Of course, she completely understood as I explained to her that the roll of paper towels I’d put on the dining-room chandelier to dry out had started to glow and smell like a campfire when I forgot it was there and turned on the lights. It was on the chandelier because it had gotten damp under the kitchen sink and I wanted a safe place to dry it out because I am too frugal (cheap?) to throw away a perfectly good roll of paper towels. The paper towels were under the kitchen sink instead of out on the counter where normal people keep their paper towels because if a roll of paper towels is left out in our house the cats immediately attack it and reduce it to shreds since obviously paper towels are a Major Threat in Cat World. The roll had gotten damp because I had over-enthusiastically washed dishes and water dripped down the cabinets and into the under-sink area. Ironically, of course, I had to douse the smoldering paper-towel roll in the very same sink and throw it away after all. So there you go. And luckily my husband was watching TV (football, of course) and didn’t notice — or I would have had some explaining to do.

Naturally, the thing that really disturbs me about this whole episode is not that I’d forgotten the paper-towel roll was on the chandelier when I turned the lights on or that my husband was so engrossed in TV he didn’t notice smoke but that my daughter was not surprised any of this happened. To me.

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