As I was just standing in the livingroom ironing one of eight curtains that is now freshly laundered and is about to be hung on a freshly painted wall, Victoria was inquiring about the workings of the iron. She commented that NaNa had “BIG metal ones and when she was a little girl it was her job to get up each morning and put the irons in the fire.”
Well, never one to pass up an etymological teaching moment, I began to explain the real and figurative meaning of the phrase “too many irons in the fire.” Literally if someone had too many irons in the fire, the irons could overheat before they were ready for use and burn the fabric to which they were applied OR you would have to take them OUT of the fire and wait for them to cool–thereby wasting time and/or money. Figuratively, of course, that phrase means someone is doing too many things at once thereby risking the waste of. . .time and/or money.
And my smart girl said, “So, Mommy, I would say that right now you have too many irons in the fire.” And she is so right.
Life is fraught with irony.