What Kind of Mood Are You In Today?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Where There's Smoke...There's Rachael!

This is probably THE most embarrassing moment of my adult life.

I love my job. I really, really do! I have the privilege of not just being able to know every kid in school because I teach Music, but I also work in the main office part time and get to bandage up their wounds, give them hugs on a rough day, and clean up their vomit. Ok, that's not the best part, but after having three kids, I can handle it.

I also have some great co-workers and one day someone decided it would be fun to have a potluck. Whoohoo! I signed up for dessert and I thought it would be AWESOME to bring my chocolate fountain. Oh, yeah. This would be the talk of the day.

...Little did I know...

I went to the store the night before and got bananas, strawberries, maraschino cherries, marshmallows, Nutter Butters and Oreos. (Ohhhh I LOVE Oreos!!!) The next morning I got the chocolate, oil, fruit, and marshmallows, but as I was driving to school I realized that I had left behind the Nutter Butters and Oreos. Fortunately, I had a bit of time on my lunch break to run home and get them.

Not a whole lot of time, though, so when I returned to the school, I had to move FAST to get the fountain set up! Being a person of efficiency (hush, Travis!) I thought it would be best to melt the chocolate first. I had a Tupperware container full of it so I added some oil and stuck it in the microwave. I set it for 5 minutes and then rushed to set the fountain up.

I know 5 minutes seems like a long time, but the microwave at school was reeeeeaaaallllly slow!!! I didn't have time to go check it every minute when there was LOTS of chocolate to melt. I dashed off to the front of the office and began frantically setting up my fountain. With a little help from the P.E. teacher, it was ready for the chocolate.

I ran to the back to check on the chocolate.

Let me describe the layout of the office. When you walk into the door, my office is to your left and a conference room on the right. The conference room is where all the food was set up. If you look straight ahead, there is a long hallway that goes straight for about 30 feet, then it turns right 90 degrees. The Principal's office is on the right and just a little further down is a small room on your left. The room is about the size of a nice-sized walk in closet. Inside that room is another little room about the size of a small walk-in closet. That's where the microwave was stored. (Yeah, I'd be lost right now, too.)

So, I ran back to check on the chocolate, threw open the microwave and....OMGOSH!!! There was smoke billowing out and oh, the smell! Have you ever smelled burnt chocolate? It's worse than burnt popcorn. Absolutely disgusting.

I cannot have the entire office smelling like chocolate or everyone will be asking all day what that smell is! And remember the Principal's office is about 5 feet down the hallway and she would have to smell this the rest of the day. Not good-she's my boss! (She's a great one, though!!!) I think fast and start opening all the windows in the office. Naturally, all the teachers who are left (several had to go back to their classes) are wondering what is going on, so I frantically explain that I burnt the chocolate and I'm worried about it smelling up the office. No luck. You could smell it and IT WAS STRONG!

Someone suggested that I get the chocolate out of the microwave and put it outside. Great idea! I run back there and open the microwave again. The smoke billows out again and fills the room with the horrible odor of burnt chocolate. The teacher who followed me back there took the chocolate and headed for the front door. Being the quick thinker that I am, I see that there is a door to this little room and I think, "I better shut this door so the smoke doesn't set off the fire alarm!"

I head back to the front of the office and explain to everyone that dessert will be served without chocolate. Bummer. :( But everyone made the best of it, laughing about the incident when all of the sudden I hear something.

"What is that sound?" I say.

Everyone looks up with a quizzical look on their face. The room goes silent. My eyes grow as big as the marshmallows and I ask...

"Is that the fire alarm?"

Everyone who is seated shoots up and that's when it hit me...there's a smoke detector in the microwave room, too!!! It's a school- there are smoke detectors everywhere!

There everyone goes. What teachers were left in the room had students who were on the playground. They run out to the yard to help the yard supervisor assemble the kids. I run to the back room and open the door, then head out myself to the back of the parking lot. As I'm walking out, there is a steady stream of children in silent, straight lines and teachers trying to keep a straight face. Some were trying not to laugh, but others looked a bit frightened.

You see, it was nap time for preschool. Not that we would never do a fire alarm during nap time, but it's not like it's the most favored time to do one. The teachers do not know when a fire drill will be, but they know it's nap time and can't help but wonder if this is the real thing. As my daughter told me later, "Mom, (name of teacher) was a lot faster on the fire drill today!"

I'm dying of embarrassment and feeling really bad that I woke up a bunch of preschoolers who would likely not go back to sleep after this. To make matters worse, a parent pulls into the parking lot and sees everyone filing out. I'm really hoping this parent thinks it's just a fire drill!

Once the children are all assembled, it's customary for the principal to tell the kids how quickly they made it out, gives them an 'atta boy/girl for coming out so quietly, then turns off the alarm and everyone heads back to class. Not this time. Everyone had to wait until the fire alarm shut off on its own before returning to class and this didn't happen in the first 5 minutes, either.
All the kids had to sit down on the pavement and the frightened looking teachers look at the smiling teachers and are naturally wondering what in the world is going on. Oh, boy did I have some explaining to do, especially to the preschool teachers!

The alarm finally shut off and everyone returned to class, but there was no putting it behind me just yet. I went back to the office where someone suggested that I throw the Tupperware bowl away and take the microwave outside.

Somehow the Junior High kids found out what happened and news began to spread. Parents began arriving to pick up their children and some of the little ones began yelling, "MOM! MOM! We had a real fire today!" Oh, man. Now I've got to tell the parents what REALLY happened! I am SO VERY embarrassed!!!

Eventually the microwave found its way to the dumpster because the smell never did dissipate and the next time the teachers wanted a chocolate fountain, they asked me to bring it, but didn't let me melt the chocolate.

I still haven't lived it down. I think I'm going to be a legend.

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