Maggie Wilson Author

Historical Non-Fiction in Northern Ontario

Fireworks: a PSA

A friend from the small community fifteen minutes south invited us to attend their New Year’s festivities tonight.

We are setting off fireworks here on New Year’s eve If you folks are bored. We have to stay in our vehicles but it should be fun.

“Thanks, George, maybe next year?” I wrote in the return email.

The longer version of that severely edited reply, however, is my last blog post for the year.

***   ***   ***

Thanks, George, maybe next year?

I’m not sure that I’d enjoy watching fireworks from my car – I mean, being in a crowd of people, cheering and applauding is a key factor in a celebration like this. It will feel so feeble, so pitiful, just the two of us, craning our necks, bonking our heads on the windows.

More to the point, I can’t remember the last time we stayed up for fireworks. Maybe twenty years ago, for the big calendar flip from one millennium to the next. Y2K. We were all worried that the planes would fall from the sky. Remember that? How anxious we were?

How sweetly naïve we were.

Anyway, thanks, but I’m usually sawing logs by 10:30 on any given night.

Barring full moons. Which we had last night, by the way. Which usually means a couple nights of insomnia either side of the event.

Even MORE to the point, we had fireworks of our own last night.

Fish and chips were on the menu. That’s hubby’s specialty. Unfortunately, he’s also famous for leaving pans unattended on the stove.

The fries were in the deep fryer, the fish was prepped, waiting for the pan to warm. I was across the room, and the cook was reading a book at the table, deeply engaged in the writing.

Then we both heard a soft “boomph” as the oil in the pan ignited.

“Put a lid on it!” I hollered.

He ignored me. He fumbled with oven mitts and carried the flaming pan to the sink.


Into the sink goes the pan and he turned on the tap. The oil spattered and the flames roared and leapt to the ceiling. The plastic shrink-wrap on the window above shriveled and disappeared in acrid plumes. The smoke detectors blared and the cats scattered in all directions.

Finally, he put a lid it.

I opened the windows and turned on ventilation fans and paced the house for the next half hour or so, trying to calm my jangling nerves.

As he cleaned up the mess, I asked him, “You do know how to fight a grease fire, don’t you?”

“Yeah… I should have put a lid on the pan.”

After dinner, we carried on with the evening. Nothing more was said.

We went to bed at the usual time, but he woke around midnight and couldn’t settle. He got up. I couldn’t get back to sleep either – the smell of smoke still hung in the air. Or in my imagination. The dinner time episode replayed over and over.

Yeah, George, I don’t think much is happening today in our household. We have to clear the snow from the driveway and make the last trip of the year to the grocery store. That will be plenty stimulating enough.

Happy New Year to you George, [and to you, my blog friends] and all the best in 2021. Stay safe.


If you, or the fish fryer in your house needs a refresher course, click here.

Categories: Husband

58 replies

  1. Oh my, that was a close call, Maggie. I’m glad you guys managed to get the fire out and the smoke cleared. That’s the kind of excitement none of us wants. I’d pass on the fireworks as well.

    Wishing you a happy (quiet and safe) New Year’s Eve.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How terrifying, Maggie. Thank God it turned out okay-ish. Will you be ordering an enclosed deep-fryer (or air-fryer) soon?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yikes! Your last frightening event for 2020 Maggie! I don’t know how you kept from throwing lids at your husband! I doubt he will forget “how to put out a grease fire” any time soon!

    But forgive me. Even though this could have turned into a tragic event, I’m laughing my bazonger off. I know, I’m crazy as a loon. What an absolutely perfect way for 2020 to end. 2020 is a witch right to the end. 😡

    Enjoy not attending the nearby fireworks display. Sounds like you’ve had enough to last for several years. Hope the ‘fragrance’ of last night’s dinner has departed.

    But you have to admit this would’ve made a fantastic I Love Lucy episode!!

    Happy 2021 to you and yours. And enjoy that air fryer your hubby is going to buy so you’ll stop giving him the ‘stink eye’!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Ginger – thanks for a most enjoyable comment! The reason I had trouble sleeping, apart from reruns of the conflagration, was that I was rehearsing my conversation with him. One that had minimal use of stink eye. I don’t think I’m calm enough for that yet.

      Take care, and I look forward to hearing from you next year.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yikes! Don’t you love unheeded (excellent) advice? Not. Between the moon and the flash-in-the-pan, I can totally get your lack of sleep these days. Maybe you’ll be sawing those logs by 9:30 tonight. Have a wonderful 2021, Maggie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Eilene, you hit on a sub-plot of this whole episode, the unheeded (VERY excellent) advice. After he admitted that he “should have put a lid on it,” I retorted (with no small measure of pissed-offed-ness) “You should have listened to me!”

      Today is a calmer day, thank heavens.

      Take care, and I look forward to our commentary in 2021.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Holy crap! That must have been terrifying. Glad it didn’t turn into a total conflagration. Happy 2021, Maggie!


    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve heard 2020 described as a “dumpster fire” by several people, but “fish-fry-fire” works, too. So glad you got it under control. As happy as I am to welcome the new year, I’d also pass on the fireworks. I’ll be in bed with a good book by 10:00, and I’m sure I’ll be awakened at midnight by the neighbors who set off firecrackers and bang their pots and pans. Happy New Year, Maggie!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It would be very rare for me to stay awake till the new year, although I’ve had a couple of nights recently that I got close. As to your fish fry that went awry, I think I would have been shaking so hard words would not have been able to escape my mouth. Although there would have been words that probably should not be uttered anyway swimming around in there. Glad you and your house survived. Oh – I love my air fryer. Here’s to a New Year that will hopefully bring more cheer.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Reiner – oh, Reiner ..
    Suggestion for yer, mate: when the wife yells, do yer utmost to listen ?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It does put “Put a lid on it! back to it’s more conventional phrasing, eh? Glad you didn’t experience anything calamitous! Happy New Year, Maggie, and stay safe. No, seriously. Stay safe! 🙂 – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Just curious–what book was he reading? 🤨 Happy New Year to you, Maggie. May 2021 start a little less adventurous.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh geez Maggie! I don’t know that you meant this to be a funny story per se but some of it IS in your telling. (“The plastic shrink-wrap on the window above shriveled and disappeared in acrid plumes.” ) I’d think “Put a lid on it!” may become a catchphrase in your relationship. Who knew a simple dinner could go so far wrong.😢

    My community has invited towns people to go outside from 11:45pm to midnight to make noise. Shout, bang pots & pans, & so on. When I go to bed before 9pm I will turn on the loudest feature on my white noise machine AND run a house fan facing the wall. I hope I miss the whole damn thing.😐

    And… Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What an appropriate way to end this calamity of a year! I’m so relieved that you – and your house – are OK. It will be leftovers, champagne, and an early bedtime for us this year (and, you know, that doesn’t sound half bad).

    Wishing you a safe and uneventful New Year’s celebration, Maggie!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I wish I’d had a bonfire last night though not in the house. I’d symbolically burn all the turds of 2020 and dance for joy in the light of their demise. I do admire your cool head in the heat of the moment, Maggie. I’m afraid I would have behaved like your husband. I don’t think I even made it to 10:30 though we did share a bottle of wine at dinner and made beef nachos loaded with cheese and garnished with sour cream and salsa. One thing I’m not doing is dieting in 2021. All the best to you. I do so enjoy your posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now, I wish I had thought of having a bonfire, too! One to burn off the stink of 2020. instead… well, you read the post, you know what happened instead!

      I’m not dieting either. before I used to sneak chips and cookies from his stash, now I’m actively adding the items to the grocery list. If you can’t beat ’em…

      Thanks for your kind comment, Susanne, and all the best this year. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  14. A very appropriate ending for such a year a 2020 was ! Let’ all put a lid on it , ventilate , and move on .

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Oh my……a. Lid. Would. Have. Helped. Live and learn. One dayI’ll share my episode at an elderly friend’s home, a burning toaster and the hunky firemen who showed up as I flung it onto the front lawn. So glad you guys are ok. 👍🏻👍🏻🥂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I swear, there are levels of panic when a person can’t take in a single word they hear.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I found it hard not to emit an “eeeek!” when you said he carried to the sink and then a “NOOOOO!” when he turned on the tap. Yikes. Did you really feel at the end of such a year, you needed to celebrate it in such an exciting way? Here’s to a quieter 2021, Maggie! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. OH! MY! GOD!

    It’s days later, and I wasn’t even there, and yet my heart is hammering. Fire is right up there with crises I don’t want to ever have to deal with.

    On the other hand, it could be said that Reiner scorched 2020 and got in the last word on that troublesome year.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Oh man! Never has the phrase “put a lid on it” been so literal. I’m glad you are okay, but what a dramatic way to end a sucky year.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. If it makes your husband feel better, tell him about the time I set fire to the bacon in my high school home economics class. I set off the fire alarms and everything….. So he has my sympathies!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. This reminded me of my one and only kitchen fire when our daughter was young and had a sleepover guest. We had a brand new toaster that sat partially under the cabinets. They put a couple of pop tarts in and got them out. Then she saw fire and woke me up. I go running to the kitchen and the corner is on fire while they’re eating pop tarts and watching cartoons. I kept hollering ‘who put the log on the toaster’? No one answered and by then my husband was up and all four of them thought I was nuts. What log? But, there was this log type thing burning away on top of the toaster. I pushed it into the sink, turned the water on, and the fire was out. That log was the roll of paper towel that was also on a hanger under those cabinets. Somehow, the toaster got pushed over closer to the paper towel holder and it caught on fire. The cabinets had to be replaced, and the paper towel got moved. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Oh my. That sounds like a really bad night for you all. But at least your house is still standing! (One hopes. You didn’t mention any fire engines, so I’m going to take that as a good sign.)

    I’m reminded of several of my own cooking mishaps: the night I had to put the microwave out in the snow to air out, the time my stove melted my hair and tried to kill us, and the really bad idea to create my own ground spice using just a Cuisinart and red pepper flakes. I inadvertently created homemade mace–and we had to evacuate into the rain at night until the fans cleared the rooms.

    I think you just prompted my next blog post. Now to revisit the terrors of my kitchen to see what is the worst thing I have ever done there. Thanks. (And, this is the upshot of being a blogger–no matter how crappy something turns out to be, at least we can blog about it.)


  23. Oh, what tremendously good writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Oh man, that is so scary! This is why I rarely deep fry and never use my pressure cooker!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I’ve come in search of you because I haven’t heard from you in a while and I miss seeing your blog posts in my feed. So how ‘ya doing?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ally. My dear Ms. Bean. Thanks for checking in! I am well, COVID notwithstanding. Up to my eyeballs in volunteer work and shenanigans therein. Some good. Some less than good. Considerable drama but in the main, “we” [the editorial we] are prevailing. At day’s end, though, I am spent and don’t have the wherewithal for pithy witty repartee chez blogs. But it gladdens my heart that you stopped by. Thank you! ❤

      Liked by 1 person


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