A few days ago I sent a quick text to my husband. It went a little something like this…

I started a small fire in the kitchen but everything is under control now. BTW, we might need a new toaster.

Things happen.

I will not make excuses for the innumerable mishaps that have, well … happened in my kitchen over the years nor will I try to convince you that these small-to-midsize appliances had it coming. Although, in fairness, this particular little fryer had been fried for a while now and I think we were all just sort of in a state of denial because we use this toaster not just for toast but for everything … croissants, waffles, rodents.

Now listen, I can’t be entirely sure, and if I’m being at all honest, (which I’m mostly not) I still don’t know if it was a mouse or just something that slightly resembled one but I’m relatively sure chicken nuggets don’t have tails.

I’m a distracted woman and my husband’s a distracted man and between the two of us, it’s a small miracle we haven’t burnt the house down sooner or (up until this past Tuesday) charred anything vaguely vermin.

But seriously, who doesn’t have a lot of irons (or mice) in the fire these days? It’s all too much between the kids and trying not to catch COVID or give COVID or spell COVID (with a C, right?) or figure out how I’m theoretically going to make toast without a toaster. I mean, can’t a girl catch a break around here or at least a flying waffle? “Think fast,” my younger daughter yells.

It’s the day after the day of the dead mouse and I’m still trying to fumigate what used to be my kitchen and convince my husband to give up on our dearly departed Black and Decker.

I went to catch the waffle and because I was Most Improved Player, not one, not two but three consecutive Little League seasons in a row, it fumbled through my fingers and landed smack in the cat’s water bowl. “I’m in a league of my own, Gina Davis,” I say to no one in particular because no one’s particularly listening, except maybe the cat, who’s still trying to figure out if she likes wet waffles.

So I’m trying this new … approach? experiment? way of further complicating my life in an effort to simplify it? I’m taking back my irons. Not in the literal sense of course. I’m not really a fan of burnt fingers but in the sense that I’m attempting (using that word lightly) to cut down on distractions and streamline my life.

This has proven mostly impossible, largely because I have children and a husband and a whole stockpile of small-to-midsize appliances just waiting to drive me to the brink of insanity.

But there’s no turning back now and after ridding myself of most of my household items, wardrobe and social media apps on my phone, I find myself languishing and possibly missing all of the people who are in the best marriages/relationships ever and my second cousin twice ridiculous who truly believes she saw Jesus three days ago at a Walmart in upstate New York and posted a very detailed description of him.

I go to take the waffle out of the bowl and briefly consider consuming it then realize the cat’s beaten me to it.

One day I’ll get my life in order and my appliances working. One day I’ll get streamlined or at least stop talking in a stream of consciousness. I might even learn to catch a baseball or a waffle or a break around here. One day, I will maybe, possibly, probably never be so distracted that the entire kitchen fills with smoke and I sit there, continuing to scroll through my Facebook feed while secretly wondering if the man in sandals really did make a house call to a big box store just South of Canada and in the kitchen aisle … of all places. Truly, the way I see it, things can only improve from here and that’s definitely something if not to boast about, at least to toast about.

Editor’s Note: Article headlines are crafted during the editing process and are the final purview of the editor, not GMW writers. The original version of this column’s title referred to the culture of indigenous peoples and President’s Day — something that could be offensive and hurtful to some readers. Thinking deeper about the historical context, we’ve retitled the piece and sincerely apologize for any unintentional insensitivity.

Columnist Lesley Kirschner grew up quiet, in the woods, and devoid of siblings so her hobbies quickly became reading, writing, and talking to inanimate objects. She also spent a considerable amount of time doing voice-overs for her dolls and watching too much daytime television–channel 3, sometimes channel 8, if the weather was good and the antenna wasn’t acting up. She was in attendance at school, graduated from a very much not notable college not worth mentioning, and was transplanted to Wilton with her husband, Ambler Farm‘s Farmer Jonathan and their (baby makes) three children almost a decade ago. Although she never quite found her calling in life, other than perhaps the doll voice-overs, which in hindsight were eerily convincing, she’s happy to try her hand at writing and is thankful for the support and community she found on Facebook’s Buy Nothing Wilton. Lesley realizes while this is all very exciting, she’s not winning a Pulitzer so she’ll wrap it up and be quiet. She’s had a lot of practice.

One reply on “Wish You Were Here: No Crying Over Burnt Toast(ers)”

  1. Another fun and insightful article Lesley. I’m wondering if the headline was conceived in a context of inclusivity and awareness of historical harm/inequality that a different choice would have made more sense. “Smoke Signals”, Consumerism and Dead Presidents, I hope the irony is not lost on anyone here.

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