Thursday, October 31, 2013

When Toasters Talk

My phone gently woke me with the “wave” melody - a melody of quiet simplicity that coaxed the sleep away. Such a lovely way to wake up on a crisp fall day. The sky remained dark - daylight savings wouldn’t end for several more days. I waited, hoping the sun would lighten the sky before I had to crawl out of bed. I gave up and headed for the bathroom, flipping on the shower and letting it warm while I brushed my teeth. I was surprised that it had barely passed “tepid” when I stepped in several minutes later. I showered anyway, hurrying in the not very warm water and trying to figure out if I could squeeze a service call for the hot water heater into my already busy day. 
I stepped out to the sound of the coffee pot gurgling and sputtering downstairs. I smiled, coffee would help after the disappointing shower. It occurred to me that I didn’t remember setting the automatic start on the coffee pot last night. But I must have, or it wouldn’t be brewing. 
A nauseating smell of melting wire and scorched coffee wafted up to my room. That’s not brewing, that’s burning. I raced down the stairs, half dressed and wet-headed, sliding in my bare feet across the slippery tile. 
Why is the tile slick? The thought barely registered as I reached for coffee pot’s power cable. As my hand made contact with the cord a shock flashed through my arm. I let go, jumping back from the power of the surge, shaking the sting away. 
The slick tile caught me off balance again, and I fell this time. Water on the floor. A puddle in front of the dishwasher. Oh crap, another repair call, just what I needed. I pulled myself up using the table - darn good thing I wasn’t standing in the puddle when I went for the coffee cord, I thought. That short could have killed me if I’d been standing just a couple inches to the left. 
I considered how to get the coffee pot unplugged before it set the whole place on fire. An oven mitt might help. But my wet feet and the growing puddle of water was making any contact with electricity unappealing. In another minute I wouldn’t be able to get near it.
I grabbed a couple towels and threw them on the puddle, pulled on my rubber soled boots and the oven mitt and tried again. I managed to grab the cord and yank it out of the wall, which silenced the coffee pot. I looked inside - no water and no coffee - a miracle it hadn’t caught fire. Who could have turned it on? Could I have done that last night and just forgot to put the water and coffee in? The smoke hung in the air - the nasty odor of melted electrical circuitry. I dropped the pot near the garage door - I’d throw it out on my way to work. With no coffee, a cold shower and a broken dishwasher, this day just couldn’t get any worse. 
Back in the kitchen, a putrid odor stung my nose, my eyes teared. It was coming from the fridge. Smelled like a dissected cat. I tried to get closer, but the liquid from the dishwasher was now a thick, viscous slime. It looked toxic - a green goo reflected in the mirrored surfaces of all my kitchen appliances. 
My pocket shook and I twitched, startled. I pulled out my phone and looked at it. 
“What can I help you with?” it asked me.
Somehow I must have hit the home key and activated Siri. Thank goodness the phone survived my fall in the slime. I clicked the close button and pondered my options. The phone vibrated and lit up again.
“What can I help you with?”
“My fridge stinks, my dishwasher is oozing slime and my coffee pot almost burned the house down.” I told the phone, giving in to my rising panic. I didn’t expect a response, but it felt good to vent.
“They are trying to kill you,” the phone replied. “And the oven is in on it, too. Run.”
The door to the garage was blocked by the coffee pot, which was hissing and spitting where I’d left it. Unplugging it hadn’t silenced it, but I had just cut off my best escape route. Flames were shooting out from the lid, like lightning bolts in my direction. I ducked around the island, considering the path to my back door. I’d have to cross in front of the double oven. It was behaving normally, but I believed my phone. Too risky. The oven couldn’t be trusted. 
“Why?” I asked as I slithered in the slime around the kitchen table. 
“Jealous,” the phone answered. “They hate our relationship. They want you to notice them and care about them.”
“That’s crazy - I use them all the time.”
The microwave door flew open and hit my elbow. My phone flew out of my hand landing in the green slime.
“No! No!” I tried to grab the phone, but the dishwasher pelted me with enormous globules of goo. I watched, horror-struck as the phone was swept away, and then crushed by my cast iron skillet.
As the phone died, the appliances went quiet. All except for the small toaster. The bread slots spoke to me. 
“Contract cancelled.”
The kitchen burst in applause and wild cheers of joy.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Just Keep Writing

I've been guilty of giving lots of advice lately to my older daughter who is now 16. Despite knowing the futility of repeatedly launching pearls of wisdom (unasked for) at a teen, I keep trying anyway.

One of the best pieces of advice that she and I repeatedly ignore is this - just keep writing. Neil Gaiman, one of my favorite kid/young adult authors of sci fi-like books says it best with this pic that I am sharing from his blog:

My mantra lately has been - butt in chair, hands on keyboard. It really is that simple. Stop moving stacks of paper from one place to another. Stop running errands that are just an excuse to ignore the WIP.

If you'd like to read some of Neil Gaiman's thoughts on writing - you can find his blog here: