Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Just call me Smokey the Homemaker

Last Thursday I decided to make gumbo for supper. To some, gumbo in hot weather is unthinkable but I had to have some. I didn't really want the smoky, burnt smell that roux leaves in your house afterwards, especially since it is very hard to get fried smells gone from our apartment, so I bought some Tony Chachere roux mix. (It was great by the way, and it has no MSG or other things like that.) So, hurrah! no burned smell that will take days to disappear.
Or so I thought....
  Supper was delicious, and we decided to always use the roux mix. About halfway through, we realized I'd forgotten to put okra in it. Jacob loves okra in gumbo and I'd bought some especially for him. No problem, I'd just put some in and let it simmer on low and we could eat more later. (It is impossible to make a small pot of gumbo.) So I did.
  We had some errands to run after supper and we looking forward to more gumbo when we got home.
 When we were almost home--nearly four hours later--I realized that I had left the burner on under the gumbo!!!!!!!!! I had completely forgotten that I had turned the stove back on and so had Jacob.
 I expected fire trucks to be in front of our apartment when we got home but there were none. There WAS a smoky smell we could smell when we got out of our truck.
  We unlocked and opened our door and smoke billowed out. I ran to the stove, grabbed the pot and headed to the porch with it. There was smoke everywhere. We opened every door and window and turned on all the fans. It was awful.
I began cleaning and mopping and dusting, doing anything I could think of to try and lessen the smoke smell. Thankfully my wonderful in-laws showed up with box fans, carpet powder and Febreeze and we were able to make it til the next morning.
 Needless to say, all of our furniture is saturated with the smoke smell, not to mention our clothing, bedding, pillows, carpet--everything! 
 First thing Friday morning I went to the store and bought all kinds of smell-good stuff. I'm sure the cashier was amused at the wide array of candles and air fresheners that I had in my basket.
 I have never had anything quite this big and challenging to tackle before and I must admit when I woke up Friday I just wanted to cry and go home to Mama. I felt (and still do to a degree) so overwhelmed. If we were in the country, or had a yard, I would simply take everything outside and let it air in the sunshine. Mattress, sofa, recliner, etc. I did take our pillows onto the porch and some of our blankets and let them air.
 All this was made worse by the fact that we were leaving Friday evening for a mini-vacation to our deerlease with Jacob's parents. I had planned to spend Friday packing and preparing to leave. Now I had to re-wash everything that we were planning on taking with us. That meant towels, clothing, and bedding. Our suitcases were smokey. Everything was smokey and our home was a disaster area.
 It was good that we were able to get away from the smoke for a few days. We needed to get away anyway and the smoke incident made us appreciate our trip even more. Retail therapy (shopping!) helped quite a bit :)
 Everything is still smoky, and I have been cleaning ever since we got home. It's getting better, but I think a lot of it is that I'm just getting used it. :( Someone is going to lend us an air purifier so that should help and I'm going to send several of Jacob's suits to dry cleaner's this week and the rest next week.
  What I have I learned from this little ordeal? ALWAYS check the stove before you leave. Even if you know it's off, look again. And just because you use roux mix doesn't mean you won't have to deal with a smokey house.
 We are so thankful that the Lord protected our home and it was only smoke and not fire we are having to clean up after. We don't know why the smoke detector didn't go off, and I'm going to check the batteries today.
 So, if you have any suggestions on how to combat smoke smell, please, please, please, comment and share them with me.

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