Few things about being a schoolteacher are as gratifying as the vacation time. Like right now!
Last night, however, as the missus lay all sleepy-poo under her covers, (she does NOT have the week off. So I try to be quiet when I stay up. Thoughtful husband,) I was enjoying a late night repast of Mai Tais and popcorn, when suddenly it hit me: The wicks on my new tiki-totem-shaped tiki torches are too long!
I decided to light them! Ingenious. So I fill the little bastards with citronella fuel and break out the Zippo, (actually, the Zippo was out in my truck. I used a Bic. But since "Break out the Zippo" just sounds better, lets keep that line in for all future retellings...)
I gave the wicks a little extra "burn room" and add the fuel. A few moments later, they are fully charged and I give them a light. Magnificent! A big, full flame with that odor of burning citronella that just yells, "SUMMERTIME!"
Suddenly, though, the yelling is real. Or at least an approximation of yelling. Apparently, the extra wick, and the newness of it, threw off quite a little bit of soot into the room, and my smoke detectors proved that bargain batteries are just as good as those brand names, blaring their wake-up call to rat me out to the wife!
Now, years ago, I studied to be a firefighter, (among a plethora of other things) and am well practiced in the case of such an emergency. I spring into action...
I quickly disabled the smoke detectors after the first two sets of chirps! I opened the back door and blew out my torches and waited for repercussions.
Shortly thereafter, the bedroom door opens and my wife, Cheryl, comes out. She uses the bathroom. Maybe she was awakened but wasn't aware of what caused her to wake! That has happened to me in the past!
Upon leaving the bathroom, she calls down to me. "What was that noise?" she asks.
"Noise?" I feign ignorance, poorly. "What noise? I didn't hear anything. I'm sure you were dreaming!" (They always use THAT line in the movies. It sometimes works, too. Why the fuck not? I mean, what do I have to lose, right?)
"That beeping! You KNOW what I'm talking about," she quickly sees through my cunning deception, (and knowing that I had a Mai Tai or two that evening, she more than likely imagined me doing one of my drunken fry-ups!)
With nowhere else to turn, (and lord knows, the truth is not a card needed to play yet!) I dismiss the whole thing with, "Don't you worry about that. It has been dealt with." I hoped that these words made me out to seem more of a protector and less of a menace, and Cheryl sighs, a sigh somewhere between exasperation and too tired to care for further dealings with my like. She returns to sleep.
But I had a taste. And I liked it. I took my two new torches out back, (lesson learned!) and lit them again. Oh my god! The smell of citronella has such a ring of summer to it. It was awesome. If I had a hard time getting motivated to do some work out in the yard yesterday, well, today was a cinch. Summer is well and truly on the horizon and I had just the slightest taste of it last night.
And though Cheryl doesn’t realize it yet, so did she.