My father didn’t cook. I can’t even recall him ever making a sandwich, much less cooking. He did chop the onions and celery for stuffing on Thanksgiving (the only time I ever saw him chop anything) and late in life he did start making bouillabaisse occasionally – a dish with which my mother resolutely refused to be associated.
Of course, being a middle-class American male, he did the outdoor grilling (although my mother prepared anything that was going on the grill). I can still envision my father dousing the coals, lighting the match and flinging it from as far as he could manage. The grill would practically explode in flames; my father used gasoline, not lighter fluid to start the fire. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as lighter fluid until I was an adult out on my own.
You’d think that having watched my father blow up the grill on a regular basis growing up that I would have a good sense of the power of gasoline. Three weeks ago, after the last measurable snow, I got my snowblower out for the first time this winter. It was given to me by a neighbor who moved to Chicago; he left his gas can to me as well. As I was adding gas to the machine I noticed that the spout had sprung a leak and to keep the gas from running all over, I held the spout together with my gloved hand. Since my glove was now wet with gas, I pulled a second glove from my pocket and pulled it on over the first.
When I got all done and went inside, I pulled off the gloves along with all my now-sweaty clothing and threw it all in the washing machine with a few other dirty items from my hamper. Now some of you are probably already shaking your head, but I was still clueless until I opened the washing machine later to the overpowering small of gas. If I had known I was about to do something stupid, it would have been easy to find online advice about gas on clothing. But since I hadn’t known, now I had a washing machine full of gas fume-filled clothing.
It took me a full week and at least six washings (some with just vinegar and water, some with detergent) before I was willing to put the clothes in the dryer and even then I ran the dryer on air dry for over an hour. Now that it’s been a couple of weeks, I’ve lost track of what clothes were in that load but I’m still feeling compelled to smell things as they come out of the washer. (Oh, and I threw the gloves away when I realized what I had done.)
Done anything foolish recently that could have been avoided with a bit of advice?