I had this fantasy that being upstate I could go braless for the first time since I was well about ten. I’m not sure what prompted this or why it became a big issue in my mind but perhaps it had something to do with the sense of ‘freedom” I was supposed to be feeling being by myself.  Except I had only been alone one day out of the six I had been up here and in those six days I had only gone braless 1.25 days. The .25 was after I showered and put on a sundress and sat down to have dinner with Lynn.  Since it was nearly 9 p.m. by the time this happened, I figured it could only be recorded as a quarter of a day, if that.

The next full day was the morning I finally woke up in the house by myself. I put on a tank top and started washing down the walls with a sponge and a bucket of soapy water.  I was dripping with sweat since it was nearly 91 degrees outside and I sure as hell didn’t need to be wearing a tight wet bra on top of everything else.

When Nick showed up a day later, he brought along three of his housemates. Two of his mates were male and in their 20’s.  I don’t have a problem being braless around guys my own age (or even older) but I am a tad self-conscious about not wearing a bra around younger guys.  I don’t know what this means but I’m sure someone out there can analyze it and tell me why. 

Around dinner time Nick and his friends decided to head over to Walmart to buy provisions since they were “cooking” for themselves.  I started to boil water to make a tuna pasta salad for my dinner.  I had been using the stove on and off since we first spent a night here, meticulously cleaning the top of it and changing all the drip pans and rings.  Since I hadn’t cooked on an electric stove in about 12 years, it took a little getting used to but I surprised myself.  It wasn’t so bad cooking on it nor did it take as long to heat up as I had expected. The power burner seemed to heat things up especially quickly so that’s the burner I favored. 

The water started to boil and I dumped a bag of penne in the pot.  As I walked towards the sink, I suddenly heard a large explosion and saw sparks flying from an electrical wire right in front of my face.  I quickly turned around to see the burner and the pot engulfed in flames. Before I had time to panic, I picked up a pot holder, moved the burning pot away from the burner and managed to turn the stove off.

There was smoke everywhere.  I started to tremble a bit but managed to convince myself that I was lucky I had been comfortable cooking with gas (i.e., a real flame) all these years because otherwise I might not have known what to do.  I looked at the burner; it was ashy and had melted.  The light we had clipped to one of the ceiling beams was plugged into the stove and still on.  I tried one of the other burners and it was still working, too. 

I have a really scary basement that I don’t ever want to go into unless I have to but I decided I might want to check out if any of the wires had “fried” from this mishap.  I opened the basement door; it was dark, musty and cold.  I figured if no smoke was rushing out to greet me, we were ok. I didn’t want to be afraid of dealing with things I knew nothing about (scary basements and electrical wiring are at the top of the list) but the fact is I started to question my sanity.  I knew I had taken on an enormous house renovation project but a little voice in the back of my head said, “What did you get yourself into?”

My list of desperately needed repairs included: new windows followed by a new roof and an upstairs bathroom before we could even think about building a new kitchen with proper wiring, plumbing and decent appliances.  After this incident, I began to rework the priority list of what had to be done as soon as possible in my head.  The kitchen got bumped up a notch on the list.

And if anyone is wondering what the connection is between the exploding burner and going braless, there is none.   Although I guess if I had been standing in front of the stove when it exploded — with or  without a bra — it would have still hurt. 

Two weeks later….Lynn decides to make me breakfast.  I forget to tell him NOT TO TURN THE STOVE ON HIGH.  I’m just coming downstairs when I see smoke and flames erupting from the kitchen.  This time the front burner exploded.  After we both took a moment to catch our breath, I took a picture of the melted coil.  If I lose another burner though, I’m really screwed. 


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