We had a little excitement here yesterday. It started off when I lit a very nice scented candle from my mom.
I want you all to know that I practice safe candling. I trim my wicks. I keep the lit candle on the safe, heat proof stove top. I light them with one of those red, clicking lighter things, which I carefully leave on the counter so that the hot tip won’t damage anything in the drawer. And I never leave a lit candle unattended. No siree, I sit there and watch the thing burn. Ok, maybe not that last one. But in general, I’m very careful with my candles. After all, we’ve already had to move once because we flooded our house, I can’t imagine the housing office being too pleased with us if we burn down this one.
Anyway, my candle is burning safely in the kitchen, wafting lovely smells of cookie dough through out the house. Boo and Pumpkin Girl had been playing upstairs, then came down to tell me what they wanted for lunch. Mac and cheese, of course. So I set some water to boil and walked away. A few minutes later, Boo said, “Ew! What’s that awful smell?” Now, we don’t call him Melodramatic Boy for nothing. He’s also very particular about smells and Pumpkin Girl and I couldn’t burn our favorite Christmastime scented candle because it would cause Boo to writhe around on the floor in mock agony. So I’m sceptical about this “awful smell.” I don’t smell anything, besides the candle, but I go check it out.
Do you remember how I very carefully set the red lighter thingy on the counter to cool? Right next to the stove? Well, it’s handle was thisclose to touching the boiling pot of water and was melting and smoking and sending the most obnoxious smell into the house.
You know those things are filled with lighter fluid, right? Flammable lighter fluid.
Now I happen to be extraordinarily calm in the face of disaster. Except for one incident when I was 8 and ran into a building during an earthquake. But that was 20-odd years ago and I’ve learned a bit since then.
So I very calmly turned off the stove. I used a wooden spoon to move the hot, melting lighter thingy away from the pot. I got a clean, metal pot, filled it with water. I licked my finger to touch the lighter, which wasn’t too hot, so I stuck it’s melting end, which happened to be the part with the fluid, into the water. Szzzzz.
I shooed the children outside, turned on the fan and opened all the doors.
I don’t have a picture of the melted lighter thingy to share with you, mostly because I’m kind of embarrassed.
You’d think that would be enough for one day. Sadly, no.
Later in the evening, one of our hermit crabs decided to become a nudist. This is very, very bad for crabs. While they are hard and crustacean-y on the parts you can see, they are soft and weird looking inside their shell. Kind of like those symbiont Trill things from Star Trek Deep Space Nine. Not that I ever watch that show. My husband is the Star Trek Geek around here, thank you very much. And I most certainly was not upset that Counselor Troi and Worf never got together and he ended up marrying that Trill-host girl. Not that I know who Counselor Troi or Worf or
Dax the Trill-host girl are.
Anyway, so I found one of our hermit crabs sitting naked on top of the rock structure that the children gave the crabs for Christmas. Being the picture of calm in the face of disaster, I calmly told my husband that one of the crabs was out of his shell and I needed his help. Calm is one thing, but no way was I touching the weird looking naked crab.
I quickly went to the Hermit Crab Association message boards and found out what we needed to do. The folks on this message board are great, by the way, even if they are crazy in love with their hermit crabs like some people are with dogs and cats.
As soon as we opened the crabitat, the crab stuffed itself into one of the crevices of the rock structure. I found it’s abandoned shell, which I put into a small pyrex measuring cup. Philip tried gently prying the crab out of the rocks with a chop stick, but in the end we just picked up the rock structure and shook the crab into the cup. We added a couple of more shells for him to choose from and left him alone.
He picked a different shell for awhile, then moved back into his original one. We set up a little isolation chamber for him in the tank, just in case he’s sick. We used empty CD cases as walls because they are slick and too high for the crabs to climb.
When crabs go naked, they very often die, but so far ours is ok. The thing is, crabs don’t go naked unless they are bothered by something. I suspect the noxious fumes from the melted lighter.