Only you can prevent forest fires or why I shouldn’t play with matches.

The good news is that I didn’t burn down my apartment. The less than good news is that there was a moment in which my life flashed before my eyes. This was one of the less intelligent things I’ve done in years. No, l must be honest. This was one of the dumbest things I’ve done in my whole life. So embarrassing. It’s probably why I usually don’t mess around with matches…and sharp objects; yeah, I should probably stay away from sharp objects too for good measure.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I got it into my crazy head to make a menorah out of Babybel cheese wax coverings and lint upon reading how to make fire starters in Backpacker Magazine. It just so happens that, at the time of reading, I was working my way through a Costco-sized bag of just this brand of cheese. How could I resist?

So on Wednesday after work, I regressed to kindergarten and made my own menorah. First, I took a cheese wax casing and stuffed it with lint like so:

FYI - Lint is the accumulations of textile fibers and other materials, usually found on and around clothing. Yeah, edumucated. Thanks, Wikipedia.

FYI – Lint is the accumulations of textile fibers and other materials, usually found on and around clothing. Yeah, I know, challenging concept.

Then I smooshed the wax to encapsulate the lint and flattened the creation onto a piece of aluminum foil like this:

Form over function. Looks candle-like. Doesn't act candle-like.

Form over function. Looks candle-like. Doesn’t act candle-like.

Unfortunately, the creation didn’t burn when I attempted to light it. So, I tried again, this time adding a piece of rolled up toilet paper to the craft. Success! The masterpiece burned itself out in about 10 minutes, although it did tinge the apartment with a burning smell. I opened the kitchen window and put the fan on, and I thus considered the problem solved.

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Then I molded 8 identical “candles” and one Shamash, the tall “candle” in the middle. For any of you out there that have opinions on menorahs, I know this one wasn’t Kosher and that I didn’t light it in keeping with religious tradition. It also wasn’t the eighth night of Chanukah. Let’s call a spade a spade: I was doing this solely for my own amusement.

Maybe I'm more creative than that fifth grade art teacher gave me credit for.

Maybe I’m more creative than that fifth grade art teacher gave me credit for.

When I asked April if she thought I should burn the menorah on top of aluminum foil on the floor of the kitchen, she concurred. Now, can anybody out there tell me why this would be a terrible idea? I mean it’s on foil, right? That’s enough protection for the kitchen floor, right? RIGHT?!

So, I struck a match and lit all the candles to mesmerizing effect.

This doesn't look out of control, does it? Of course not. I made so many safety precautions.

This doesn’t look out of control, does it? Of course not. I took so many safety precautions.

And then, after a few minutes, I realized that the heat had burned a hole in the aluminum foil, and the increasingly intense flames were licking the linoleum tile underneath. My stomach immediately decided to jump ship (the coward!), but luckily it became lodged thoroughly in my throat.

Adrenaline rushing, I gingerly snagged the now-burning aluminum foil and threw it in the sink, at which point the smoke alarms in April and my bedrooms began to shrilly scream. After I put out the pulverized “menorah” and shut off the smoke alarms, I assessed the damage to the linoleum tiles. Two had been scorched.

Ay ay ay, Jor, what an idiot.

On the bright side, linoleum tile costs like $20 for a box of 20. Also on the bright side, having lived in my apartment for over five years, the linoleum tile is stained and faded such that management would surely have to replace it when we move anyway. Also also on the bright side, we have a throw rug in the kitchen that conveniently hides the burnt tiles. Also also also on the bright side, I’ve learned a valuable lesson about putting said menorah on a cookie sheet next time and/or lighting it outside on our concrete slab balcony (I reckon that you’ve now learned the lesson too, and there’s nothing I like better than teaching others from my mistakes). Also also also also on the bright side, I don’t plan on making anything like this while hiking the Appalachian Trail, so – really – you don’t have to worry that I’ll start a forest fire.

Meandering on,

Jordana

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41 thoughts on “Only you can prevent forest fires or why I shouldn’t play with matches.

  1. Oy vey! Time to get yourself a nice little metal menorah :). But I appreciate the tip – when my adventurous daughter gets a similar idea someday (and I know she will), I’ll know which story to tell her.

    Happy Hanukkah!

  2. My family keeps reminding me of the time I set the living room drapes on fire with my candles. I don’t remember it at all, of course; I think they’re just making it all up. I’ve never played with candles THAT much, surely! Well, not counting the time my new hubby came home from work the Monday after we were married, and I had set out my candles along the windowsill and had lit them (to provide ‘atmosphere’, y’know), and he came in and said he thought for a minute he’d married a Catholic and moved into a chapel. But really, I’m quite safe around candles and matches. Really.

    No, really, stop laughing.

  3. Pingback: Getting in good with the tree hugging hippie thru-hikers « My Meandering Trail

  4. Pingback: A Stove for the Trail – Revisited « My Meandering Trail

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