Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Candle

Recently, I received a thoughtful gift from a friend: a candle in the scent of tangerine with a box of tea of the same flavor. Nice, huh?

So, last weekend, on the most dreary of Sundays, when frozen roads had canceled plans and my seasonal descent into an extended nasty stupor was acting up, I decided to light the candle, brew a cup and enjoy a peaceful interlude.

Remembering Seth's hypersensitivity to the presence of an open flame in the house and his nose's ability to discern it, I planned to travel to the distant end of the family room--as far from where he was taking a nap as physically possible.

Seth is unbelievably paranoid about fire safety and I cannot argue. 

We've all seen videos of how quickly a couch can become engulfed in flame as well as heartbreaking footage of loss and destruction but, on this dreary day, I headed downstairs with candle and cup as well as a box of safety matches in the pocket of my hooded sweatshirt.


Pulling my chair to the window for ventilation purposes, I placed the candle out of reach of the cats yet close enough to douse with my tea if things went wrong.

Happily surveying my tableau of both relaxation and fire safety, I lit the candle--quickly blowing out the match in hopes of diffusing the initial tell-tale whiff of sulphur. Drawing a cozy afghan over my knees, I took a sip of tea and opened my book. Ahhhhhh….

I had read less than one page when I heard movement above me and Seth's voice at the top of the stairs, "Do I smell a match?"

"How would I know what you smell, I'm not you." This was the wrong answer, immediately giving away the fact that he did, indeed, smell a match. I had left him snoring deeply at the other end of the house. What kind of superhuman smelling abilities does this man possess? More importantly, what can I say to keep him up there instead of down here, hell bent on extinguishing both my candle and my Zen moment?
Seth's concern....

Suddenly, he's in the room, running over to the candle and staring at it accusingly. 

"Why do you need this candle?" But, before I can answer, the warnings begin: I must carefully watch the cats who, apparently, are potential arsonists…not dare doze off…make sure it’s completely snuffed before I leave the room. 

I remind him that it's a small candle and not a giant and terrifying effigy in the California desert but an open flame is an open flame to Seth. He stomps away after making sure the match I used is not smoldering in the wastebasket.

I will burn down your

I try to enjoy the cozy scene I've arranged but he is now wide awake and pacing above me, occasionally standing by the stairs to ask when I'm going to be done and blow out the "damn candle." 

After about a half hour, I give up, passing Seth on the stairs as he heads down to make sure I’ve completely put out the flame. He is carrying a fire extinguisher.

Fast forward to early this morning. Seth and I are asleep when suddenly the room is filled with a choking stench that wakes me up in the same manner as might a two by four to the skull. I sit straight up and begin gagging, realizing that Nifi the cat, aka the Mad Pooper, has laid a big one in the litter box in the bathroom right next to the bed.

The Mad Pooper

Nifi produces stinkers of various strength (and size but that is another blog post entirely). This one is particularly lethal which I, with my last gasp of conscious thought, attribute to a little pinch of brisket we gave him as a treat the day before.

Because Seth is peacefully sleeping through this sensory assault and I am terribly mean, I shake him slightly, lean close and ask if he's ever smelled anything more horrifying than what Nifi hath just wrought. "I don't smell anything, he mumbled.

"You don't smell that??!!" I persist. "You smell an itty bitty candle halfway across the universe but you don't smell THAT?"

"Nope,” and back he went to sleep while I risked my own life to get up, scoop and flush.

There is no moral to this victorious or convenient ending for any of its participants-not for Seth who must endure being shaken in the night and commanded to smell very bad things...not for me who cannot enjoy a tangerine candle on a bleak winter's day and certainly not Nifi whose receipt of table scraps will now be restricted as a result of his bowel movements. 

But, then again, no one ever said life was easy.

.....and don't light candles.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. Thank you. I love love the illustrations.