One morning last spring, W was practicing his knots (because Scouts do that kind of thing when they’re bored…). He was using a long length of climbing rope, and somehow, he thought that tying one end to the couch and the other to himself was a good idea. Hold that thought….
J and I were in the kitchen having a conversation about the day. We were preparing to do some community service, and we were reminiscing about previous experiences at this same site in years past. I had started my breakfast, but as usual, I had twenty-five different projects I was also tending, including the laundry in the basement.
W kept calling to me, wanting me to know just how far (or not) he was able to stray from the couch. He was, quite literally, on a relatively short leash.
I popped a bagel in the toaster, cracked two eggs in a pan, and took a quick trip upstairs to gather laundry. When I returned, the bagel popped up, and I removed it from the toaster. However, because the bagel was frozen when I put it in, one particular part just didn’t seem to be done, so I pushed it back down. I didn’t plan to leave it for the entire toasting cycle. I flipped the eggs and went down to drop the sheets in the laundry room. I started the washing machine, poured in the detergent, and added the sheets.
When I got to the top of the stairs, W made sure I saw his knots as I walked through the living room. “Nice!” I complimented as I gave him the thumbs up.
The acrid smell of burning toast hit my nose just as the smoke detector screamed a piercing bleep. Darn! My first thought came through the screaming of the smoke detector. A good bagel, ruined!
But then from the other room, interspersed with the beeps, I heard a small, pathetic, voice. “Help? Help me!”
And then a splay of laughter erupted from the child who had tied himself to the couch. Clearly, he had approached this knot-tying activity with a false sense of security. Because after all, what if…?
I looked at J and tipped my head, indicating our escape through the door. She smiled in conspiracy. We took off running out the front door (safety first, you know) where we stood on the front walkway laughing so hard we were doubled over. The bleeping of the smoke detector stopped as abruptly as it had begun. We were deeply amused with ourselves and the situation.
Back in the house, W remained in the living room, expertly tied to the leg of the couch. He, too, was laughing. Of all the times that the smoke detector could have gone off, it happened when he was unable to leave his spot in the living room.
Of course, if it had been a real emergency, I would have grabbed the scissors and cut him free from the couch before I ran out the door. He would have been mad, initially, that I had ruined his rope, but he would have been grateful that I had saved his life.
Burnt toast, however, does not constitute a real emergency, but a valuable lesson was learned that day. The thought of tying oneself to the couch to practice knots… maybe that’s not such a good idea.