I remembered that I had left a counter-top steam table unit plugged in and running last night. Very bad. As I drove down Dempster I kept picturing what I'd see as I turned the corner from Grove onto Sherman, and the scene kept alternating in my mind between a burned-out shell of a building and...not. I tried to control my urge to go 80 as I hoped for that second option.
I made an effort last night to leave the restaurant at around 5pm, in order to get home by around six and start dinner. I've been working so much that when I get home, the kids are a mess, Wendy's behind and exasperated, and I get home so late that I'm not able to be much help with dinner and getting the kids to bed. So last night I made a conscious decision to try and be there for that, and I left rather quickly, forgetting completely that around 3pm I had filled the unit with de-limer and water and left it to boil.
There were some things working in my favor, I calculated as I drove...the unit's max temperature was 180°, it was filled with water nearly to the brim, and there wasn't anything flammable around it, that I could remember. If I was lucky, it might've just burned itself out after it ran out of water. Or maybe it would still have some water in it. After 15 hours? Not likely.
Well, no fault of my own, I got lucky and there was no damage. The building was intact when I turned the corner. No flashing firetruck lights, no plumes of smoke. I parked the truck and unlocked the outer door, then the inner door to the kitchen. Door wasn't hot. No smell of burning or smoke.
The unit had burned all its water away, the bottom was well-toasted, brown, and kind of stunk, but the thing was still operating. The air above it was quite hot.
I got lucky. I did something really, really stupid and, thanks to dumb luck, it did not result in me burning down my restaurant and ruining all my plans.
Thank you God, or karma, or Great Spaghetti Monster. Or maybe just my lucky star. I owe you one.
I'm putting a sign on the back door to remind myself to turn everything off. Right. Now.