Happiness is a Kitchen That’s Not On Fire

The good thing about bad things is that they make you appreciate the good things.
My kitchen caught fire, but everybody here is happy and healthy and I’m slowly getting a clean house out of it, and, oh, yeah, I didn’t die. That’s a lot to be happy about.

What made you happy this week?

75 thoughts on “Happiness is a Kitchen That’s Not On Fire

  1. I’m sorry to hear about the fire but glad everyone’s ok. You’re right about bad things helping us appreciate good things. My mother would have celebrated her 90 BD this week – FB reminded me with a photo I’d posted 5 years ago, a few months before she died. I miss my mom all year round, but particularly this time of year as our birthdays were a couple of weeks apart. But the good things – she would be delighted that I am spending most of my summer working on a flower farm and that her youngest grandson just finished his first year of college.

    This was our second week on campus working on practical components of horticulture. I learned how to use a sod cutter and a rototiller, roll up grass, lay a patio stone walkway and plant garlic. It’s been cool (it snowed for the second week in a row, including on May 1), so the tulips and other spring flowers are blooming slowly – it’s a new surprise everyday in my garden and at the college. I had my first virtual meeting with the historical garden I’m volunteering with and I can’t wait until the current lockdown is over and we can start working.

    DH got his first vaccine this week, which means 2 out of the 3 of us have had one shot. The provincial government has announced everyone over 18 can start getting vaccinated by the end of this month, so DS can also get vaccinated. We have to wait 4 months for the 2nd shot but we may be able to see family and friends this summer.

    1. I could do with you today: I’m digging up about a third of my lawn, but there’s no way I could roll it up. I’m taking out turves 2 x 3 spade’s width, trying to slide the spade under them but ending up with a solid layer of soil attached which I then bash with a fork to remove down to the grass roots, before stacking them back to back to rot down. It’s a much harder job than I anticipated – although that’s quite typical for me.

      Luckily, it’s only a small lawn to start with.

        1. I’m liking everyone’s lawn/sod/turf comments because I feel your pain. I decided to change the shape of my lawn and it is exhausting. Perhaps a lawn that has been compressed by a mechanical digger is not mean to be dug up.

      1. Wow! That’s my technique. Slow, but it works. If I have a lot to do I break it up over a week or two.

      2. You have my sympathies. I killed our lawn with plastic before we dug it up, and even then wound up hiring two guys from the Home Depot parking lot (day laborers) to dig the dead sod up, because it was just too much.

  2. I call it Cleaning By Crisis, when you have to clean because something happened like the kitchen catching on fire, or the bathroom flooding, or ants staging a takeover of the pantry. It’s not fun, but it is thorough.

    1. I know what you mean, Emily. I did an amazing cleanout of YEARS of jars of food and grains and beans and so on, when I discovered the pantry moths. !!!! That was 3-4 years ago, and all has been well since then, but I keep a very close eye on every jar, all the time.

      1. Had an infostation that took months to clear up. Now I freeze flour, etc. for 2-3 days before putting it in the cabinets. Not going through that again.

  3. My second and final batch of indoor seeds coming up, really fast. Looking into the possibilities of extending the season in my bit of the new shared greenhouse. A friend coming over for a rather chilly chat in the garden.

    And nothing needing doing at the dentist. Plus a haircut after six months – so no hair in my eyes!

    1. PS. Feeling really happy to have dug up a third of the lawn without (hopefully) spraining anything. The garden looks much more mine already, and I’m excited about the extra planting space. Rewarded myself with a long, hot aromatherapy bath, in which
      I spent an hour reading.

  4. We are getting a puppy!

    That is all 🙂

    (PS, not a rescue dog, because there are very few in our area or surrounds and we’ve been looking for months. Inside dogs with the energy/stamina to be running partners are impossible; big outside dogs, and chihuahuas, nothing in between. So, a puppy. She’s 3/4 schnauzer, 1/4 poodle).

    1. She comes to us next Sunday, so pictures then. Stand by, Arghers. And wheeeeee we are so excited (well, expect for my partner, he’s not. He’s just resigned, but I’m hoping she’ll win him over).

  5. Scary picture of your fire, so happy you and the rest of the house are fine, if a little smoky.

    I have saved Murderbot for today; very excited to read it, and then go back to read the posts from all of you who already read it.

    I have had a fairly good week, culminating in celebration 1-of-2 for BIL’s birthday, so I had a lovely lunch yesterday and cake for breakfast today. Not that my happiness is driven by food. Ok, some of my happiness is driven by food, but really, home made chocolate cake with chocolate peppermint frosting is a great way to start the day!

  6. Oh, my heavenly days, that fire looks awful. Although it looks contained. Somewhat. What a mess. The worst thing about a fire is the smell left behind. Gaack.

    I have been doing a really pretty thorough clear out of clothes that I haven’t worn in years. The moment I start to waver on “toss or not toss” I stop for a day or two. I am really pretty proud of myself for gaining so much room. Plus, I have been finding stuff (a pair of glasses, a diamond earring) that I’d lost years ago. The earring was in a drawer full of cross stitch stuff and yarn scraps. No idea how it landed there… And found some jewelry which my mother had given me the last time I saw her (she died unexpectedly in October, just peacefully dozed off in front of HGTV in the middle of the night). I’d forgotten she’d given those pieces to me (she wanted to make sure that I got them and not my sisters-in-law).

    Of course, all of this cleaning means that I am procrastinating about something that I should be doing right now, but for which I am facing an emotional hurdle (as usual) at taking those last steps. But I know that after enough procrastination I will do what I need to do (I am more than half-way through it actually, just the last few steps are difficult…).

    But, the sun just came out, my garden is turning green — hostas up 6 inches or so, roses leafed out, wisteria is starting to blossom and we will have a bumper crop of blooms. So, all in all, life is okay.

  7. My happy is that you are safe!!

    We got our second shot yesterday! Arm is sore, but so far only other symptom is a sore back from not being able to turn in my sleep like normal. Will walk the dog and assess how I feel.

    I am committed to getting my display bookshelf organized. Started like 2 weeks ago, dusted yesterday, but am stumbling on displaying the plants. Thought it would be cute, but I dont think the plants will get enough light. Cogitating, but it needs to be done today bc I’m sick of the mess.

    Round about happy, my friend showed me an app called PictureThis that allows you to snap a pic of your plant and identify it. ALSO, if you are having plant issues, it can help diagnose with more pics of the affected areas. So while I am very upset at bugs in one, rot in another, Nd a third that went discolored over night, I’m happy for the damn app that helps me identify the issues. It has a cost model, but free model is great, so just back out of any screens requesting payment.

    I also decluttered like a fiend the movie section last night, and one book shelf. I have no place to put the decluttered things as I move them out, but at least they have their very own spot now. So happy that there was enough removed that it’s a very visible bit of progress, which is unusual.

    New role starts tomorrow, so I am working to maintain my positivity! 😀

  8. I’m so glad you went in when you did Anna had fire extinguishers right at hand!

    It’s going to be a pleasant day here in Denver and I’ll get out for a nice walk!

  9. OMFG, that was quite the fire. So glad it ended well. But the lingering smell…argh.
    Bad news: had to put my ancient cat to sleep Tuesday. She was mid 20s so it had been coming for a while and I’m sad but not devastated.
    Resulting good news: finally able to sleep thru the night, as she used to wake me out of a sound sleep 2-3 times a night. Also, Loki, the remaining cat, now has a chance to sit on my lap which Mabel had never left unclaimed.

  10. That’s a meme waiting to happen. “Try it, they said. It’s low on the scoville scale, they said.”

    Glad you’re well.

    I’m working on contentment. I restarted my 5 year diary on 1 May. Events worked in a way that I couldn’t start it in January. Nor could I catch up. So I gave it for lost. Since I was using a 388 page lined book, I could start when I wanted. I picked May Day. It has a nice ring to it.

    1. Sure Thing, in the Southern Hemisphere May 1st is Pagan New Year. So this makes perfect sense to me. 🙂 Very auspicious!

  11. Happy that there were fire extinguishers on hand.

    DH and I got our 2nd shots yesterday. Today the injection arm is less sore than it was by bedtime, but the rest of me is feeling a bit achey. Having spent all of yesterday reading (finished 2nd half of book I started Friday, read two more books, read a novella) I am electing to do some writing today. Since that involves further tweaks/improvements to a near-complete WIP novel that will up its fun factor, I think the work will make me happy.

    Also, it’s a lovely cool grey day, the birds are caroling, and Yao Ming Sunflower looks like a firework.

  12. This is pretty pathetic, but I’m happy the post-vaccination symptoms I had have gotten to the end of the list, with no more to add. It’s been a practice session for being an actual Frail Old Lady, but now I’m back to pulling up bamboo shoots and putting out bird seed again. Cardinals and blue jays are giving me reproachful looks but they’re coming by in the dozens to tell me they’ll forgive me if enough peanuts & sunflower seed is involved.

  13. Scary! It’s Sunday. The sun is out and the kiddos are in their new house. Other kiddos are happy in their new “old” Boler trailer on a weekend campsite within their lockdown area.

  14. tl;dr I read stories and ate food.

    It’s been weird the last several days. Starting with reading, being reminded of Cris Anvil and Pandora’s Legions (not lesions), I went to the Anvil, C. section of the Great Library, opened that subdirectory, and read the first chapter (AKA Pandora’s Planet.) I have seven Anvil books parked there.

    Feeling nostalgic about an “old school” SF author lead me to the Laumer, K. section, where I steeped for a while in Bolo stories. Those can be emotionally exhausting, because the self-aware fighting machines have emotions, too. Authors have written romantic fanfic with a Bolo as one of the protagonists. Usually the human ends up dead…

    I also read a Delta story, A Smalltown Scandal. The best dang school teacher the town has ever seen is forced to leave because someone witnessed her checking into a motel – having an affair. It’s a short story. I have 31 Delta stories in the Great Library.

    I gave up on Uncompromising Honor. Weber should have compromised with his editors. It’s too bloated to read.

    Bloating leads to food. Something made me examine “Best by” and “Use by” dates. I started with my spices. I know that with many spices those dates are just friendly suggestions, and the spices are still good. But I was without ruth. I tossed old ginger and chili powder and garlic powder and flakey stuff and leaves that were crackly. I mostly use garlic pepper (much better than garlic salt) and black pepper and habanero powder for spices, anyway. The contents of the fridge pretty much survived this. Some bottles didn’t. I mean, red wine vinegar? How does it spoil – turn back into wine? Still, there were bottles with a best by of 2016… why was it even on the shelf if I never used it?

    This week I was quite the carnivore. Two ribeyes, two NY Strips, hamburger, and there’s a T-bone crying out, “Eat me! I was best by yesterday!” Steaks have no carbs and low sodium and calories are in spec. Side dishes are the major issue with these meals. I’m getting sick of green beans. I need to run to the store. Luckily, I have Atkinized (Atkinated? What’s the proper verbification of Atkins?) for the two week induction period and may relax the carb limit a bit. That still leaves the sodium limits.

    Long ramble no shorter, I was happy this week, mostly, and lost weight. 280.4, but it isn’t Thursday, so it doesn’t count.

    1. Glad you looked at PANDORA’S LEGIONS! I tend to like the Retief part of Laumer’s output better than the Bolo, myself. Just glad Eric Flint is getting them into ebook format and back into our hands.

  15. This week has it’s ups and downs. DH and I celebrated his birthday all day, starting with donuts and ending with a delivery of his favorite Italian food. The next day would have been my mother’s 85th birthday. She’s been gone for five years now, with the actual day being the Saturday before Mother’s Day – so the days between her birthday and Mother’s Day are a time of remembrance.

    We rang handbells at church for the first time in a while. It was joyous and much appreciated by the folks in the sanctuary. I’m looking forward to choir practice in person on Thursday.

    1. I remember ringing hand bells in high school choir and loving the way they would echo throughout the room. It sounds like a wonderful way to celebrate Spring and being back in church.

  16. I’m happy you didn’t die and think that you have now graduated from paranoid to prepared. Those fire extinguishers may have started as a sop to paranoia, but since they graduated to lifesavers, I think you should pat yourself on the back for having them close at hand. And I think I should buy one for myself.

    It is sunny and warm outside and once I finish this I am going to revel in it. The longer days also make me happy, because I have more time to enjoy them even if I am still having trouble getting moving and out of the apartment.

    Last week, before my sister and I went on the monthly grocery buying binge, we went to Culver’s for lunch. We decided to splurge because tomorrow we are both going on a diet. Frozen custard always reminds us of our childhood because it is such a big deal in Wisconsin. Now that both of our parents are gone, I don’t get up there anymore and this was a nice reminder of some good times we had there. Maybe it will inspire me to go up for the visit I was talking about before Covid-19 hit. At least I can call my friends there and talk about it.

  17. Got a job, an all remote contract tech-writing job, through the end of the year. Phew.
    Starting mid May, and even though I’ve been feeling idle and unproductive, I need a vacation before it starts. Also need to gear up my work area for the 8-hour work day. I’ve got a good editing project to get in before that, so there’s some dough.

    May go to Boston to see a big Van Gogh in light show, and may even go down to NYC to the Botanical Gardens, to see the Kusama exhibit, if I can get in.

    A friend gave us a nice electric cordless lawn mower and weed whacker, which makes spontaneous action so much easier. (No 60-foot cords to plug in.) Bought seeds, moved some rhubarb over to the sun, leaves are about to burst, lots of yellow flowers. Setting up indoor seedlings for herbs and sunflowers. Pretty nice!

    1. My cord is 100 ft. I had three cordless mowers die on me in a row, all of them still under warranty (which was renewed with each replacement) so I gave up.

  18. Oh, I forgot. Loretta Chase had an online Q&A that I wasn’t able to join, but it was posted later on the Cary Memorial Library You Tube channel. I watched it this week and enjoyed it immensely. She is working on the story of Blackwood, the last of the three Dis-Graces. Since we know from the two earlier books in the series that he married Ripley’s sister Alice and they have been avoiding each other ever since, I am more than a little curious to see how the story unfolds.

  19. I officially pushed pause on the old day job on April 30 so May is going to be full of census work, training for the new job, projects, and somewhere in there a bit of a rest. It’s pause and not stop because if the new job (did I tell you about that?) doesn’t work out, my transcription contract is still valid.

    That’s the biggest thing this week.

  20. Yikes on the fire. So glad you were able to contain it. Very scary. Also amazing you were able to keep dealing with it and still breathe with the smoke and all. Happy you’re okay.

    Reminds me of an incident that happened to me years ago with a gas oven that kinda exploded in my face when I opened the oven door to check on something baking. Took off some of my eyebrows and the tips of my eyelashes, but luckily, aside from looking like a cartoon character straight after, I was otherwise fine. We were renting our flat at the time and the ancient oven came with the place. Funny thing was we had a hard time convincing the landlord to replace the exploding oven.

    Hope you get a nice new oven soon:)

  21. I am in the middle of making violet jelly. I had an abundance of violets growing in my yard so picked a couple of cups worth and started making it. All that is left to do is melt the wax to cover the jelly.

    Jenny, I am so glad you are safe; your kitchen looks awful!

    1. You can make violet jelly? Sadly my violet season just ended so I will have to remember this next year.

  22. So glad everyone is safe after the fire. I’ve stopped burning candles because I just don’t pay attention to them.

    Coffee, Sunday papers, front proch.

    Finished transcribing board meeting minutes yesterday so don’t have to thin about them.

    Started to move some of the plants I’d overwintered in the house to the front porch. If I do one a day for the next five days, they’ll be out. Overnight temps look good.

    I reread Reaper Man a few months ago and the idea of a “fake’ city growing up and sucking the life out of the real city is starting to haunt me. I may have to reread it. Pratchett, so prophetic. Looking forward to wearing the lilac.

  23. So glad the kitchen fire didn’t have dire consequences. As long as you and pets are healthy and happy, everything else can be sorted out.

    What made me happy this week: many things but a big thrill was seeing my gorgeous irises finally bloom, a year after planting them in with high hopes.

  24. I did that. Grease fire when I was 15. Huge mess, and now, 30+ years later, I’m still paranoid when cooking fried potatoes. So glad you and yours are ok.

  25. I watched and listened to a lovely Youtube concert by a group called Alkemie which performed works of Hildegard of Bingen (11th-12thc). Then four medical scholars and two musicians discussed Hildegard’s music and ideas about medicine. I loved the concept that Hildegard saw the doctor – patient relationship as a gardener – plant relationship. Earth-Air-Fire-Water are what plants need, and the idea of humors saw the necessities of (1) achieving balance and (2) recognizing each plant as individual. The four humors are an ancient Greek concept which were expanded during the medieval period — long before we learned about germs. The good part of the theory of the humors is the respect it gives the patient. The doctors on the panel agreed that the Industrial Revoluation developed the “patient as machine” approach and that nowadays we’re into the “patient as computer” model. Doctors diagnose using tests designed for a theoretically “average” patient, and they are too often prevented from being up close and personal with their patients.

    1. Which is why I am so grateful for my present doctor. Over the last 25-30 years of our relationship she has learned how my body differs from the “average”. I wonder if I can persuade her not to retire next year?

    2. Amen to that. And even worse, I think computers have actually reshaped how some doctors think.

      From my IT life as developer and “quality assurance” tester I know how critical it is to figure out the right questions (do the changes do what they’re supposed to do and (even harder) do they not do what they’re NOT supposed to do?). As a patient-as-computer with 15 months of throw-it-against-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks chemo treatments I wonder and worry that there’s no depth, creativity, targeted-to-me analysis going on. It’s science-based for sure but how big/how nuanced is the scope of existing protocols? My doctor is an excellent scientist and is rigorous in her work. But she says that it’s impossible to know what will work ahead of treatment. And so we go on (not quite keeping up with the cancer but not too bad otherwise).

      I’m getting second opinions at another research hospital. I’m just really curious if this just the way it is everywhere. Can shopping-around instincts save lives? 🙂

      1. When I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer I started therapy with a cancer group here in Houston. Houston is the home of MD Anderson which has a huge presence in the cancer group but there are also others. I started with another one and loved my doctor. She is very respected in her field. Unless I wanted to get into experimental programs, she followed established practice for my cancer that would have been used at Anderson. She also said there was no way to tell what was going to work. They go with the most successful. I got a short remission and then the cancer came back. She switched to another protocol which almost killed me. So we went with experimenting with a protocol for another kind of cancer. This is the one that was the most successful and got me the most relief. Because I am so close to MD Anderson my friends wanted me to change and go get treated there but I had such faith in her. She is dedicated to her patients and in the end she consulted with MD Anderson and started me on an experimental protocol that specifically targeted my cancer. That was unsuccessful and I am no longer on any regime. With cancer there is no one size fits all but I really do understand your frustration. She has gotten me 4 1/2 years so far of not always great quality of life but I have also had 4+ years more with my husband and daughter.

        I don’t know if this helps any but it has been my experience with this terrible illness. It is hard not to worry about other programs – this is after all our LIFE that we are dealing with. I am keeping you in my prayers that the right program will be found.

  26. Heavens! That’s not what I mentally pictured when you said kitchen fire! So glad you and the animals are well.
    I am happy because I am getting a second writing partner, so I will have one for poetry and one for memoir!
    Also because I stuck my neck out and applied for another freelance job.

  27. It’s been 53 years since I last lived in a house that had a fire. I was a teenager, junior in high school. The fire started when an electrical outlet for a window air conditioner shorted out. It caught the curtains on fire. It didn’t spread much because the windows were all sealed with plastic and it couldn’t get much air.

    Nobody was home. My brother and I were at school, Mama worked at the Commissary, Papa was first home that day. When he opened the front door, the rush of fresh air caused the smoldering curtains to burst into flame. Every room in the house was filled with soot. The Navy (this was in Navy housing on Valparaiso Point in Guantanamo Bay) moved us to another house right away. Our cat and her kittens had hunkered down low at a window and came through okay.

    My part in cleanup was minimal. Teenager.

    My sympathies, Jenny.

  28. Very lucky to have been “Cruising” on Sydney Harbour for a week being wildly entertained by Maddie, C.L, Min & Cal. Glad you are OK, must have been quite a frightening experience!

  29. That photo is frightening. So glad you’re all okay.

    Happy this week was doing more random sketches. After completing the February challenge, I’d let it drop. Good to be playing again.

  30. Forgot! Happy Orthodox Easter to anyone who observes the Old Calendar (I have an Excel formula to calculate it if anyone needs it).

  31. Ok so Aotearoa New Zealand is lagging behind a bit with covid vaccines because we had breathing room while other countries didn’t, but it’s about to roll out into the general public (border and health workers are done) and this is the ad to encourage people to get vaccinated and I love it. So kiwi. Even if you’re not a kiwi, it might bring happiness?! Enjoy!


  32. Settlement has just happened on my flat and I am on my way to pick up my very own keys for the very first time. Excited does not cover it!

  33. Happiness was discovering that some wonderful entrepreneur opened a Steak n Shake near me in Paris when Pennsylvania was closing them down. I cannot wait until it is open!

  34. I don’t recall ever being in a serious kitchen fire. But I have very clear memories of the time when I was about 8 and the electric burner on the stove short circuited or something similar and sent an electrical arc of lightning across the kitchen maybe 10 feet seeking out my mom. Everyone was fine; it burned a hole through a heavy casserole pot.

    Lightning inside your kitchen is something that sticks in your memory….

  35. Really really glad nobody came to harm with the fire. Looks like it got serious.

    Happy stuff: got my second shot and got all new windows in my house. My old windows were a sore spot for me almost from the day I bought the house, but there were always other priorities.

    Smaller but no less happy for me is tiny shrub rose blooming and my nasturtium seedlings doing well.

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