The (now) Infamous Cheese Incident

I work in a historic area of Kansas City known as the West Bottoms. More specifically I work in a converted office building that is over 100 years old — The Livestock Exchange Building. It’s chock full of character and characters. On the first floor there is a once-famous steak house called the Golden Ox; still well-known for its steaks, but also it’s fabulous bartenders and heavy pours, the Ox is frequented by the building tenants as a happy hour hangout. In our lobby the Ox has a little lunch counter called The Hub. The quality and service has had some highs and lows over the past several years, but it is currently experiencing a wave of popularity with consistently palatable offerings so it’s a place I frequent on my lunch hours. The current managers post the daily special, including a picture, on the Hub’s Facebook page so I tend to make checking the special a part of my morning routine as I plan out my day. Imagine my sheer joy when, on day two without my graphic designer (henceforth known as Post-Thowepacalypse), my fog of depression was permeated by one of my all-time FAVORITE daily specials – NACHOS!!!

Suffice it to say I high-tailed it downstairs for an early lunch to ensure I could enjoy the deliciousness. AND I was even super good and saved half my nachos (well, ish – which turns out is important later) to take home for dinner. Thowe would have been so proud of me – usually I gorge myself on my Hub nachos to the point of binge eating, and then moan in misery the rest of the afternoon. It was looking like in the battle of Jean v. Nachos I was about to get a win in my corner!

Fast forward to that evening and it’s time to heat up my nacho leftovers. YUM!! I opened a cold beer, turned on a Netflix episode of The League and chomped down on my re-heated nacho delight. Unfortunately, and very much NOT to my delight, it seems as though what looked like “half” a serving of nachos at lunch isn’t quite enough nachos at dinner. Sooo, having the taste sensation of nacho goodness still lingering on my tongue I needed more. Not just more for dinner, but more nacho goodness.

I was thrilled when I realized I had some leftover Rotel & Velveeta (a Midwestern, and football, staple) as well as tortilla chips to go with it. Oh happy day!! I popped that cheese dip in the microwave, hit the one minute button 2x, and eagerly awaited its gooey, cheesy goodness. One minute in and I dutifully stirred the hot melty sides into the lukewarm glob in the middle and returned the bowl to the microwave, clicking just one more minute to be sure. (For all you math whizzes out there let’s keep track – we started with two minutes, stopped at one minute and added another minute to that original minute. Assuming there are no more interruptions, how long will our cheese dip have cooked when the bell dings? Answer – TOO DAMN LONG! But alas, I am getting ahead of myself. Where was I? Oh yes, adding a minute and happily gnawing the cheese off the stir spoon…)

DING! Nom nom nom – my cheese dip is ready! I so excited, I’s gonna get my cheese on, mmm mmm mmm HOLYLORDFORTHELOVEOFGOD (Cue raucous laughter mixed with shrieks of some strange sensation, beginning to feel like pain. Yep. Definitely pain.) Oh Dear God. Holy mother of all that’s holy. OUCHIE!!!! IT BURNS!!!

You guessed it. I grabbed the cheese bowl, sans hot pads, proceeded to drop said cheese bowl onto the stove top, the force of which shot the cheese up out of the bowl and all over me. Think Vesuvius with burning cheese as its molten lava and my FACE as the poor victim… Laughing at my bad luck I rush to the sink, turn on the cold water and start splashing it on my face. Then realizing that it REALLY burns, as in “leave-a-mark-go-to-the-hospital-not-this-again” type of burning – I begin clawing at my face, I grab the towel from the rack to get more surface area with each swipe—from the corner of my eye I notice chunks, CHUNKS, of Rotel and fast-cooling cheese in my hair, stuck to my neck – oh god, that’s the pain, it’s all over my neck and chest too – As the reality of the situation is dawning on me I’m suddenly realizing how badly burned I am, and that stopping to get a picture of myself covered in cheese was definitely not my smartest idea (all the same – enjoy and you’re welcome). I rip my shirt off, a once-cream colored (now fake cheese orange) sweater, and rip at my skin trying to peel the now stuck clumps of cheese dip from my flesh. In doing this I’m catching glimpses of my kitchen covered in cheese dip (seriously, how much leftover cheese did I have? And more importantly – is any of it salvageable?), Callie has now come to investigate (if investigating involves eating cheese off the floor) and I realize I’m stepping in cheese smearing it all over. I kick off my slippers and run upstairs to the shower, shedding clothes as I go.

By the time I’m in a cool shower (OUCH and BRR are two thoughts occurring) I am laughing hysterically – like actual hysterics – all while sobbing as I feel my skin blistering up and find myself fearing what my face will now look like and wondering if this burn scar will be in a cool pattern like my steam one and fearing that the doctor may want to do some study on me thinking I’m like a cutter who graduated to burning… But I don’t have time to explore this mix of feeling because as I sob/laugh – a mournful sound I hope never to replicate – Callie Kitty starts FREAKING OUT. We’re talking slamming her little body into the glass shower door, trying to break into the shower while she HOWLS. I open the door, she comes running in to check on me (precious little baby) only to start freaking out in a new way once she realizes she is soaking wet. Suddenly I’m trying to soothe Callie and deal with her versus clean the cheese out of my wounds. Ugh.

Finally I get out of the shower only to find Callie dripping on the sink counter while chewing cheese dip off my bra – classy. At this point I take pictures of the effected skin for my wound nurse friend Erica – the whole area is red and it’s tough to really know what is forming as the burn is still working its way up to the surface of my skin. As I place my hand near my neck the heat radiates off of it – I’m so hott, two t’s. (Yeah, I went there).

Fortunately I still had all the goods from my steam burn about 8 months prior, and I knew the drill – clean wound, cover in silver cream (prescription awesomeness), bandage wound, take fever-reducing pain pills, wait for flu-like symptoms as body fights off possible infection. Oh, and text boss to let her know I’m a jackass who has maimed myself with cheese and will most likely not be at work the next day since I know I have to let my body rest.

Now throw into this scenario the trail of dry cheese I knew I had throughout my house paired with a cat who is way too willing to assist… I knew my adrenaline rush was limited before the flu feeling took over, so… before resting I also cleaned my kitchen, stairs and bathroom and threw my clothes in the washer… after hand scrubbing the mushed in tomato out of them… so gross. (SIDEBAR: In case you’re wondering, yes – I was able to salvage some of the cheese dip. What? I still love cheese. Don’t judge.)

And that, my friends, is how I learned that two minutes isn’t long enough for cheese dip and three is WAY too many. Oh and to add insult to injury, once I was curled up in bed and shaking from the fever chills… I remembered I was still hungry. Damn you nacho special at The Hub. You’re like Vegas… sometimes it feels like I’m winning, but in the end you’re triumphant every time.

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XOXO – Awkward Burn Jean

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