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VOICES: Work@Home

WAHM! BAM! Thank You MA'AM!

Being a WAHM has it's perks. You get to set your own hours, be your own boss, have a little respect...that sort of thing. Then one of those days comes along that makes you wonder why you thought it was such a "terrific, stupendous idea". That day - for me - came when I set my kitchen on fire with candle wax.

Otherwise known as “How I set my kitchen on fire, and other fun adventures”. Sigh. Right, so late one January night in 2006, I set fire to the kitchen. Before I go about telling you exactly how this intriguing incident occurred, let me set the stage for the events leading up to the above-mentioned “crispy kitchen”.

It all started at 11 o’clock a.m. yesterday morning. I have 4 orders to ship out, and without warning, my printer stops working. Claims there is a paper jam when in fact, there is no paper jam. No matter what I do, I can’t get it to stop saying there is a paper jam. Great, a hypochondriac printer. It should go live with my mother, they would be happy together.

So the printer breaks down (as of this posting it is still not fixed), and then I decide that I need to make a ton of new products to both take pictures of for my website and to stock my booth at the local antique market. I begin at noon. 45 soaps later, it is now 7 p.m. I’m exhausted, covered in soap and about a zillion scents (just call me Potpourri Lady), and not even halfway done. My stove, floor, walls, and everything else in sight is covered in oils (all flammable I might add, and we’ll come back to that later), as well as soap and dye. Oh yes, let’s not forget the dye. My house looked like a gay pride parade in a box.

Fast forward to about 9 p.m. at night. I have happily finished making all the soaps and bath stuffs (yay), and have decided to work on candles. Now, just receiving a new shipment of new wax that I haven’t tried before, I wasn’t too sure how well it would work out. Let me answer that question right now. It did not work out well. At all. The first thing I did, was to try to make a really big candle out of a half-moon shaped metal mold. A website somewhere said that if you are using tabbed wicks (wicks with the little silver metal bit on the end) you should cover the hole a non-tabbed wick would normally go through. See example to the right. They suggested using masking tape. I cannot say this with enough emphasis. That was bad advice. Evidently, masking tape reacts to hot wax by becoming non-adhesive.

Pop quiz folks - you have a huge metal container with a hole in the bottom. You pour super hot wax into it and the wax melts the tape off. What happens? My floor in the kitchen is no longer carpet. Its a wax floor. More specifically, it is a black wax floor. (insert a mental picture here)

So I decide to try something a little easier instead. How about some simple 2.5 inch votives. Can’t be that hard, right? So I start to make my votives. I get 3 black Witches Brew ones made, then start in on some nice patchouli. Here’s where my night gets interesting.

As I am stirring the hot wax, I take the thermometer out to set it in-between the burners. Now, remember those oils I was telling you about earlier? Well, for 9 hours, I had been letting those oils accumulate on the surface of the stove. When they got too messy, I would wipe them up with paper towels, and place the paper towels in a pot on the back burner. So we have an exhausted person who is trying to make a deadline and isn’t paying any attention, flammable oils all over the stovetop, and a huge pile of oil-soaked papertowels on the back burner. Now, typing that out, my first and only thought is “duh”. Probably occurred to you too, huh? Well after working on it for 9 hours, let’s just say I wasn’t exactly the sharpest crayon in the box at that moment.

So I take the thermometer out, and as soon as I do, the flame from the burner jumps to the thermometer in my hand. I drop the thermometer in shock, which lands on the oily stove. Have you seen Deuce Bigalow? The part where the whole countertop goes “WOOPH!” up in flames? That was my stove and wall. Now, sitting beside the stove (thank god for this) was a fire extinguisher I’ve always had “just in case”. Thanks to being in the US Navy for basic training for 2 months, I have it absolutely ingrained into my brain how to use a fire extinguisher to put out a fire in split second time.

The fire was safely put out, and my entire kitchen was coated with a powdery mess that comes from chemical fire extinguisher - leaving my kitchen coated in white stuff, ashes everywhere, wax, dye, and soap all over the place, and me ready to cry.

Luckily for me, and my husband's stress levels, I've learned a bit more about making candles since that night, but I can honestly say that being a WAHM can be a true test of your patience and endurance - and of course, your ability to use a fire extinguisher.

Stephanie Davies is a 28 year old work at home mom to a 9 year old boy in Mid-Missouri. Her hosting company, Hosting WAHMs offers premium webhosting from $2 per month and up, with an easy to use sitebuilder! She also loves to knit, build websites, and talk to people.

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