Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Perils of Toast

My family doesn’t have the latest appliances. But we do have a bitchin’ toast detector.

Really it’s a smoke detector, a gift from our old insurance company, the one I dropped because the agent was rude. But it’s rather unhandily located near the toaster. And I don’t like wimpy toast. Whenever the smoke detector goes off, we’ve taken to announcing, “Toast is done!”

We discovered we can have our toast and eat it too if we fan the toaster. This became my excuse to pile mail on the center island—ads and other odd pieces of mail make handy toast-fanners.

When I begin fanning the toaster, the dog gets very happy. This is because he knows I am not a very accomplished toast-fanner, and the toast detector often goes off, anyway. Some time ago I took to rewarding him with a dog biscuit whenever that horrible noise started because I supposed it hurt his ears—heck, it hurts mine. I also thought it might be extra insurance. If we ever had a real fire, I figure the dog would come and wake us up if only to get that biscuit. He may not be Lassie, but he sure is a pig.

Only now the dog is deaf, so he assumes any fanning at all means he gets a dog biscuit. If a stranger were to witness the Making of the Toast, they would see quite an ordeal involving fans and barking and very loud alarms.

Then the other day, I smelled a strong burning smell. I followed it clear to the other end of the house and discovered that the microwave popcorn that Santa put in the kids’ stockings catches fire. (Note to Santa: splurge next year and buy the non-spontaneously combustible brands.) My son got the fire out right away, but the smoke smell was still strong.

The whole thing confirmed a suspicion I’ve had: The smoke detector remained perfectly silent. The microwave is located right next to the toaster. And the dog slept through everything because no dog biscuits were involved.

Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand. ~Kurt Vonnegut

P.S. Be sure to check out my friend Becky's book giveaway!


  1. Tammy: Hilarious! And I LOVE the Kurt Vonnegut quote!! And thanks for mentioning my blog! :)

  2. "He may not be Lassie, but he sure is a pig." You are a humorist, a wonderful essayist and a day brightener.

  3. That means a lot coming from talented writers like you two! Thanks!!

  4. Tee-hee! That is some toasty toast indeed...and a great story!

  5. I appreciate it, Pat! Thanks for stopping by!

  6. My relationships with toast, toaster ovens, smoke detectors, mail, dogs and dog biscuits are now forever changed. Perhaps your smoke detector would like to meet mine - mine goes off every time I make pizza. The cats scatter but the boys know the pizza's about done.

  7. Omg! Yours must be the pizza-detecting model!! Who's your insurance agent?!


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