There is a new saying in the Wert household especially for Labor Day. It goes something like this: "Come to us all you who labor and are heavy laden, and we will give you... burnt beans".
We went into the three day weekend giddy with anticipation of a leisurely, revitalizing time. Our only finite plans were to get the girls 3, 2, and 1 year pictures done. We have been planning this for weeks, and a three day weekend seemed the perfect time to attempt it. So, accordingly, bright and somewhat early on Saturday morning we set out to find the perfect little white dress for Ingrid to wear in her pictures. Being the economical and efficient woman that I am, I put a pot of chick peas on to boil as we were preparing to leave the house, with the intention of turning them down to simmer while we were gone, thus having lunch half made by our return.
We spent two hours exhausting every children's store at the nearby outlet mall with no luck, since retailers have this deluded belief that people only want to buy brown corduroy jumpers, orange sweaters, and striped tights in September, regardless of the 97 degree temps that are likely to stick around for another two months. But, I digress. We decided to head home and put the girls down to nap while I made a run to our trusty flea market where a used children's clothing booth never fails to please (why didn't I think of that in the first place??!).
On the way home I suddenly drew my breath in with a gasp that caused Jessie to tap the brakes and frantically scan the traffic ahead since such a sound (he surmised) could only be caused by one who was witnessing a catastrophic accident unfolding before her eyes. But, the catastrophic accident was only unfolding in my mind's eye, as I suddenly remembered the beans.
I told Jessie about my cause for alarm, and hoped while I was speaking that perhaps he had seen the boiling beans and had thought to turn them down before we left. He informed me that he had seen the beans boiling, but had not turned them down. He had cocked the lid and yelled to inform me that they were boiling, so I could do with them whatever women do with boiling beans. I of course never heard this, so we then both walked out of the house with the knowledge tucked back somewhere in the cobwebby abysses of our brains that there was a boiling pot on the stove.
By now we were really worried. We scanned the horizon for billowing clouds of smoke. We were relieved to see our house looking quite ordinary from the outside when we pulled onto our street, but I could see the hazy gray through the window in the doorway as I was coming up the front walk.
The entire house was filled with smoke. Every closet, nook, and cranny. Jessie and I ran around opening windows and turning fans on. Jessie removed the accursed pot of beans, which by now was nothing but a pile of nearly disintegrated glowing black embers, and we high-tailed it out of there. After eating lunch out and visiting the flea market together (although we realized that pictures were absolutely out of the question by now) we headed back to our house. We were greeted by a powerful wave of eye-watering stench when we opened the door.
We put the girls down for a nap but quickly realized that we could not stay there. I was developing a headache and was feeling quite nauseous from the smell. Fortunately for us, Luke and Lesley's family are in New Mexico right now and they had given us permission to use their house while they were gone. I packed up enough food and clothing for a few days while Jessie ran out to buy some odor-eating stuff.
I'll skip to the end for now. We came home Tuesday night to find that our house does not seem to be a biohazard threat, and no longer smells like all the chimney sweeps in Mary Poppins had held a bean-bake here. It now only smells like several chain smokers might live here. But, we have hopes that the smell will be gone entirely before too long, since we are systematically cleaning everything that can be cleaned and spraying Febreeze pet formula on everything else (that stuff really works).
I do have more to say about our weekend (notice that this post is titled Part 1) but I will save it for later. I just might go and do another load of smoky wash right now.
Part 2: http://jessie-james-gang.blogspot.com/2009/09/labor-day-weekend-part-ii-alternately.html