My Uncle Kurt happens to be a Volunteer Fire Fighter.
So, while touring the Como Botanical Gardens in Saint Paul this weekend, I decided to pick his brain.
Because I think fire fighting is interesting.
And also because I’ve become concerned about my Walmart Candles.
You see, after the hot wax all over the new carpet incident, I’ve decided it’s just easier to leave the candles burning when I take Jolie out on a quick five-minute walk, as opposed to blowing them out and then knocking wax everywhere while attempting to fan the smoke away with my clumsy hand.
Uncle Kurt informed me that candles (combined with stupidity) are one of the main causes for house fires.
Then, because he and my Aunt Kris are thoughtful and generous, they presented Scott and I with a beautiful housewarming gift.
Because Uncle Kurt also has a twisted sense of humor, the gift was a candle.
As I opened it, I was warned I would need to be careful with the contents of the package as I didn’t have the best track record.
With candles or with chocolate.
So yes, Uncle Kurt and Aunt Kris were aware of “the incident“.
Yet they trusted me enough to give me the candle anyway, assuming I had probably learned my lesson. They had gone out on a limb and given me their vote of confidence.
Which is why it pains me to admit what happened next.
At precisely 12:18 this afternoon, it became quite apparent that Jolie needed to be taken outside to relieve herself. I had exactly twelve minutes before I needed to call into an important work meeting, so I knew we’d have to make it snappy.
My attempt to “make it snappy” included forgetting to blow out the burning candle.
It also included forgetting my keys. Which meant I was not only locked out of the building, I was also locked out of my unit.
With seven minutes until the conference call.
And a candle that could quite possibly take out all of my new IKEA furniture, not to mention my residence.
When Scott and I moved to Minnesota, I was able to keep my job and work full-time from home. I absolutely love my job and am beyond grateful to have been given the opportunity to work remotely–the least I can do is keep the lines of communication open and do my best to show up to my teleconferences on time.
This was going to be a challenge as I had not only forgotten my keys, but also my cell phone.
The icing on the cake is that Scott was working ninety minutes away.
It was time to get creative.
Obviously, by “creative” I mean sheepishly standing outside one a ground floor unit, smiling and waving like an idiot until someone noticed me.
After about five minutes, a young man timidly opened his screen door and politely addressed me.
“You seem to be locked out.”
“Yes! Arrggghh! I’m so sorry to be standing out here flagging you down. It’s just that, I have no way to get back inside, and my husband is out-of-town. Oh! And I have a candle burning and am supposed to be at a work meeting in, like, five minutes! I wouldn’t have even come out here if it weren’t for the fact that my dog was about two seconds from pooping all over our new area rug, and after spilling hot wax all over the carpet last week, I didn’t want to have to break out the carpet shampoo thingy again, you know? ”
Clearly this was more information than he had bargained for.
“Oh…um…okay. I can let you into the building if you want?”
“You are amazing. Seriously, thank you so much — I really appreciate it. And again, I’m so sorry to bug you. Are you on your lunch break? You look like you’re on your lunch break.. Gosh–I feel so stupid. Anyway…I’m still going to be locked out of my unit. Do you have, like, a butter knife I could borrow to try to pick the lock with?”
He stared at me for a few seconds before I realized I had given him the wrong impression. The fact that Jolie was attempting to burst from my arms so that she could rape and pillage his kitty’s cat condo certainly wasn’t helping.
“Oh…no! I mean…that came out wrong. I promise I actually live here.”
Eventually, I convinced him I wasn’t a burglar and he agreed to call the building manager on his cell phone to relay the details of my predicament. He informed me the manager was finishing lunch at his house, but that he would be over to unlock my door in about ten minutes.
Ten minutes doesn’t seem like a long time.
But when you’re missing an important work meeting while frantically wondering if your renter’s insurance will cover burning an entire building down, it feels like a freaking eternity.
The minutes ticked by at a glacial pace…believe it or not, I actually found myself wishing my creepy parking lot friend was there to keep me company. Although she probably wouldn’t want anything to do with me as I didn’t have a phone she could use to call her drug dealer.
After about seven minutes of pacing, desperation inspired brilliance when I realized I could hike up the hill facing my back deck and, if I stood on my tiptoes, look into our dining room and make sure the candle was still behaving himself.
(Yes, he’s a boy candle.)
Little did I know there happened to be a man strutting around in his unmentionables (translation: sketchy looking bikini briefs) in the unit directly below ours. I noticed him staring at me with disbelief (and perhaps an ounce of pride) about thirty seconds too late.
This was the second time in less than ten minutes I came to the sobering realization that I had given one of my neighbors the very wrong impression.
On the bright side, I’ll take “Peeping Tom” over “girl who burned the apartments down” any day of the week.
And you have to admit, the idea of a female Peeping Tom who does her dirty work while holding a seven pound chihuahua at her side is kind of amusing.
Eventually, I was let back into my unit. I was roughly thirty minutes late to my meeting, but my coworkers were beyond understanding, and the candle had not exploded. I breathed a sigh of relief.
And then it hit me…I was so panicked about forgetting the keys, I hadn’t actually stopped running around like a chicken with my head cut off long enough for Jolie to actually go to the bathroom while we were outside.
Our carpet didn’t look as bad as the candle wax mishap…but it certainly smelled worse.
I think this is my punishment for not sharing that box of chocolates with Scott.
Psst! Have you entered the Chanel Nail Polish Giveaway yet? Hurry — you only have until Thursday!