Norma and I enjoy hosting cookouts for family and friends. Our large backyard is great for entertaining. And the best part is the gas grill—big, shiny, with stainless steel covers on the burners.
One beautiful afternoon, we invited our kids and grandkids over for a barbecue. Norma was still at work, so it was my job to get the grill ready. We hadn't used it all winter, so I put all four burners on high to get rid of any residue. I planned to scrape it and spray some oil on it so it would be in prime condition for the cookout. I went into the house to wait for it to heat up. And being ADHD, my mind immediately jumped to a new idea—why not ask the kids if they'd like to go boating?
I called, and they took me up on the offer. So I walked the two blocks to the dock, revved up the boat, and we zoomed off.
Two hours later, as I was docking, my cell phone rang. The caller was sobbing so much that I couldn't figure out who it was.
"Please calm down and tell me who you are and why you're crying," I said.
Finally she regained enough composure to wail, "This is your wife, and the house is on fire!"
I wasn't even wearing shoes, but I sprinted home. The grill and the wooden area beneath it were in flames, and Norma was frantically spraying it with a hose. The grill's knobs had melted so we couldn't turn off the gas—it was coming out full blast, in flames. Thankfully, Norma had called 911; the fire department arrived just as I did. They put out the fire while I comforted my nearly hysterical wife. One of the firemen told me that if Norma had been 15 minutes later, we'd have lost our house.1