Sunday, October 17, 2010

Meeting the neighbors

I guess it's the "I-world" we live in, but we don't know our neighbors that well.  We recognize them enough to say "hi", but we don't really hang out.  That said, because this time of year most of us have our windows open and because we share laundry facilities, we are definitely aware of our neighbors.

This afternoon I was searing some chicken that will go in the crock pot for chicken and dumplings (don't you hate crock pot recipes that you have to cook before they cook all afternoon in the crock pot?).  There was some smoke coming off the pan, and it set off the smoke alarms.  We set of the smoke alarm... oh... twice a week cooking dinner so I know that with this type, once they go off, they go off for a predetermined time and you can't fan them or press a reset button to get them to stop.  I had the windows open, but I kept the door closed because I didn't want to irritate our neighbors too much.

Now before you think I'm a truly awful cook,   a big part of the reason the smoke alarm goes off all the time has to do with a design flaw in our kitchen.

The stove (lower right), which makes the smoke is not situated beneath the vent (upper left), which is supposed to make the smoke go away.  Assuming that the vent actually works (it makes a noise, but I've never attempted to find out if it actually takes in air), a lot of smoke fills the room before it gets to the vent.

So I was merrily cooking along, listening to Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, ignoring the smoke alarm when I hear a knock on the door.  I opened it to see my neighbor, asking if everything is alright.  I turn back to the room and see it is filled with smoke.   A lot of smoke.  I explain the situation.  He tries to reset the smoke alarms (which as I've said before doesn't work).  I open a few more windows and leave the door open until the alarms finally go off.

While I do appreciate that my neighbors care enough not to let us die a fiery death, I was pretty embarrassed about the whole thing.  The neighbor sounded very suspicious of the idea that I should be cooking anything.  (On the other hand, maybe he should be embarrassed that I know he was playing Magic, The Gathering for hours yesterday afternoon.  Open windows; noise carries).

On an only slightly related note, sometimes bad things can actually be beneficial.  Yesterday afternoon a package of chicken (or something) leaked on me and some of my groceries while I was checking out at the grocery store.  Because I was Zen about it (and believe me, I need all the positive reinforcement I can get in this area), the checkout guy gave me a free bouquet of flowers!

Despite all the commotion, I still think dinner is going to taste good.  I'll have a long afternoon waiting for it considering whole apartment smells like chicken nuggets!

Have a good Sunday, all.