Do you believe in fate? No scary spiders, promise!


Old Breville Toaster
Awesome Breville Toaster

This morning before I leave for knitting I drop two Eggo waffles – my usual quick breakfast – into the toaster. I do not like pancakes or waffles, but I love the “chocolatey” chip Eggos (which I realize aren’t real chocolate). I only like them toasted crispy so they’re not the least bit soggy inside.

My mind registers an old Tupperware container beside the toaster. On top of the container sits a bag of granulated Splenda I recently bought. Ken uses it to sweeten his homemade iced tea.

A thought comes to me: I should move that bag so it doesn’t fall on the toaster. If it hits the button on top, it could turn on the toaster. The bag and the Splenda inside will melt, and, as my granddaughter once said regarding bringing her beloved stuffed zebra, Beeyah, into the bathroom: “That’s a recipe for disaster.”

I have a clear image of the bag on top of the toaster falling. The same sense you get when you see something you’re carrying – like a full can of Pepsi – fall, and you know it will happen, and you’d like to stop it, but you’re powerless to prevent it.

I file the image under “when I get home I’ll fill the container.”

I totally forget about it. I eat my breakfast and go to knitting. Knitting is group therapy for those of us who indulge in the needle arts. Besides socks and scarves for gifts, I’ve recently done some lace knitting with fine yarn. Following a difficult pattern is not easy while talking to a group of people, but they’re supportive of each other, and I enjoy the camaraderie.

Today our house cleaners are scheduled to come, so I knit and visit and chill.

An aside: we recently changed cleaners because our former company was not doing a very good job. The new group has only been here once before and did a great job cleaning and dusting and changing our bed – which is a chore for two people with bad backs.

When I walk in, I smell something funky. Not the fresh odor of whatever magic cleaning compounds the crew uses, but something that smells burned.

Ken says, “Get a Pepsi and sit down.”


On my way to the fridge I see our toaster sitting on a towel on the counter. There is something decidedly yucky burned on the top of it. I’m hit by a strong odor of melted plastic.

Ken tells me the cleaning company owner left us a voicemail regarding the toaster incident. Anytime someone uses the word incident, you know that means trouble.

He says, “It’s not bad news. It could be worse.”


I pop the top on a diet Pepsi and sit.

Ken tells me the cleaning company will cover any damage, although there doesn’t appear to be any, and they’ll replace the toaster. The women who cleaned left our check, and the message informs us if a replacement toaster costs more, that will be covered.

“Where’s the bag of Splenda?” I ask.

He looks puzzled. “I have no idea.”

“It was on top of the container beside the toaster.”

Understanding lights his face, and I’m sure mine reflects the same look.

I get our really bright flashlight and peer into the blackened interior of the toaster. I see the melted remains of Splenda and also yellow plastic inside and on the top. Splenda comes in yellow plastic bags.

I listen to the voicemail.

As the cleaning team was finishing up, one of them noticed flames coming from the toaster. They managed to unplug it and douse it with water since they didn’t find a container of salt or baking soda handy. Fortunately, there is no other damage.

I really liked that toaster. It was a Breville, all electronic, and it toasted everything to perfection. It had history. Before our son Todd, and his future wife were married, we spent Thanksgiving in Vermont with Tracy’s family. The Coogans generously invited us, and we had a wonderful time. They had a four slice Breville toaster that was awesome.

After our wedding gift toaster gave up the ghost after almost forty years, we’d gone through three or four toasters that only lasted a year or two.

When we got home, we bought a Breville two-slice toaster. It was fabulous.

A while later the two women who had cleaned knock at the door. They hand me a large bag of Splenda and apologize profusely. Both had stressed out about our being angry. Ken and I were about to call the owner of the company and tell her we’ll pay for the cleaning and not to worry about the toaster.

We insist the cleaning crew take the check and assure them that stuff happens.

Then I remember what happened earlier. My vision of the Splenda falling on top of the toaster.


Bad memory on my part that I forgot to move the bag.

The moral of the story:

Toaster toasted

Toasters with controls on the top are not a good idea.

A new one will arrive tomorrow from Amazon.

How did the bag fall onto the toaster? Only the toaster knows for sure.


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