Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dirty Laundry

Here’s a nugget of knowledge for you, free of charge...
If you stop doing the laundry, your kids will wear funny clothes.

It starts out innocent enough; out of town trip, projects, meetings, or 4” of fresh powder at the local ski hill on the night before “laundry day”.

Eventually, though, one has to acknowledge that laundry stopped becoming a priority. Things like sucking the helium out of your kid’s Red Robin balloon and singing Wham! songs get higher ranking than folding clothes.

Then, one day you find the whites are piled up quite a bit higher than the snow outside. Your children are making laundry angels in the floor. There’s Frosty the Laundryman, and ooo, look, there’s a laundry fort with nifty pantyhose curtains and a proud bra-flag waving in the air.

My daughter came upstairs for breakfast this morning wearing a too-small dress shirt, sweat pants, and two different socks. I managed to stop myself before criticizing her. After all, it’s my fault she’s dressed like a homeless person.

My son came upstairs five minutes later wearing someone else’s clothing. I complimented him on his problem solving skills and asked if I should expect any phone calls from angry parents.

Two days ago, I almost did the laundry after seeing something move. I was fairly certain that the "spontaneous life" theory was shot down a couple hundred years ago, but they didn’t have polyester back then – polyester is a game changer.

Turns out it was just the dog, which had gone missing earlier. She didn’t seem to have suffered any serious trauma from being lost in the linens, but I think she's afraid of boxers now.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Grape Lady

I did my grocery shopping today. I’m still processing my experience in the produce section.

I spotted GRAPES on the list, so I moseyed over to the grape isle and sidled up next to a senior citizen by the Dole seedless (green and red… score!).

This grandmotherly looking lady was taking clumps of apparently unworthy grapes out of one bag and cherry picking clumps from others to put in her “special” bag. Every dern holey plastic grape bag was open and this lady was working like she had a tape worm at an all-you-can-eat-buffet.

I stopped my shopping experience and stared at her for a moment just to take in the whole picture. She noticed me standing there and suddenly stopped poaching, then picked right back up at a slower rate, with occasional furtive glances my way.

Apparently, she thought I wouldn’t notice if she were trading grapes slowly, but she didn’t know who she was dealing with. Sure, it threw me off, but only for a second.

She eventually left to do more fruit trading, and I gathered up a tainted bag and continued on my quest for turgid bok choy... That’s how I roll.

It is only now that I sit in my house after rinsing the grapes with bleach and 7th Generation bathroom cleaner that I wonder which bundle of grapes she put in my bag and what she didn’t like about them.

Am I eating grapes that are too small? Too far apart? Not “grapey” enough?

I’m confused and feel like I’m missing something important in life.

If I ever see her again, I will follow her and learn her fruit quality detection techniques. She will be my Yoda. Oh, yes... she will.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Septic Tanks and Vacuum Cleaners

When I lived in West Virginia, I had the septic tank vacuumed out by John Goodman.

It was just after Arachnophobia came out, and I wondered why he needed the work.

As he stood next to his humungous Vac Truk, sucking the worst of my labors out of the ground, he told me the story of the only time his Vac Truk ever let him down.

“Vienna Sausage can (he pronounced it vy-enne),” he said, as his hose glugged away. “I sucked up a gall dern Vienna Sausage can. Hell if I can figure how it got in a septic tank. I didn’t figger a feller could flush down something like that, but I sucked it up in the Vac Truk, and knew, sure as shootin’, something was bad wrong.”

He patted the Vac Truk lovingly with a hand which appeared more tanned than the rest of his body, while he continued his war story. “I had to take the suction hose and pump apart right there in the gravel driveway. There was a good bit of solids stuck up in the hose… and of course, that had to come out first… then I found it… a Vienna Sausage can! A gall dern Vienna Sausage can. Still had the label on it.”

So, this morning, as I vacuumed my floor, the pitch changed on the Kenmore, and I knew something bad wrong happened to the vacuum cleaner.

I thought back to Mr. Goodman in my West Virginia backyard, chewing the fat around the septic tank, and I decided to take the vacuum apart right there on the linoleum.

There was a lot of dog hair stuck up in the hose, so of course, that had to come out first. Then… a checker! A gall dern checker.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Berries Are Food, Too

I hope you folks haven’t forgotten about me!

I’m still alive, I’m still a dad, and I’m still a student of life. In fact I probably haven’t posted for a long time simply because I’m too busy learning new things.

For example, I may have come up with a new side dish!

Let me begin at the beginning.

I plowed into my elderberry bush next to the driveway. It’s okay, because I plowed into it with my plow. It’s a snowplow, not a bushplow, but that didn’t seem to matter to the plow or the bush, because the plow is fine, but the bush isn’t. The bush now looks more like the second Little Pig’s house... post-wolf.

I didn’t plow into the bush on purpose. I was just trying to push the snow off the driveway at high speed. High speed plowing throws the snow really well, but you tend to hit things or just run off the road, due to lack of visibility. It’s hard to see out because of the condensation, flying snow, and the fact that I haven't cleaned the windshield since... okay, I don't think I've ever cleaned it (you can see pretty well if you stick your head out of the window and blink a lot, but that is just unpleasant).

So, I hit this Elderberry bush pretty hard and broke it.
A lot.
A bunch of the berry clusters landed on the hood, which was hot from plowing. Then the berries started cooking on the hood. Then I parked, and the burnt berries froze to the hood. Then I plowed a few more times, and the berries were still there.

I knew it was stupid, but I couldn’t help looking at those burnt-frozen berries stuck to the hood and wonder what they tasted like. So, I picked some berries that were less likely to have Ford paint cooked to them, and tried them out.

You know how when someone tells you that a movie is really bad, and when you see it, you’re pleasantly surprised because of your low expectations?
Well this was nothing like that. I expected them to be really bad and they were really bad.

But then I got some frozen ones off the ground near the crash site that never took a ride on the hood, and they weren't horrible.

I don’t think they’re going to take the place of strawberries or blueberries, but they could do in a pinch… like if there was a world war and all the grocery stores in the world were obliterated by evil-doers.

Lesson of the day: frozen-burnt elderberries are bad, just frozen elderberries are not as bad.

There's a nugget you can use in everyday life. You're welcome.