Even After This, They Still Trust Me Alone With Kids

This weekend, I had a couple of awesome friends visit to help me edit a manuscript I am working on. John helpfully took the kids to the beach.

Now you might think that meant my weekend was spent mayhem free.

You would be wrong.

Let me explain.

Saturday morning I woke up early to whip up a tasty breakfast while my guests slept. I have this signature dish that I call "Pecan Praline Bread Pudding". It is *just* breakfasty enough that I usually make it as a brunch dish, even though it is pretty much a dessert.

I had a few extra pecans so I upped my praline topping, not taking into consideration how that beast would bubble up as it baked.

Which it did. It was all KINDS of freakin amazing, and I ended up with a pile of sugary goo in the bottom of my spotless oven.

Thinking nothing of it, I turned on the oven's handy dandy Self Clean feature to deal with the mess. And totally jacked the day.

About 30 minutes into the Self Clean cycle, thick smoke began to billow out of the oven. I quickly turned it off and began frantically waving a broom at the shrieking fire alarm.

The initial smoke. Not too bad.

Smoke continued to stream out, so I turned on the kitchen fan, opened the back door and several windows and thought we were all good.

We weren't.

Soon a little smoke turned into a LOT of smoke. And no matter how many windows we opened, it quickly filled the house.

We weighed the pros and cons of calling the fire department, but sadly decided that seeing a bunch of hot  eye candy wasn't worth the tradeoff of potential water damage.

Instead, we initially tried sitting down on the floor to get underneath the haze of smoke.

This is ONE way to get rid of house guests...

That didn't work so well, so then we went out onto the front porch. It was freaking freezing.

After about an hour, the oven cooled down enough to stop belching out thick smoke, but the funk of burned sugar still filled the house.

The last photo before we abandoned ship.
When I opened the oven door, I was completely unprepared for the mess.

There was a 2 inch thick layer of scorched sugar in the bottom of the oven, evidently the heat had caused it to expand and then crystallize. And the entire interior was coated in a black greasy scum.

After breaking the bottom crust out in large chunks to remove it, I tried several tactics to soften the rest of it in order to get the oven clean.

I must say, when it comes to oven cleaning tactics, Pinterest is fucking useless. Makes me wonder how many other "handy tips" out there are completely ineffective.

I finally exhausted all of my vinegar and baking soda, and was completely disgusted with the results from the organic approach, so I broke down and bought some good old-fashioned high toxin oven cleaner.

If you've never read the directions on one of those, I don't suggest doing it now. They are scary enough to make you question why the hell we would ever create something so freaking dangerous. And then sell it at CVS.

But it DID begin to chip away at the nasty scum inside my oven. A few more goes at it, and I may be able to see through the window of my oven door again.

So now I am left with a house that still reeks of scorched sugar, a oven that is still pretty much a train wreck, and a toxin load in my system that rivals that of Karen Silkwood.

But we laughed our asses off through the entire process, so I'm also left with the great memories of how hilarious that long series of mistakes was.

And that makes it worth it :-)

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