Microwaves are Not the Same as Stoves, or How I Ruined a Parent Teacher Conference

When my parents got divorced, I took over a lot of responsibilities as man of the house.  Despite being only eight years old at the time, I took this very seriously and I was given a lot of well-earned responsibility.  At first, after school would end, my siblings and I would all end up at the daycare-ish house of a local woman, but as time passed we started coming home on our own, the proverbial latchkey kids, and we would basically take care of ourselves until my mother got home from work.

Well, when I was in fourth grade, which would put my younger siblings in first and second grade, my mother had to go across the street one evening for my parent-teacher conference.  The conference was scheduled for when she got home from work, which also happened to be dinner time, but this was no problem, because I was perfectly capable of making dinner on my own.  Come on!  I was practically ten!  Besides, the school was literally right across the street.  We would be fine, and if we weren’t, we knew just where to find her.  This turned out to be a good and necessary thing.
For dinner I made hot dogs, which were super easy to make, so there was no reason to be concerned.  I knew that you put them in a pot of boiling water for approximately five minutes, and then you ate them, possibly on bread, definitely with ketchup and mustard, and since you don’t have to cook condiments this was a one step process.  Or you know what would be even easier?  Just putting them in the microwave!  Then I don’t even need the pot or the scary boiling water, or anything.  All I needed was a plate.  So I put three hot dogs on a plate, stuck them in the microwave, and set them to cook on high for five minutes.
After about two minutes I started to smell the smoke, but it did not alarm me.  Hot dogs were a type of sausage, right?  And weren’t those supposed to be smoked?  Or something?  What do I know?!  I am only nine!  After three or four minutes, thick black smoke started billowing out of the microwave, which was my first clue that perhaps the microwave was broken.  Or that the hot dogs were on fire.  Or that something bad was happening.  It was hard to tell through all of that smoke.  And breathing was not so fun anymore either.  This seemed like a big enough emergency to go find my mother at school.
The sun had set, our house was most likely burning to the ground, and there were cars zipping up and down the road in front of us.  This seemed like a scenario in which three young, unaccompanied minors ought to be stealthy, so we went into full on spy mode, sneaking quickly across the street, pressing ourselves up against the side of the building, and then slowly making our way around the school, looking into each window to see if my mother was there.  Why didn’t we just go in the front door and right to my classroom?  Because we weren’t supposed to be there!  If anyone had seen us, or caught us, well, then, I mean, I guess, ummmm, SPIES!
Several classrooms had lights on, and we had to dash past these as quickly as we could, so that no one would see us.  It was dangerous work, but we had a mission to accomplish.  Eventually we found the right classroom, amazingly enough right where I had left it earlier that day, though in my smoke-infused stress brain it never occurred to me that this is where they of course had to be.  In the darkness outside the school window, I looked in and saw, in the bright florescent glow of the classroom, my mother and my teacher, having a discussion about a boy that, to their knowledge, had never burned down a building and snuck out in the middle of the night.
Was it possible to get my mother’s attention without my teacher seeing me?  No need to have both of my important authority figures disappointed in me at once.  I slowly reached my hand around from the wall that I was pressed up against and tapped gently on the window.  Nothing.  They did not hear me.  I would have to knock louder.  Yes, they both heard that.  I guess I should come out and reveal myself.  It looks like I am going to have to confess to both of them.
They didn’t seem too upset with me.  Surprised, yes.  Furious, thankfully no.  When we got home we found a kitchen that smelled a little smoky, and three charred logs sitting on a plate in the microwave, but the house was still standing.  The only casualty was my pride and sense of man-of-the-house-hood.  Because actually, my mother was the man of the house. And once she was back, the world was right again and everything was fixed.
Except for my parent teacher conference.  I don’t know if they ever got to finish that.
Posted in Grammy, Hot Dogs, Misadventures, Mother, Parent-Teacher Conference, School, Teachers, Throwback Thursday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.