Tuesday, January 25, 2011

If You Can't Stand The Heat...

If you saw me right now, you would tell me to close my mouth because quite frankly? It's STILL hanging open. Never mind OMG.


So - this is the scoop. Last Thursday night, not to be DRAMATIC or anything BUT - I almost killed my family. (who meeeee dramatic??? I prefer to be called "colorful" - thank you very much.) but...


Is anyone familiar with a cornbag? Ok - so for those who are not, it is a cloth bag filled with corn (not popcorn smartasses) that you warm in a microwave for 2-5 minutes and then you can use it in a variety of different ways. For example, you can use it on an aching back. You can put it in your bed and warm your freezing feet (my personal favorite) and actually you can freeze it too and use it as a cold pak. (Funny that this cornbag photo to your left has flames on it! You will see why in a minute. Yikes!!!)

Anyway - I threw it in the microwave and instead of punching in FIVE minutes, I inadvertently punched in FIFTY minutes. 20 minutes later my house was filled with toxic smoke, my kids were awaken out of a sound sleep, choking and could not breathe and the nightmare began. Long story short - I opened all the windows, got the smoke out, went to bed, only to wake at 5am to a house filled with smoke AGAIN and a cornbag combusting away in the microwave. As soon as my husband went to remove the offensive evidence from the microwave, it BURST into flames. Aghhhhhhhh.
We were left with a hideous, toxic odor in the house that literally made us sick. We spent 2 days buying and trying everything we could to erradicate the smell. Unfortunately, it was embedded in the carpets, bedding, drapes, clothing...just an insurmountable amount of work. Speaking of bedding, ironically, I had just taken 13 blankets and comforters to the laundry mat that very day of the fire. (Now THAT was a sight to see. I haven't been in a laundry mat since 1984! Do you think I even know how to "work" the laundry mat? Don't ask. Only ME...)

Anyway, I have spent the last 5 days tackling one room at a time, washing EVERYTHING. I feel like I have gotten alot of the smell out of the house but we keep running into pockets of that horrid, putrid smell. The microwave is ruined and the whole wall that the oven and microwave is built in to REEKS. And yet, what appears to be an amazing thing - has happened.

On Friday, I called my insurance agent and they kind of made me feel like I was being a babypoo-poo'd what happened a little bit and said they were very busy with all the roofs caving in from our wonderful winter of snow and ice and it would be a while before an adjuster would get back to me. Me - being the meek, humble girl that I am, (oh you be quiet all you naysayers!) I was like, "ok! no problem!"

Yesterday I got a facebook email from my friend, Aileen, encouraging me to call them back. She explained that she had been in a similar situation and the insurance company paid for a complete cleaning of her house to clear the smoke out of everything and also they replaced appliances etc. Well - after 5 days of attacking this problem and feeling like I was on a treadmill, I decided to push the insurance company. Couldn't they just come in and clean the ceilings that were smoke damaged?


Who knew there was a whole other dimension to insurance claims then just calling the agent? Without going into boring detail, I am not only getting my house completely cleaned from top to bottom - carpets, walls, ceilings, bedding, all clothing (and I mean ALL clothing - every stitch from every closet) and drapes dry cleaned, I may get even more! We are negotiating new cabinets & appliances. WHATTTTTT??????????? I KID you not!

Do you even NEED to ask where the JOY is in this situation????? I am positively giddy!!!

As an aside - Aileen is someone I met wayyyy back in 1984. Actually, I knew who she was way back in high school! But she does not remember me in high school although I remember her cuz she was very cool!! (those schnows! Secret code!) Anyway - for a few years after college, I ended up in a community where my abode was behind her abode. We didn't socialize or really know each other well but spoke occasionally and waved. We actually worked in the same place but not at the same time during those years. So it is very amazing to me that we have become facebook friends and forged a connection these past 2 years. We seem to be a bit kindred!

So Aileen, thank you sooooo much! If you hadn't written me volumes in your emails today, about your personal experience (and I mean volumes, folks!), if you hadn't continued to push me with every email, I never would have made the follow-up call to the insurance agent. I honestly thought we were on our own for this one. So if nothing else, I'm getting my house scrubbed and sterilized!!! Let's see what else! You rock, girlfriend!♥♥♥


  1. Ummm... I have a question. HOW... did you burn not ONE... but TWO CORNBAGS?????... how did the second smokefest start?

  2. I almost mentioned insurance to you this morning, but figured you were on it! So happy for you. Just don't do it again -- the insurance company will drop you like a hot potato. Happened to me with two water damage claims.

  3. Karen, I guess I was unclear because you are the second person to ask that question. The original cornbag stayed in the oven because I "thought" it was cooling down. I stupidly thought the lack of oxygen in the microwave would cool down and extinguish the smoke source. It wasn't on "fire" when this whole thing started. It was combusting horribly (I thought - blonde that I am). I never saw flames untikl the morning incident.

  4. Holy crap! What a story. New Appliances! How did you manage to swing that!?!?!?!? Good for you! Glad everyone is OK..

  5. Well, not a definite. But a new microwave!! Haaa!