Friday, May 15, 2015

OUR WEBER GRILLE PURCHASE... because LaFranc's 'No No NO' didn't work

We were recently shopping at Walmart getting annuals and tulips and black filthy dirt...  when grills popped up and my husband’s eyes went wild with desire.

Me: "Honey -- I know you THINK we need a new grill--"

Jonathan: "We DEFINITELY need a new gr--"

Me: "What about THIS one?"

Jonathan: "It'll melt down in a year."

Me: "THIS one?"

Jonathan: "Piece a shit."

Me: "Oh, LOOK! A WEBER like your father’s! I know he's been gone a while but his Weber lasted ... well -- HIS lifetime at least!"

Jon: -- strokes beard -- "Hmmm."

Me:  "You like that don't you."

Jon: "Mayyybe."

Me: "Let's just get it.  It's only $800 and all the rest are half that."

Jon: "What about the one with the SIDE burners and rack and pinion steering with push button STARTER and an undercarriage WARMER and . . . indecipherable grill gibberish from hell. . ."

Me: "Um... the diff between the Spectrum and the GENESIS and the TRON-MAXIMUS SPECIAL?  Probably the difference of, like, thousands of dollars."

J: "But they last."  Looks wistfully off to the rafters where actual birds are perching...

Me:  "Can't do it.  Can't get a grill worth thousands of dollars No. NO, NO.”

Me to clerk:  "Please construct the Ex-Caliber Maximus Death-Star Weber Elektra Special."

Sales Clerk:  "That will be half the price of your first mortgage."

Me:  "I have a credit card."

I feel like Mark Antony from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.  We have to ask friends, neighbors, countrymen, to lend us their truck... 

Cuz Walmart has now CONSTRUCTED the Ex Caliber Vlad The Impaler Weber Vaporizer Grille.

It is ready.

That is the pressie Grammy GiGi (*my future grammy handle!) is giving to Jonathan -- sans cute grandfather name -- for his birthday cuz he evidently NEEDS a Pompey Volcano on his deck.  And let me note this:

It is a good thing I just BOUGHT for him the Weber Lava Deluxe because only THREE NIGHTS ago he left our clearly faulty irregular-lava-throwing grill ON after we grilled steaks... which Jonathan remembered mid mouthful when --GASP

-- Out to the deck he ran ...

-- then... there was a flash downstairs.

I wasn't sure if it was Jonathan or the Shadow People from Ghost Hunters that come through my TV and live here now.

I'd have preferred Shadow People 

Cuz back UP ran Jonathan with our 1988 fire-engine-red flame extinguisher, mumbling the words, "GRRR--lammickFLAME-furbabblefuck.”

He returned with massive blisters held in check by bags of frozen peas.

The handles for temperature control melted right off our ex-grille. 

It is a good thing we had the Weber Millenium Falcon constructed days after the nuclear holocaust of our ex grille...   so we could enjoy newly-endless days of Grill Free Life until we find a Truck Family that loves us.


Family? Neighbors? Ski-Pals?  Work-Mates? Pat?? Therese?  Christopher?  Rent-A-Truck????  

. . . we can no longer FEED ourselves ...  because we cannot transport our Grill-Furbabble Maximus-Love-Falcon-Ex-Caliber-from-Walmart to our home because the grill is larger than our house.  


Friday, April 24, 2015

All Creatures Great And Small...

You’d have thought I had learned to keep my phone at-the-ready for our next April Vacation Adventure, but no. My next undocumented jaunt involved Bardeau The Cat and it began early Tuesday at Happy Pelts Day Spa. Our friends Lauren and Paul have a similarly-styled cat as our Bardeau, and they have him regularly fashioned at Happy Pelts. Their Facebook avatar depicts one happy feline, frolicking about in his own sculpted fur, looking chic to the point of snooty. I wanted our cat to feel similarly superior, so I booked him a grooming appointment at Happy Pelts.

Except I did not know it was a Multi-Species grooming facility.  They service all creatures great and small, which should be their name. You can bring in tropical fish to have them de-scaled. Or add fur to lizards for winter. 

I erroneously assumed it was a cat-exclusive spa when their receptionist said to me on the phone, "Drop off is between 9 and 10 am, so we have the whole morning to massage, pet, and talk to the cats.  We play them music in rooms infused with essential oils.  All of this LONG before the more traumatic parts where we brush, bathe and barette them."

We wouldn't have exposed Bardeau to Tuesday’s antithesis of massage and soothing chats, if we had known he was to be honked and moo'd at as we transported him through the waiting room.

In fact, if Bardeau were not afflicted with severe dredlocks, I might have marched him out of Noah’s Ark. But since January, he had begun to ‘mat.’  He was clumped in several hard to reach spots like the backs of his arm-elbows and his entire undercarriage. 

By March the mats became impenetrable, like body armor, with new clumps forming along his spine. By April he looked like a dimetradon.

Bardeau’s most recent car ride was four weeks ago when he had his check-up and vaccinations and there was nary a sound from his cat carrier.

But on Tuesday, driving the back roads through dairy farm country, up and down, around winding bends . . . well.  The mewling in the cage got muted briefly due to Bardeau’s Lack Of Dramamine.  

When we went past a fragrant dairy farm, my husband reminisced about how he used to instruct our kids to 'Breathe DEEP!  Can you smell the Apple PIE?’  And everyone in the car would huff the farm air, nostrils hung from the windows -- then gag and wretch and he would erupt in peals of laughter.

He laughed so hard remembering this Tuesday, tears formed at his eyes.

Only when we arrived at the Exotic Animal Day Spa did we realize his eyes were leaking from Bardeau.

NO IDEA he was capable of emitting fresh Farm Smell. It was a relief to get to the Spa because IT emitted hundreds of different pet perfuming smells, even before we got inside.

Once inside, a host of comfortably-caged creatures -- some I believe to have been created with science -- were gawking at us, and then they started up with the noise-making.  Howling, hissing.  A squealing pot bellied pig. Bardeau shat himself in response, which only made him more nauseous.

He was an effluviating machine erupting like a volcano from all directions. I kept apologizing.  "I am SO sorry he is so... fragrant.  But YOU guys smell GREAT!"

"Thank you!" beamed the pleasant booking person as she seamlessly collected up the entirety of Bardeau and His Cage of Emissions.

She passed the whole thing off to a well-heeled grooming cat stylist, who resembled a hobbit, only older and more hairy. 

His name was Sven.  And he glowered at me while wafting a ham hock hand in Bardeau’s direction.  “This cat, she is RIPE.”

I've been glowered at by worse than Sven so I said cheerily, "He… is car sick. And I'm sure he's not done, now that he's next to a growling Rottweiler and that… alligator over there."

Sven ignored me and addressed Bardeau. "LET'S see what we've got!"

Sven reached his hand inside the transporter and scruffed our 14-pound cat, and Bardeau shot me Manga Eyes that said, “What fresh hell is this?” 

Sven palpated all seventeen of Bardeau’s dredlocks proclaiming his undercarriage 'ENTIRELY matted' and that Bardeau would require “The Simba.”

"Sounds good to me!  Peace out!"  and I grabbed up The Befouling Cage, hoping to leave before more glowering could happen. But the cage was intercepted by The Friendly Booking Specialist who said, "We'll be taking that from you now."

“But I was going to take it all home and wash it for Bardeau’s trip home!”

“Oh, we take care of blankets and cages.”  And this is where Happy Pelts won me over for life.  She smiled and said, "We take care of EVERYTHING!" 

Even pungent, chainmailed Bardeau smiled at the Friendly Booking Specialist.  

Sven got to work on Bardeau -- and we were OFF like a simile.  

          Regard below to see what Bardeau looks like!         (No wonder they call it The Simba!)

Meeting Baby Zofia! --- aka: My House is SO Not Baby-Safe

On my first day of April vacation, I got to visit with one of my favorite friends and her gorgeous new daughter, Zofia.  While Zofia is not all that new (she is ten months old) she still feels new to me.  Much like a previously-owned car. Only cuter and more interactive.

I don't know why I didn't snap a thousand photographs of Baby Zofia yesterday, performing feats of strength usually reserved for Olympiads or super heros that fly.  Like wielding my six-foot nine husband’s seven-pound shoe, with her pinky.  Pictures say a thousand words, like, “Ya know what they say about tall men and big feet!?”

Yes. Small children get lost in their foot ware.

Anyway, Baby Zofia was oodles of afternoon fun!  And now that I am about to become a Grand Mama times TWO, it was blissful to learn just how unprepared my home is… for babies.

Our house is the least baby-proofed zone in the Cosmos. Babies would be safer on Saturn.  Or the Sun.

Zofia emerged intact but I can't say the same for a cluster of vine tomatoes I didn’t want anyway, three wooden Easter eggs still rolling themselves down the stairs en route to the Mutility Room (which thankfully Zofia never discovered), the cat’s mood, or two-thirds of a peeled apple she could almost fit in her mouth due to what I believe is a genetically-superior adaptation where she can unhinge her jaw like a snake.

It’s not that any of these items necessarily posed a threat to Zofia.  It was the lightning speed at which she could acquire them.  One second, she was harmlessly tapping a glass slider, appearing to enjoy the wind moving trees outside. And the next, she was a room away chewing the fifth page of a photo album while lifting a four pound lid off a cast iron pot.

“How did I MISS those?” I asked myself, mentally reviewing a half dozen baby-level hazards I had pre-removed: the cat box, workout weights that might crush a toe or break a tooth. Anything that might pinch, choke, cut, blister, drown, emblazon or impale.  Our home was the equivalent of Guantanamo Bay, and I had only removed the first layer.

I also learned that a ten month-old baby is like a hamster. You know how they make their bodies flat to squeeze inside small spaces? I swear I lost Zofia inside walls three times. 

I COULD have lost her inside a storage compartment in our new Riding Coffee Table, but it’s so large and intricate, and Riding, that its hinged trap door is its least interesting feature. This coffee table lives on four casters and roves throughout the living room of its own accord.  A stiff breeze and the table is mobile. I am kicking myself that I didn’t whip out my phone to capture video of Baby Super-Z moving a 97 pound cherry table the size of Buick from one side of the room to the other. 

Eventually the Nap Monster visited, and my friend had to collect Baby Zofia and a few baby sundries and whisk her away so I could stop drooling and nodding off in front of them. 

It was a joyful, awe-inspiring visit, a testament to our species, and commentary on how quickly one can fall in love.  I missed Zofia the instant I lost sight of their car motoring down the street. And I became instantly greedy to speed gestation so I could meet my two grandbabies, due in late summer.  A summer I vow to remember that my phone can take photos and videos.  They aren’t just for writing blogs anymore.

Diamond In The Roughage

On my recent commute to the school where I teach, I hit the directional to make a left-hand turn and noticed in my periphery that my engagement ring looked odd.

It was because the diamond was missing.

You know, I gasp even now, just writing this. But when it actually happened, I was barely flummoxed. In fact, I instantly started troubleshooting: 

 ... Let’s see. I DID slide my left arm into a nylon fishnet arm-sleeve and my ring claws caught the netting. Ergo, the stone will be on the floor... it's wood.  I'll use a flashlight.
And with a plan to recover my diamond firmly fixed, I pulled into the parking lot and marched into school.

But once I shared my plight with co-workers, their eyes went wild with terror. Some welled with tears.  One colleague commended me on my stalwart demeanor and I realized, 'I know! Right?

Fortunately the bell rang for period one so I didn’t have time to panic.

Later that morning, our department had a lunch-time  meeting -- sans food -- but slated to last only ten minutes. It took about an hour, like LensCrafters, and the bell eventually rang for us to teach afternoon classes. I was famished.

When I got to my classroom, a handful of students were loitering at the door and I blew past them to get to my salad. As more students filed in, I shoveled a plastic forkful of salad and chicken into my mouth. Yum.

Another forkful and –

WOW that felt like a plastic particle from my fork or shrapnel from a recent kitchen cleaning. Not swallowing THAT.  

I spat arugula and chicken into the trash.

And because I teach high school, no one noticed I’d spat chewed food into the trash in front of them --  because … I teach high school. These were seniors -- busy chatting and organizing their lives, trying to text without me seeing, mentally erasing me from the room.

I took one last bite not bothering to use a fork, then jumped into our work together. When that class ended, I jumped back into my salad.

As I stabbed at another chicken and greenery bite, I was struck by the sense memory of having bitten into something hard an hour ago. In fact, one molar in need of costly dental work screamed, “That was probably a DIAMOND you moron.”

I raced to the trash to dive for my worfed out food.

In front of my next class ambling in.

Due to being younger freshmen, they took instant notice of their teacher hunched over the trash, rooting about like a homeless ferret -- and became paralyzed, but said nothing. So I continued rooting until I retrieved what might have been the remnants of an autopsy.  One child gasped.

I explained in my most respectable teacher voice, that this was chewed chicken, which I had personally chewed an hour ago, and I NEEDED it.

The kids screamed silently. 

I placed the clot onto a tissue and poked about.



In the midst



This is where I had to recreate the storyline so my students were caught up and I could keep my job. 

Pretending I was the star investigator in my own CSI episode, I explained to the children that, in the early morning, I’d slid my ringed hand through a nylon sleeve and caught a prong on my ring, which I’d felt.

Without realizing this loosened the stone, I jostled my hand about in my morning routine, and the final dislodging happened when I thrust my hand into a Family-Sized Salad Trough, then thrust mini-handfuls into my Travel Dish.

“I think you saw the rest.”

They were awestruck.

I noted what a blessing it was to chew my diamond. “I might have 'thrust' it into the bathroom trash, deep inside my linen closet or the laundry hamper beneath. It might have ended up in our dishwasher, the garbage disposal or an industrial sized carton of cat food.”

The fact that I didn't swallow the diamond when I ate ravenously, they believed to be divine. That the diamond didn't sink to the bottom of my travel dish? That my second forkful contained the diamond then rode on the molar needing a root canal?! 

One freshman, the kind that’s good at math, suggested my diamond had a better chance of ending up in lunar orbit than my mouth.

And, like that -- the miracle of the occasion erased forever the image of an adult they personally knew engaged in public, ebola-trash-diving -- so that, before their very eyes, she could bring forth … a diamond.

It became a lesson in destiny, plotline, metaphor and sense imagery. And thanks to dramatic irony, I later learned the cost of replacing that uninsured stone was the same as my root canal estimate.

It was the best lesson I’d taught all year.

Mostly it was a lesson that dumb luck and grace are often indistinguishable.  So we have to be ready for the signs. Like the one that read, “Our office provides financing for dental work starting at $7000.”

Run, I told them  – don’t walk – from these signs. You never know when a dying molar might have the fate of an engagement diamond resting, quite literally, upon it.