So Tom called me from work on Friday.
I was in the middle of putting Natalie to bed. She was trying to get me to read a third book even though she knows she only gets two. She was pressing yet another Elmo book to my chest and going, "READ!" in an irritated voice. As though she were insulted that I would dare tell her no.
But then the phone rang so I leaped up and went to answer it.
"Are you okay?" came Tom's voice. "Over the radio it said that a fire truck was dispatched down our street. I just wanted to make sure it wasn't our house."
I was slightly amused by this. He was probably paranoid that I had caught the house on fire with my cooking. Which, by the way, I've never done. I've come close a few times. And okay, I have set off the fire alarm. Twice. Was it my fault that the house suddenly got all smokey?
I remember that I set the fire alarm off when we were first married. I had decided to try out this new recipe because we were a little sick of Hamburger Helper. But I realized I had no idea what I was doing in the kitchen. I think Tom was a little stunned that he had married a terrible cook. Because after all, his Mom is a fantastic cook. In his mind, probably, all women know how to cook. He most likely expected to dine on delicious lasagna or an elaborate roast meal.
What he got was slightly burnt Cheeseburger Macaroni and frozen pizza.
Anyhow, when I set that fire alarm off the first time, Tom immediately clapped his hands over his ears to drown out the shrill beeping and shouted, "You don't know what you're doing, do you?"
Uh no. How did you figure that one out, buddy?
So when he heard that a firetruck was rumbling down our street, he probably flashed back to that moment and wondered, "Oh no. Did Amber decide to try a new recipe and burn the house down?"
"I'm okay," I assured Tom over the phone. My heart suddenly swelled with love. "You LOVE me," I burst out. "You really LOVE m--"
"Amber, I've gotta go. We're in the middle of an inspection, remember." Tom cut me off in the middle of my speech.
I didn't have time to say another word.
Because then I heard the click of him hanging up.
I put the phone back on the charger and did what any other adult in my situation would do.
I totally peeked out the window to figure out where the fire truck was.
I saw it down the street. I could make out a fire truck with the lights flashing. Plus a police cruiser in front of it with its lights going off. It didn't look out of place only because a lot of people have their Christmas lights out. So it looked like someone just had a festive car or something.
I gaped out the window and pressed my nose to the glass. I could make out a few fire people coming out of their truck. They had on yellow jumpsuits and those huge hats. I saw them make their way into a house and I continued to stare.
Natalie's voice broke me from my Nosy Staring.
I pulled away from the window and saw her staring at me with a look of annoyance. She still had the book gripped in her hands. The look she was giving me clearly said,
"Hello? Did you expect me to forget about this book and just go to sleep on my own? You should know me better than that."
I glanced out the window one last time and nothing new was happening. So I scooped Natalie up and carried her back to her room.
"READ!" she insisted, putting the book primly in my lap.
"Oh. Fine. You win," I said, opening it up.
"MoMo!" Natalie said happily, pointing to Elmo. She gave me a wide grin and my heart melted. I love that my children enjoy reading as I do.
After I put her to bed--which took twenty minutes (the kid is stubborn)--I rushed back to the window and peeked out.
Nothing new had changed.
I just hoped that no one was hurt. Or worse.
The next morning when Tom came home I threw myself on him.
"Huh?" he asked, stumbling back. He caught me in his arms. He's not used to be hurling myself on him first thing in the morning. Usually I'm half asleep and he's met with a zombie-like wife when he comes through the door. Which I know all the experts frown against. They say something like, "Make sure you look nice for your husband when he comes home from work. After all, he's been working with well put together women all day and he doesn't want to come home to a messy wife."
Well. All the women he works with are clad in uniforms and heavy equipment.
I really don't think I have much to worry about.
"Thank you for checking on us," I told Tom, kissing his confused lips.
He blinked a few times as though he had no idea what I was talking about. He probably didn't. Then recognition appeared over his face and he nodded. "No problem. I know how you cook." He gave me a wink as I playfully slapped his arm.
"Did you find out what happened?" I pressed. Seriously, because I wanted to make sure no one was hurt. (Okay, and because I was being nosy.)
Tom shook his head as he started pulling off his boots.
I held my breath, prepared for the musk scent that would momentarily stink up the room from his feet being pried from a tight spot the entire night.
"You didn't even check?" I wondered.
Tom shook his head again. "Why would I? It wasn't my family."
Ugh. Sometimes it's hard to be married to a man who isn't as nosy as I am. I mean seriously, I can tell him that I bought him a present and he's all, "Oh. Cool."
Whereas if he tells ME that he bought me a present, I start doing a jig around the room and I demand to know what it is. I beg him to give me a hint, a speck of a hint, a smidge of a hint, a teeny tiny dot of a hint...
"No hints!" he'll boom out at me. But a smile will be playing on his lips. I think he's amused on how excited I can get over things.
"Do you suppose anyone was...seriously hurt?" I asked.
Tom shrugged, pulling off his other boot.
I held my breath for a few seconds again.
"If someone was seriously hurt, we'd have found out about that," Tom assured me.
Well that's good that no one was seriously hurt. Or worse.
But I still wonder what happened.
Maybe there is another wife down the street who has no idea what she's doing in the kitchen. Maybe her fire alarm went off and a tiny fire started in the kitchen and she had frantically called 911.
At least that would mean that I wasn't alone in the whole I-don't-know-what-I'm-doing-in-the-kitchen thing. I mean I'm getting better at it at least.
I went an entire week without burning something once.
That's a record for me.