Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The $350 Bowl of Soup

Since I haven't written about priest/wife/family in a while, I thought I would write a little post about a not-so-good day. These kinds of days of much more exciting than the run of the mill good day anyway. And this story has FIRE!

My husband had a hospital work-related all-day meeting in the big city an hour away on a work day. We decided to tag along and go to a children's museum. We would meet late and go have a bowl of homemade meatball soup at an older parishioner's apartment. 

It was my fault. I thought the kids would be really worn out by the museum, so I didn't bring anything for them to do in the apartment. I spent a good half hour wrangling the four year old and two year old with the help of the rest of us before the soup was served. The four year old was willing to sit nicely while he was eating. The two year old lived up to the stereotype of her age. She was just fascinated by the ceramic and crystal knick-knacks on the coffee and end tables. My husband was exhausted after eight hours of the palliative care conference. I was tired after a day of running after the kids at the museum as were my big girls. We thought we were watching the two-year old. I don't remember her going into the kitchen,  but I guess she did.

She was on my lap, eating soup when I saw a flicker reflecting in the living room window. There was fire in the kitchen. Our hostess (elderly and recovering from foot surgery) and my husband ran to the kitchen to try and put out the fire. We called the fire station for help. Smoke was just billowing through the apartment and the commercial grade fire alarm screeched in the apartment complex hallway. None of the neighbors thought to get the fire extinguisher that was right down the hall. My husband and the woman battled the flames until the firemen came and put it out. The fire wasn't that bad, but the smoke was- a plastic cutting board was on top of the stove when my daughter turned on the burners. 

All was well. No one got hurt. We packed ourselves up after cleaning as much as possible. Luckily, the cabinets and counters were fine, and my husband hadn't burnt himself that badly. I felt bad of the example I made with the kids, staying in an apartment and fighting a fire. But then, the entire place would have gone up in flames in the six minutes it took the fire department to get there if we hadn't stayed. Buying her a new stove wasn't possible because her old apartment was sized for a custom, narrow stove. So we had to pay her apartment manager for an electrician to make some repairs to the original stove. 

And even though the parishioner is fine and she gives me a hug after Divine Liturgy, I always feel shame that I didn't keep all eyes on that girl of mine. We are supposed to be the 'good ones,' and we failed because we gave ourselves over to our feelings of exhaustion for a while. Clergy and clergy  families are not allowed to be exhausted and 'drop the ball.' Who made the rules? We did! and That was the most expensive bowl of soup I ever had.

....I could also tell you about the $1200 door panel my husband had to pay for after bumping into a car in an empty parking lot after celebrating a hospital Mass on Mother's Day to get a $50 stipend....but I shouldn't complain...


  1. DH's Slovak grandmother always says this little tidbit to the both of us when things get tough or rough. I'll share it with you, because it's REALLY fitting in this situation:

    "A house is not a church."

    (I can explain it if anyone would like.)

    And here's another well-known one: "To err is human."

    Try not to be so hard on yourself :) Is this parishioner a mother? I'm sure she had days like this (even if she wasn't a mom!), and it sounds like she wasn't too upset. EveryTHING is replaceable. EveryONE is not. I'm happy everyone is OK.

  2. I agree with Rabbit; don't be so hard on yourself. I don't see that you did anything wrong; kids will be kids and sometimes things happen. It wasn't purposeful or with malicious intent; it was a child accident

  3. I think it is more like "clergy" and "clergy families" FEEL LIKE they are supposed to be the "good ones". Shit happens.
    Alanna- first time visitor

  4. (((hugs)))

    While I was 'watching' my little guy, he opened the gas tank on a van and shoved rocks down it. 650

    a little tykes sailor down the toilet 350

    I'm too tired to remember them all but x 7 kids, yeah they make some expensive mistakes.

  5. Alanna, please refrain from saying s*** on the World Wide Web. I don't think it's charitable. Thanks.

  6. ...I didn't want to start a little fire storm by allowing a swear word in my com-box...I probably need to think over my 'policies' for this blog.

  7. Great post!! I didn't know about this wild experience. Do you mean a fire storm or a s*** storm? teehee! -F

  8. Yikes! I'm glad everyone is okay! And I am sorry, but I totally agree with Alanna-- it DOES happen. And I think it is important not to be self-righteous when it comes to Christian blogs... the S-word is not refined, sure, but "uncharitable?" It wasn't directed at anyone. I think that 'swear words' do have a time and place, and this is one of those times. We shouldn't scare off new readers just because they speak in a manner that you don't feel is fitting. Just my two and a half cents.

  9. having a two year old who is FINALLY now walking (and running), i can soooo see this happening.

  10. Just read this because of your twitter link. :)

    Can I just say how much I really despite going to visit elderly people who we know exclusively from church? My husband works for our parish, and so do I, and we get frequent invitations, most of which I turn down, because: non-toddler-proofed houses plus high expectations = my blood pressure going through the roof while eating bad food. It's like Mass, but longer and with more expectations.

    I live in fear of my daughter getting her hands on some Illadro figure (LEFT AT TODDLER EYE LEVEL), or something even worse. I invite people over, but they're like "oh I don't want you going to the trouble..." no no, it's actually much easier to wrangle my children in my house than yours!!


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