Gaston/ fire alarm update

A few of you have been asking for updates about my oldest son, code name: Gaston, because there’s no one as burly and brawny and he’s got biceps to spare.

Let me tell all of you women who don’t have children yet—having boys is not something for the faint hearted. Boys do not think like we do. And they enjoy destroying things. Sometimes it is just better not to know what they’re doing.

Like the time when Gaston was in third grade and he told me he got in trouble for doing back flips off the swings. While they were moving.

Me: Why in the world did you do that?
Him: The other kids always want me to do it. They think it’s neat.
Me: realizing that this is something he’s done many times Aaah!

Another example is when his scout leader told me, “Do you know that Gaston can climb all the way up a lamp post?”

Double Aaah! I didn’t need to know that.

Another thing boys like is playing with fire.
Here is a picture of Gaston and his friend T-man igniting something with a Bunsen burner. (I didn’t take this picture; T-man’s parents did. They have all boys so they’re used to this sort of thing.)

So the other day while I was typing away, I heard a ruckus downstairs and words like “Fire” and “extinguisher” being thrown around by Gaston and my husband.

These are not words you really want to hear as you’re busy typing. By the time I reached downstairs it was completely filled with smoke.
It turns out Gaston was cooking up a smoke bomb on the stovetop. Apparently some part of the recipe requires you to caramelize sugar. Unfortunately Gaston caramelized it to the point that it turned into an inferno, effectively setting off the smoke bomb in my kitchen.

Here is a picture we took a few minutes afterwards in the living room. We had to open all the windows and completely air out the downstairs.
And despite the fact that we replaced the smoke detector the last time we had a “caramelizing issue” in the kitchen, the alarm still didn’t go off.

That’s good to know, right?


  1. Cheryl
    November 23, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    Man, I wish I had events like these in my home. I could totally use experiences like this as a tax-write-off because it would go straight into my novel, right? Right?

  2. Annette Lyon
    November 23, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    I’m just starting to hear the stories about my (thankfully, one!) son and his scout leaders. I think they’re responsible for his doing stupid, dangerous things. He was a pretty calm kid before he became a teen . . .

    I almost wish I had your smoke detectors. Mine is so freakishly sensitive that it goes off for five minutes when you open the oven for 5 seconds if there’s been any drips of any kind. It’s great fun cooking dinner, not knowing if you’ll have ear drums by the time it’s over.

  3. Poptart (fav nickname)
    November 23, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    My brothers are like that. They are always pulling stunts that cause them to hurt themselves or the other brothers 🙂
    My mom and I think that they get it from my dad. He was making smoke bombs or something like that, and he turned his back for a second and it blew up on him. Holes in his shirt, socks, pants, and he could have burned the house down. 🙂

    Our smoke detectors are lame like that too.

  4. Melanie J
    November 23, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    I have only boys. The oldest is nine. My days are numbered.

  5. Jennifer
    November 24, 2008 at 11:50 am

    My boys are 23, 17 and 8. Never a dull moment at our house. (There are also 3 girls – 21, 15 and 13)

  6. Janette Rallison
    November 24, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    A tax write off? I wonder if the IRS would deduct the four pillows my sons demolished last night in their pillow fight.

    And which is worse–to have a fire alarm that’s an over achiever or a slacker?

  7. Asenath
    November 24, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Finally you posted pictures!!

    I fear for when he starts driving.

  8. Lillian Syville
    November 24, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    When painting my room last month I noticed a small tag stiking out of my firealarm. We’ve been in our house five years and I just now pulled the ‘pull to activate’ tag.

    not that any of the other alarms work…

  9. JaredNGarrett
    November 25, 2008 at 11:32 am

    Janette, thanks for that. I’ve got the four boys and the oldest is 8 and a half. Now I know what to expect.

    Fire is cool you know.

  10. The Golfing Librarian
    November 25, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    When I was at Ricks, I had a roommate put some hotdogs on to boil and proceeded to forget about them. Needless to say, the water evaporated, the hotdogs turned to mini brickettes, and the aluminum pan melted. Our kitchen looked very much like yours!

    Back in the day when Grant Harris was my Scoutmaster, the name of our patrol was “The Pyro Patrol”. There’s just something about Scouting and fire that goes hand in hand.

  11. Janette Rallison
    November 25, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Do they give boy scouts a badge for pyromania? Or do they just figure that much goes without saying?

  12. LC Lewis's "Hear Ye, Hear Ye"
    November 26, 2008 at 9:50 am

    Reminds me of the great Chicken-fry fire of “94”, requiring a replacement of my entire kitchen. Glad to see you were forgiving about the episode. What a great Mom!

    Also, Janette is not old! Janette appears to be perfect!

  13. Janette Rallison
    November 26, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    My kids tell me all of the time how old I am, as in, “My teacher is really old–probably as old as you are.”

  14. Jennifer
    December 1, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    You know how you’re supposed to boil some water and put your babies pacifiers in for a few minutes to sterilize them? Well, imagine my chagrin when I smell something burning and come into the kitchen to find that they’re melting to the bottom of the pan because I forgot about them and all the water burned off. So, it’s not just boys. 😀

  15. Martha
    October 12, 2010 at 7:35 am

    That’s some serious smoke a smoke machine would be proud of sending out, so it’s probably a little concerning that such Fire Alarms don’t go off! Check the batteries, maybe it is an old fire alarm.

  16. home security fire alarm
    December 6, 2010 at 2:04 am

    Fire alarm is very important at home. It is advisable to have the dual-sensor smoke sensor fire alarm. This alarm can really help us at home. Also there is alarm that can contact fire department, paramedics and police department with the touch of a button. Better you have fire alarm at home.

  17. Las Vegas Fire Extinguisher Sales
    July 9, 2013 at 4:17 am

    It is very important to have a perfectly functional fire alarm system at your home. The reason for that is clear, you want to prevent any kind of danger to you or your family, to your property or to your house, it may be caused by an accidental fire.

    Las Vegas Fire Extinguisher Sales

  18. Usman Ch
    July 28, 2019 at 9:55 pm

    I agree. It is so important to teach children about fire safefy. I have always been scared about having a house fire and want to make sure my family knows just what to do. I was also looking into some fire protection in Toronto.

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