How my new diet tried to burn down my apartment, or at least pretend to.

May 7, 2009

So as of late I’ve been trying to lose some weight. Spare me the “you’re fine!” shit, because my wii fit (and I) took my BMI and it wasn’t pretty. I’m like toenail away from “overweight.” I’ll be the first to admit I’ve put on some pounds over the last few years… I know what my body is capable of looking like, and I’d at least like to be fit so I can make my body type on read “athletic and toned” instead of “about average.” God. I hate being about average.

Anyway, this isn’t a story about how much I weigh. This is a story about what happened tonight: how my diet tried to burn down my apartment.

I watched this show called “Cook Yourself Thin.” And okay, while I’m not really into fad diets, these recipes they were making actually sounded kind of good, so I bought the cookbook off of Amazon and figured I could eat reduced calorie meals for 2 weeks, and supposedly I’ll drop a dress size. Awesome. I think I can handle this.

I mean, this should work regardless. I cut out the junk food (which is like all the time) and count calories and stick to it and I should be fine. I think.

But okay here’s where it gets good.

I went grocery shopping today and decided that I would buy ingredients for a few meals to cook for the week so I could have leftovers and still be eating the “healthy” things I had cooked. Came home, remembered I told Kelly I’d go out to dinner with her, and decided I would start tomorrow.

And then there was this bigass thunderstorm.

I should have taken this as a sign from God. Like “shit is gonna go down, Natalie.” but I just ignored it. Kelly and I decided to raincheck on the dinner because they was this hellish looming cloud over the city that basically was saying “if you exit your apartment i will strike you down with the hand of GOD.” So I stayed in and decided to cook.

Chicken sounds good right? I bought a 3lb chicken to cook and decided it would also make sweet chicken salad leftovers for the weekend. Bomb. Preparing it wasn’t an issue, in fact, it was hella easy. I think it was the first time I had really ever like held a chicken and washed it though. I thought it was actually something I had done but it felt really foreign and kind of like I was cradling a baby’s head and rubbing it with olive oil and sage and rosemary and salt and pepper. Mmm delicious chicken/baby.

Anywho, threw that puppy in the oven and sat down to, you know, sit on twitter all afternoon and update my profile. According to match, this is important to making new connections, and I had gotten an email from some hot investment banker/photographer today so I didn’t want to totally cut myself off from match yet…. sigh.

So maybe like 45 minutes in, I’m watching Andrew Zimmerhoot or whatever on Bizarre Foods and then I am frozen by the strikingly loud and obnoxious sound of the fire alarm.


The chicken wasn’t on fire. It was actually just the oils and drippings and whatever burning to the pan, but they were apparently giving off hella smoke, and I looked up to realize I was swimming in a sea of fog.
I threw open all the windows, turned on a fan, ran over to the fire alarm, ripped out the battery, and prayed it would stop.

And it did. Well, except for the “I don’t have a battery” alarm that went off every minute or so. Ugh. So I’m still drowning in smoke, the alarm still beeps, and I’m totally peeved.

I call my mom. She tells me to call the landlord to see if it’s connected to an automatic emergency call (unlikely) or if there’s a way to recalibrate my oven (huh?) and turn off the fire alarm (yeah right).

Well get this: Landlord leaves the office at 6. It’s 6:15, and he’s definitely not answering the phone.


So I go to my neighbors door and knock to see if she’s got an alternate number for the landlord. She doesn’t have one, but tells me she’ll call her husband and check. The irony is her husband is a chef, and I am fucking up cooking.

I talk to my mom again and she suggests I call the fire department non-emergency line and ask them. I figure 311 is probably the way to handle that, so I get off the phone with her and call up 311.

That’s when I met Natasha, and she ruined my day.

“This is going to sound like a really stupid question,” I said, “but my fire alarm went off because I was cooking and something smoked a little bit and I’m wondering how to make the fire alarm stop or if there’s a contact number to my landlord that he had to give the city.”

Natasha promptly connected me to 911.

The operator didn’t seem to understand what “This is a non-emergency” met. Sure, this isn’t my first time talking to 911 for a non-emergency, but being so put on the spot like this kind of sucked. She took all my information and told me she was sending someone over.
“No. You don’t understand. Nobody needs to come.” I was fighting back stress-tears at this point. “Nothing is on fire. This is a NON EMERGENCY. My apartment is just smokey and the alarm went off.”
“We just want someone to come check.” She said.

Apparently “someone” meant 9 firemen who tried to break down the front door of my building.

Luckily I opened it for them, explained that it was a NON EMERGENCY (half of them looked at me like I was crazy and the other half sighed and seemed really pissed at the dispatcher) but 7 or so tromped up to my apartment and examined the situation.

I want to make this part really clear: these are not your average firemen. These are not like the Boston Fire Department that showed up at 50 Garden that one night the girl upstairs lit her windowsill on fire at 3am (don’t ask.) These are not fat old grumpy men who seriously don’t want to be there. These are gorgeous, young, sweet, dream-boat firemen. I suddenly wished I wasn’t in a dirty hanes v-neck and had put some makeup on.

They helped open the tops of my windows, put my alarm back together, and a few of them actually started to check on the chicken.

“Did you put some water in the bottom?”
“Tin foil on the bottom of the pan would have done the trick.”
“Did it light on fire?”
“Have you done this before?”
They were all very sweet. I felt a little picked on for fucking up the chicken, but they were very nice and realized I was super stressed out by them showing up when I didn’t need them to. A few more came up to examine the situation, only to realize we were chatting about how I fucked up the chicken. The neighbor peeks out her door to give me the number that she’s got (turned out 20 minutes later it’s the number I already have). The firemen say hello to her little boy (Fransisco, I think his name is. Too cute.) Then the firemen who just showed up chimed in and gave their two cents while I’m SUPER red with embarrassment and then just as quickly as they came they left to go back to the firehouse.

Called my mom. Hysterical. So embarrassed.

Then the oven goes off. The chicken is done.

I take it out and put it near the window so that it can cool down faster and anything burning on it can hopefully float out of my apartment instead of contaminating it more. The inside of the oven looks like a crime scene.

Then the doorbell rings. It’s a cop. He just wants to make sure everything is okay and the firemen didn’t destroy my apartment. Turns out firemen are incredibly clumsy due to those heavy suits they wear. I don’t blame them. They did drop some heavy shit on my floor, but whatever, it was already scratched up to hell.

Cop leaves. I cut up the chicken. It’s pretty tasty shit for such a pain in the ass.

So much for this diet. Not helpful, skinny ladies.

On the bright side, I added up my caloric intake for the day, and I was under my daily limit (your ideal body weight x 10) so I get to have some beers tonight. Win.

I hope this diet doesn’t burn down my apartment. I was really looking forward to the vanilla zucchini cupcakes.


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