Today I have managed another narrow escape. I have acquired the unparallelled ability to set my house on fire with almost any small appliance. It has taken precisely 34 years for me to figure out how to do it with a unattended heating pad. I recently bought some fairly ugly sheets because they were on clearance and I am down one set of sheets for my bed. I had this lovely green set of bamboo sheets that feel like you are laying in a field of daisies in Unicorn Meadow and I seriously love those sheets. Alas, for the second time in a row, the fitted sheet has ripped at the corner seam. My very clever and handy mother was able to sew the sheets back together the first time they ripped, but they have ripped again and I am afraid to take them to her. I am afraid she will give me a terminal diagnoses for them and then I would have to throw them out, whereas if I don't let anyone see the rip, I can continue to hang onto these sheets forever and tell myself that eventually I will have them repaired.
I like to have at least four sheet sets for each bed in the house and the fact that I was down to three for my bed was aggravating me, so I bought these new ugly sheets and called it a day. The sheets were labeled as microfiber, and I love trying different textures of sheets. I have Egyptian cotton sheets which were made by the gods, I have t-shirt sheets, I have regular sheets, so I decided microfiber sheets were something I needed to try out. As an aside, does anyone know if all microfiber sheets are sold without a thread count? I am a minimum 500 thread count kind of person and these weren't labeled at all. Anyway, I washed them and made my bed in them today and snuggled down in them during a mild headache to relax and read. I turned my heating pad on and put it on my feet which are always the temperature of Inuit Hell and dozed off. When I heard Dan coming home I got up to make dinner and carefully covered my heating pad up inside my sheets so that they would be nice and toasty when I got back. I cooked dinner and ate it and cleaned up and then came back to my room. I could smell this burning plastic smell, like scorched hair or something. I lifted the sheet off of my heating pad and smoke rose a little. A very little, but it was there. Apparently, microfiber is a Stupid-Consumer term meaning polyester. It never occurred to me that I had never heard of any microfibers being sheered or a wild microfiber providing a nice pelt. I had never read anywhere that the microfiber plant will grow only in region five climates or that the microfiber tree is beautiful in the spring. I bought sheets made out of plastic bottles and used tires and then was surprised when it almost caught on fire. Darwin was wrong. Survival can be achieved by sheer luck.
A couple of winters ago I managed to set fire to a perfectly harmless vacuum cleaner. I had worked myself into freakishly-clean-house mode and was cleaning things like the pledge bottle and dusting the broom. At one point I decided that the wood stove not only needed to be cleaned on the outside, it needed to be clean on the inside, because, you know, you want your ashes to be clean. So I grabbed the vacuum cleaner – which I had already wiped and vacuumed down – and opened the wood-stove door and plunged the sucker hose in there all the way to the back. I sucked ashes from the 1920's. I cleaned and cleaned. The inside of that thing was beautiful when I got done with it. I set the vacuum aside in the living room and continued to clean with a vengeance. After a while, I got to smelling something. Something burning possibly? I knew it wasn't the wood stove, so I looked around the house and found nothing. At one point the vacuum cleaner caught my eye and well, it looked like it was smoking a cigar, which is unusual behavior for my particular vacuum. I opened the little door where the bag went and there was a huge hole in the bag and it had begun to melt the inside of the vacuum! I was shocked! What happened? Turns out while vacuuming the wood-stove I sucked up a cinder from that morning's fire and it was bright red and merrily burning a hole right through my vacuum and working it's way outward. I flung the bag on the porch and it proceeded to grow with the wind and became a raging ball of dust, paper and fire on my wooden deck in approximately three seconds. Fortunately I smoked at the time and had a huge ceramic flower pot for an ash try which I scooped the bag into and managed to stomp out. Oddly, Dan was not really amused with me, and for the life of me I can't figure out why.
I have also managed to set a microwave on fire, have such a huge oven fire from a pizza that the fire trucks had to come and run these big fans through my house, I set a friend's microwave on fire in high school and my daughter nearly set our new microwave on fire a few weeks ago with a gold metal unicorn cup. I'm so glad she's decided to follow in my footsteps. It makes me feel like I'm leaving something behind me in this world. A big burnt path in my wake.