Monday, February 23, 2015

How Checking E-mail Leads to House Fires

Distracted Cooking and Other Catastrophes 

I recently wrote a guest post on a day in the life of a writer. It was filled with really cool and important things I'd done that particularly attractive day for the romantic illusion of a working writer.

But having just experienced another one of those smoke-filled burning heavy-duty aluminum moments reminding me that I had been boiling water, I figured I'd tell blog readers about the other, less romantic side of working at home. What distracts you?

Top Ten Things Not to Do While Cooking

10. Cut hair - Am I the only one who would even think of this? It's really hard to give myself a bad haircut, so when I decided the night before to whack off a few inches, the next morning I got all ready, put the pot on the stove, skipped into the bathroom and starting snipping away. It might not be a bad haircut, but I always forget the floor is uneven, so one side is juuuuust a leeetle shorter...Maybe it's my ears that are crooked. I always forget.

9. Leave the Kitchen - But, but, but...It'll only take a second to go get that thing I was looking for.

8. Feed the birds - I mean, really, I can see the feeders out the window and it will only take a minute to fill them from the huge bag of sunflower seeds. Of course while I'm out there I might as well pull a couple of weeds, or shoo the neighbor's dog, or watch the turkey tracks in the snow...

7. Vacuum. Seriously, the kitchen and living room are not that big. It takes four minutes for water to boil. I don't actually have to get underneath the furniture this time. I'll just reach for that one dust  bunny under my desk. And flip a cushion or two.

6. Think of another blog post - Who'd a thought thinking could be so distracting?

5. Start the Laundry - Like, it's only the two of us left at home, how long could it take to empty pockets and check for stains to pre-treat?

4. Read One More Page - I can even stand there in front of the stove and finish the paragraph. The page. The chapter.

3. Get the Mail - Right now we have a short driveway. It's thirty steps. Past the floating piece of trash, a couple of weeds, the garage door, the empty bird feeders.

2. Make an errands/shopping list - Don't start looking in the refrigerator. Trying to remember how long stuff has been sitting around and whether you'll have enough time to cook and what you might need is thoroughly distracting.

1. Check E-mail - Truly the Number One reason I leave pots boiling over on the stove. I only want to look at the message list, but find myself opening some, and of course needing to respond. Until the smell of burned aluminum reminds me I left something on the stove. At least I caught it before the smoke alarm went off this time. Now, if only I could remember what I was cooking.


  1. Replies
    1. That's why I set the timer when I'm stepping away from the stove even for a 'moment', lol.

    2. I'm getting better at doing that. A timer is positioned right there. Just have to use it. Like writing stuff on the calendar. I actually have to read the calendar sometimes.