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distractedLast week, I forgot to return four phone calls that I really needed to return.

I also asked an author if I could reprint the wonderful piece she had written, referring to it by the title. Which was fine, except that I wrote to the wrong author.

A half dozen emails that I didn’t have the energy to answer right away, got lost and unanswered.

I forgot to cancel my colonoscopy appointment.

I posted publicly to someone’s page when I really meant to send a private message.

I mixed up the word bilateral with the word unilateral in my blog post (and when you are talking mastectomies, this is not a good mistake to make.)

And I almost burned the house down.

That day–the day I almost burned the house down—was the day where I had devoted an afternoon to cooking two large noodle kugels using my mother in law’s famous kugel recipe—the one that we only share with immediate family (so don’t ask me for it.)

It was the last ingredient, the whole milk (I trust I am not giving too much away there) that got me. The recipe was right there in front of me (and if I tell you that I spelled “right” as “write” in the first draft of this essay, well you’ll just have to believe me.) It was very clear: I was to add 2 ¾ cup whole milk to the eggy deliciousness.

Now, I know that you know that I know how to measure. I got out my two-cup liquid measuring cup, measured two cups, and I poured it in.

Then I measured out another 1 ¾ cup, and poured that right in. I had a moment of, “my, my, that seems liquidy…” but proceeded nonetheless, clueless.

A half hour later, with the first kugel covered and setting in the refrigerator, I was ready to add the whole milk to the second batch. Yet as I poured the milk in the second time, I had an “Aha” moment where i realized I had added one cup too many to the first one. And that distracted me so completely that I couldn’t remember how much milk I had just added to the second one.

My extremely wide and varied attempts to do damage control to save the kugels literally backfired in my kitchen.

Uncooked Kugel juice—a combination of milk, cheeses, and too many eggs to count–dripped down off the counters, under the blender, down the sides of the refrigerator, onto the floor. I stepped in the wet inadvertently and yellow footprints followed me. I stepped on the square of butter that I had used to grease the pans. Dirty dishes were piled in the sink. Greasy pyrex dishes, wet paper towels, milky raisins, and egg shells, were scattered everywhere.

The kugels undid me.

My eyes started to water. I started talking to myself.

“You are such a f**k up,” I told myself. “You are really a f**k up.”

And then, when the kitchen was finally clean, in some crazy attempt to redeem myself, I decided to make dinner.  I should have stuck with martinis and ice cream that is the hallmark of my empty nest.

I preheated the oven, prepared the Haddock, washed and cut the green beans, made a salad.

“Do you want to eat?” I asked Mike around 7. “Dinner should be ready in a minute.”

And that is when I realized that while I had preheated the oven, I never actually put the fish inside the oven.

“OMG, What the hell is wrong with me?” I asked me.

I started in on the green beans.

I poured a little olive oil in the wok. I turned the heat on high. I got to talking about my day and forgot about the oil in the wok.

I turned around to thick, black smoke coming from the wok.

“Are you sure you’re OK?” Mike asked.

“Apparently not,” I told him.

Apparently, I am a little distracted. Perhaps I need to stop cooking until after my surgery.

On the other hand, perhaps not. The house is still standing because almost doesn’t count.  And the kugels were awesome.

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The Day I Almost Burned Down The House was last modified: by

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