Friday, July 30, 2010

'Helping' Around The House, Part Two

Since I told on J last time, it's only fair I turn the tables this time. I know it might be hard to believe, but I'm not perfect. Yikes! And it just so happens that my relationship with J runs something like this: I break it, he fixes it. Yin and Yang, right here. Case in point, the garbage disposal.

Back before they all went belly up and headed for the Great Tank in the Sky, WyoBaby owned a few fish. You may recall they were fish of the filthy variety, which meant their tank needed to be cleaned every 4 to 6 hours. (That didn't happen.) Truly, the task was too great for WyoBaby to undertake by herself; enter WyoMomma. Together, we would net and transfer all the fish, take the decorations, plants, filter and bubble bar out of the murky depths, and I would siphon all the yucky water out of the tank. Once that was done, we'd rinse all the decorations, which sometimes had errant pieces of gravel stuck to them. And sometimes, when I rinsed them in the sink, those little stinkers would run down the drain, landing in the garbage disposal. And sometimes, I would 'forget' to retrieve the little boulders.

Here's my thought process when there's something jammed in the disposal, "I am NOT sticking my right hand down there, because if there's some freak accident, I refuse to sacrifice my writing/typing hand!" So the left hand takes one for the team. Usually, I can retrieve the lodged object without loss of limb. But sometimes, when the object is fish tank gravel, it's too tricky to retrieve, so I just send lots of water down the drain, hoping it'll dislodge the gravel. That doesn't always work.

A word about J and the disposal. When he finished installing it, he handed me a sizable Allen wrench and said, "Here. Put this somewhere near the sink. You'll need it to access the bottom of the disposal, if something should happen to get jammed in there. Once you remove the cover, you can manually turn the blades with this little beauty, and fix the problem." And this is what I heard and registered in my brain, "Here. Put this somewhere near the sink. Blah blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda, blah blah." You wanna know why? Because I have someone to fix these sorts of problems. His name is J. I feed and clothe him so I don't have to remember the 'blah blah blah' stuff.

So, the last time I cleaned the tank, some gravel ended up in the disposal. I knew that, but basically chose to ignore it. Told ya I'm not perfect. At the time, it didn't seem like a big deal. Days later, it was. I sent some egg shells, lemon pieces, and last night's plate scrapings down the drain, and flipped the switch. The disposal made some weird motor sound, like it was trying to work, but just couldn't get there. Here's how I fixed it: I flipped the switch up and down in rapid succession, like a mad woman. My theory was one of two things would happen, either the disposal would magically start working again, or it would burst into flames. And, if it burst into flames, the fact that it wasn't 'disposing' would be the least of my concerns. Either way, problem solved! My genius surprises even me, sometimes. What I did not expect is that it would simply stop doing anything. No noise, no grinding, no flames (imagine my disappointment). At this point, I became rather concerned. But, I figured I'd just thrown the breaker, so I went to investigate. Are you impressed that I knew where the circuit box is? You should be. I am familiar with circuit breakers, thanks to the World's Largest Microwave, but that's a story for another day. Anyway, I shortly realized that it wasn't the circuit breaker, and I was entering foreign territory. So I walked away from that disposal. Outta sight, outta mind.

When J got home that night, I announced, "The disposal isn't working."

"What do you mean 'the disposal isn't working'?"

Funny, I understood what I said...

"I mean, I flipped the switch, and nothing happened." Not a total untruth; no flames came shooting out the bottom, right?

"So, when you flipped the switch, did it do anything? Like make a sound?"

"Nope." You and I know better, but why trouble him with those details???

"Hunh. Guess I'll take a look. Maybe it just gave up the ghost."

"It's practically brand new!! Did you buy a cheap one?!"

"Well, it's not commercial grade, if that's what you're asking."

"So you bought a cheap one. Great. Now we're going to have to buy a new one. A less-than-cheap one."

"We'll see. Let me take a look at it first."

"Fine." At which point, we headed to the kitchen. He flipped the switch, and whaddya know? Nothing happened. Just like I said. So, he rounded up his tools, emptied the cabinet of all my cleaning supplies, and set to work dismantling the little stinker. He rooted around for awhile then asked, "Where's that Allen wrench?" Suddenly, it all came back to me. ('Oh yeah, the Allen wrench! Guess I coulda tried that before I told him about the problem. Oh well.') "Ummm, it's right here. Right where you told me to keep it."

He started turning the blades and asked, "Is there some sort of dirt or gravel in there?"

"Oh, that. Yeah, there might be. I might've accidentally rinsed some fish tank gravel down there..."

"Well, that's probably what did it!"

"Okay, it's my fault, I'll admit it! It is fish tank gravel!! And if you fix my disposal, it'll never happen again!!!" And just like that, my disposal was fixed. Which is a very good thing, because I don't function well without a disposal. I send everything through that baby (obviously), because it's just so EASY. The other very good thing was the death of the swimmers shortly thereafter, which guaranteed I'd never 'accidentally' send fish tank gravel down the disposal again.

Next time: 'Helping with Laundry'

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wednesday Night's Alright With Me

So, two, count 'em two, posts in one day!! Holy Smokes, People!! Why? Because. Because J, in a stroke of Husband Genius, invited yours truly on a date. J does this on the twelfth of every Never. So, when J does this sort of thing, it merits a double post. Do not get used to it. I cannot guarantee that the next twelfth of Never will ever roll around again. But, The Man did good. Especially since we recently had A Talk. Most times, when we talk, I talk, and his eyes glaze over. He nods occasionally, but I'm fairly certain none of it sinks in - it just rolls right off him. But that is neither here nor there, the point is, The Man took me on a date. Feel free to celebrate with me, won't you?

He told me I could pick, so I did. I chose the local Elite Clubhouse Restaurant, mostly because it's always fairly quiet, the scenery is spectacular, and you don't have to wait an hour for a table, even when you have a reservation. This last part came in handy when J called me at 5:10 tonight and said, "Um, I'm going to leave this Small Town in ten minutes, which'll put me home right at reservation time, can you call and push it back 15 minutes??" No prob, Bob. Other places, the Maitre d' might look down his nose at you, and say, "I'm sorry (not really), but you were 15 seconds late for your reservation, so we gave away your table." The Man got lucky; we were shown to a table as soon as we arrived. I promptly ordered wine, because this Momma likes her wine. And The Man? Well, he ordered a gin and tonic. Because he's crazy like that. Momma is not a fan of the gin, but The Man is, on occasion. After poring over the menu for ages, we both settled on the special, a ribeye steak au poivre. To summarize, it's a pepper encrusted steak, served with a wonderful cream sauce. It should've been a home run. Here's my verdict: It was okay. People, I don't mean to brag, but I'm gonna. Here's the issue I have with paying other people to cook for me-I can most likely do it better. Yes, that sounds terribly arrogant and high-brow, but there it is. I have made steak au poivre, to the delight of young and old. The problem with this one? Whole peppercorns. True, the crust is not made with the little black powder, loosely termed as ground pepper, but this? This was too much. I couldn't taste the steak. All I could taste was pepper. And I was bummed. Even J was disappointed, and that says a little something. J is not the food critic I am. But I yam what I yam. The dinner finished on a good note, because the vanilla creme brulee was fab. Oh, the creme brulee and the cheesecake and I are tight. I passed on the cheesecake, because it was white chocolate, and the white chocolate and I are not so tight. But, the creme brulee was especially nice; it was a soft creamy custard, with a fabulous brulee! And the berries were a nice touch.

So, all in all, I give the meal three stars. But the company? Oh the company gets one thousand stars, because The Man took me on a date, said, "Order whatever you want", and listened to me jabber on the entire meal. Because I am the talker in this partnership, by far. J is not a talker. But after tonight, that's okay, because I know how wonderful he can be, even when he doesn't say a thing.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Taking License

We'll get back to Helping Around the House next time, but for now, I feel the need to tell you a humorous anecdote.

Summer is in full swing around our house, which includes Science Kids Camps for WyoBaby. Her most recent was a fly fishing camp, and she is hooked (Yes, slight pun intended. You're welcome.)! I actually went with the kiddos last Thursday, but had no grand scheme of wetting my own line. I knew, going in, that I would be otherwise engaged. My group was four of my favorite small people, and they kept me on my toes.

"Dang! Just lost another fly!!"

"Oh man, I'm caught in that tree again!!!"

"Grrrr. I can't find the fish anywhere!!"

"Hey! They're in the water, splashing around and scaring all the fish!!! Will you make them stop????"

"He just took my fishing spot!! I was there, but I had to leave to get a new fly, and now he won't MOVE!! Will you tell him to MOVE????"

And once or twice:


Oh yes, I got my workout that day. After lunch, we let the kids get in the water and splash and swim, because it was surface-of-the-sun hot out there. The director, who's a bit vigilant about germs, asked, "Do you think this was a bad idea? I mean, who knows what's in this water???" To which I replied, "They're fine! Heck, my brothers and I all but grew gills in the summer when we were kids; we spent so much time in the irrigation ditch. Look at me! I turned out just fine!"
On second thought..."Kids!! LISTEN UP!! Do NOT drink the water!! Keep your heads out of the water!! No diving! And when you get home, tell your parents you need to bathe a.s.a.p!! Mmmkay? Now, you may resume your splashing!"

All in all, it was a fabulous outing, and when we got home, WyoBaby began making her play for another fishing trip. Okay with me, maybe I'd actually fish this time! So, we made arrangements to procure a fly rod for me, and a spinning rod for J (He and I do NOT share an affinity for fly fishing. It's another deal breaker, but we've agreed to disagree, and to never discuss it at any length.), both borrowed from my brother J, who was going out of town, and could spare the fly rod. Next step was a fishing license for WyoMomma. I was in the clear when I was just helping the kids, but if I were to put rod to reel and tie one on, and avoid a monster fine, I would need said license. I'm big on obeying laws when the breaking of them carries hefty fines. Kinda silly, eh?

WyoBaby and one of her friends piled into the car, and away we went. Straight to the nearest gas station/convenience store/bait & tackle shop. It's a fine establishment, if you want some night crawlers, a coupla gallons of mid-grade, and 120 ounces of your favorite soda. A one-stop shop, if you will. So obviously, the standards for staff decorum are a bit lax. Enter the Fishing License Gal. I strolled up to the counter, and announced, "I'd like one fishing license, please." The woman at the register grunted and pointed to another gal at the end of the counter. "Oh, so I need to see her about a license? Okay, thank you for your help." (And your eloquence.) Away I sauntered, leaving WyoBaby and Friend to explore the wonders of live and jarred bait.

Allow me to set the scene. As I approached, this is what I observed. There sat a youngish gal, perched on a bar stool, staring into a computer screen, with a mouthful of Spitz sunflower seeds, and plastic water bottle she'd converted to a spittoon. Nice.

"Excuse me, I'd like a fishing license, please."

Mumble, spit. "Driver's License?" Spit.

"Oh, sure. Here ya go."

Silence. Spit. Type. Silence. Spit. Type. Mumble, "How" mumble, spit, "years" mumble mumble, spit, "resident?" spit.


"How" spit spit "many years" spit spit "have you been" mumble, spit "resident?"

Oh crap. Does that ever happen to you? It's something you should know, right off the top of your head! I mean, how many years have I lived in Wyoming? All of them!! But my little brain, distracted by the spitting glory in front of me, felt like a deer in the headlights! "Ummm. Oh yeah, now I remember. Thirty-two. Yep. Thirty-two years."


So there I stood, in stunned silence, while this gal typed & clicked. I was not altogether comfortable with the fact that she had my driver's license, and I couldn't see what exactly she was doing on that computer. For all I knew, she could've been enrolling me in a jelly-of-the-month club, or adding my name to one hundred junk mail lists. I longed for the old days, when you filled out the form with all of your vital info, rather than putting it in the hands of a stranger.

"Is this" spit spit spit mumble "right address?" spit spit spit spit (Hark! Fair Juliet speaks!).

"Huh? What did you ask?"

Spit "Is this your correct" spit spit spit "address??" spit spit.

"Oh. Yes. Yes it is." As far as I knew. I basically had no idea which parallel universe I'd entered, but I knew I wanted out. And how. Meanwhile, WyoBaby and her friend were an aisle away, examining the jars of bait fish, "Ewwww, that's GROSS!! Mom! Check this out!!!" "Mom!!! What the heck is this???" Serenity now.

The gal finished, and announced, spit spit spit mumble "Thirty-six fifty," spit.

"What?? I'm sorry, what the heck did you say???"

Spit "That'll be $36.50!"

"Oh, okay. Here. Take it. Take it all! But wait! What about my conservation stamp??"

Spit spit spit "included, sign here" spit spit spit spit.

"Well, thanks. Could I have a little plastic sleeve to protect my license, since I'll be, you know, fishing, and there's a chance I might get near some water?"

Mumble spit spit mumble "all out."

"Fine, that's fine. Thank you for all your help. WYOBABY!!! LET'S GO!! NOW!! PUT DOWN THE JAR OF MINNOWS AND GET IN THE CAR!!!"

I burned rubber out of there as quickly as I could, and headed home. Where we waited. And waited. Because it was four in the afternoon, which is hot time, and I was not all about fishing in hot time. Finally, at seven, we headed out to catch the big one. We ran into one of our favorite little friends, whose Mam and Pa had agreed to some fishing as well, and the kids were thrilled. We fished happily, until the mosquitoes were the only things biting, then ran for the safety of Big Red. All in all, it was an interesting day. And now, I'm good to fish for an entire year, before I get to visit my little license friend again.