Last Updated on February 28, 2024

Before autism turned our world upside down, we did a fair share of entertaining. I loved filling our house with people and feeding them. The more the merrier.

One particular Thanksgiving, I’d invited around 40 people to the house. Although everyone would bring a dish to share, I still had a lot of cooking to do. My neighbor across the street, who was going elsewhere, graciously offered her oven.

So, flitting through my hostess duties, I sent my husband over to monitor the food warming in her oven and to watch football. Ten minutes later, he came back, out of breath. “One of the pans you put in the oven melted and is smoking up their house.”

I stared at him until my brain kicked into gear then bolted across the street to see for myself. Grey, putrid smoke permeated the kitchen area. It seems the plastic tray I’d thrown in the oven wasn’t oven proof. Hmmm.

Thankfully, my brothers-in-law came to the rescue. Two hours later, after dismantling the oven, scrubbing the entire kitchen down, airing out the house, vacuuming, running an ionizer, burning a candle, and leaving three bowls of white vinegar on the counter, the smell was gone. Whew.

When I fessed up to my neighbor, she thought it was hilarious. If I hadn’t told her, she’d never have known.

She did say she’d be glad to lend me her oven again. It seemed like a great way to get her house cleaned …

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