Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Garbage Disposals Were Not Made For...

...So, let's go over the list. Shall we?

Garbage disposals were not intended for...
-making that playground stuff from bald tires
-hiding the pacifier that your 3 year old won't part with
-toothbrushes (I know, sometimes they smell like it wouldn't hurt to try this - but, really - don't. Trust me on this.)
-legos. Legos probably shouldn't go down the disposal.
-Neither should batteries. That would be bad.

Incidentally, 4 out of 5 of these items used to regularly find their way down our bathroom sink when my little guy was much younger. You would be amazed at what we would have to dig out of the drain pipe. OK. Back to our list.

-potato peels

Now that one really surprised me. I'm no idiot savant here but, I thought they were made for food. Now, I know better than to put onion skins down the disposal - but, potato peels? Really? Evidently some evil magic takes over when you put them into the garbage disposal and it turns them into rocks. Or did the plumber say cement? Tomato. Tomahto. Same difference if you ask me. Are you asking me? What? You want to know how I know this? OK. Enough twisting my arm already. Here's the story...

It's Friday evening. My husband's boss and his family are coming over for dinner. I say the word 'boss' which is accurate, but it would be just as accurate to say he's one of the owners of the company. Are we getting a clear picture now? OK.

I have spent quite a bit of time during the week making homemade noodles. Please, allow me to take a bunny trail for a moment concerning homemade noodles. I grew up eating chicken and dumplings. I love chicken and dumplings. But, there was something I found even better than your typical dumpling. It was Loretta Brown's sliders. Loretta Brown was an older lady in the church I grew up in. Every time we had a church pitch in I hunted Loretta down to find out which dumplings she had brought. No one else's would do. She had told me once that they weren't actually dumplings, but sliders. See, where dumplings can be thick and doughy (Is that even a word?), sliders are thinner and soak up more of the flavor of the broth. Oh, are they ever good! But...then I met my husband, a Hoosier. Hoosiers don't eat dumplings. And they don't eat sliders, either. They eat noodles. Noodles are almost like the Holy Grail of all things chicken and some sort of dough concoction in Indiana. When we first got married, my hubby asked me in a sheepish, boyish kind of way if I would have his mom teach me how to make noodles. They have long since surpassed Loretta Brown's sliders in my palette of adoration. I can thank homemade noodles for quite a few extra pounds. Noodles are a lot of work so I don't make them very often. Just usually for special occasions. They boss coming to dinner would qualify for a special occasion. Back to Friday...

The chicken and noodles were cooking, bread was in the oven and it was time to get the potatoes cooking. I peeled 6 pounds of potatoes. The left side of my sink was filled with dish water so I could keep cleaning up as I went. I put a few potato peels down the disposal at a time with no problems - or so I thought. Eventually, though, I wondered if I had actually put that much water in the other side of the sink. But, I kept adding more peelings a few at a time until the dishwater began to overflow to the other side of the sink and I realized that Houston had a problem. The disposal seemed to completely lock up the instant that the water overflowed. Holy Crap, Batman! What do I do now? The water wasn't draining. The disposal was jammed. The potatoes needed to be drained so I could mash them. The list of 'uh-ohs' was growing.

When my main squeeze walked in the door after work I tried to be all nonchalant and full of smiles when he said, "Hi, Honey. How was your day?". In my best we're cool and things are just peachy effort, I replied with a smile, "Great. But we have a problem."

He proceeded to pull the plumbing apart which poured water into a bucket past the point of overflow (all over the kitchen floor) trying to fix the clog. When he realized it was going to take more than a quick fix and the boss man and his family were due to be at our house in about ten minutes, we just cleaned up as quickly as possible and he headed for the shower. I had to get there first, though. You see, I still had to drain the potatoes. In the bathtub. Nice.

I ended up mashing 6 pounds of potatoes by hand because I didn't want to dirty my stand mixer and I knew I wouldn't be washing dishes that night. I also opted to not make the green beans I had planned on fixing for the same reason. I figured that the less mess I had the better. So, I served a completely white and starchy dinner; chicken and noodles, mashed potatoes and rolls. The rest of the night went incredibly well considering all the obstacles that we encountered along the way.

The next morning, Chris (My husband does have a name!) headed to the hardware store for a ginormous container of Drano. That did nothing. So, he talked to a plumber yesterday. When the plumber found out about the potato peels he said that they are one of the worst things you can put into the garbage disposal. That would have been good information to know Friday morning. He said they turn into cement or rocks or something when you run them through the garbage disposal. Huh. Who'da thunk? Then they had a conversation that went something like this.

Mr. Plumber: "When was your house built?"

My Man: "1953."

Mr. Plumber: "So, you probably have old cast iron pipes?"

Sexy Hubby: "Yep."

Mr. Plumber: "And you live in (our town)?"

Stud Muffin: "Yep."

Mr. Plumber: "That town is notorious for having really hard water."

Tiger: "Yeah. Our water is really hard."

Mr. Plumber: "Do all of your drains run slow?"

Hubba Hubba: "Yep."

Mr. Plumber: "Even if you clear the clog - your pipes aren't going to be the diameter they're supposed to be because of mineral build up and rust. By the time you get someone to unclog the sink, it's going to end up being just as expensive as it would be to re-plumb your house."

So, guess what we are having done? The plumber is supposed to be here tonight.

In the mean time, do you know how hard it is not to use the kitchen sink? Not to dirty dishes, especially since we don't even own paper plates? Thank God for frozen food. I NEVER buy frozen dinners, but, for some reason when I was at the grocery store this week, I did. We have been eating those or putting wax paper on our plates before we put anything else on them to keep from dirtying dishes. Last night, I gathered a bunch of groceries and took it to my mother-in-law's apartment and cooked supper at her house. She's cooking for us tonight. I love that woman!

So, what have we learned today? Don't put legos, or toothbrushes, or posters, or calculators, or the neighbor's cat who keeps digging up your flower beds, or rocks, or potato peels down your garbage disposal. Not unless you want new plumbing for your house. Sound reasonable enough?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"He Said I Have Dog Jaw."

I love this time of year. The bright sunshine. The humidity free days. The chilly 'I want to snuggle with you under a blanket.' nights. The turning of the leaves. The smell. Autumn has a unique smell. Part of it has to do with the bonfires. But it's more than that. Maybe the rotting leaves? That might be the only rotting smell I actually enjoy. Whatever the 'smell' it is - I like it.

Fall always seems to be sprinkled with a little mischief, too. Maybe because it's the season of Halloween. Maybe it's because I'm my father's daughter. Dad is a real prankster. He has this old, ugly mask that he always put on at Halloween and then he would hide in the bushes waiting for Trick-or-Treaters so he could jump out and scare the bejeepers of them. I don't know how he ever managed to keep from getting decked at some point. Oh, the stories I could tell on my dad. But, they will have to wait. I want to to talk about me today! Well, me and my man, actually. It's my blog so I can do that, right?

Back when me and my man were dating we loved to take drives and look at the leaves. We were living in a suburb of Columbus at the time. One of our favorite spots was this little village called Granville. It is a hilly, quaint, New England style town that absolutely oozes with charm. We would head over there and drive around beautiful Denison University and past the hotel that was reported to be haunted. We would admire the leaves and bask in our little 2 person 'I'm So Crazy In Love With You I Could Just Pee My Pants Festival'. It was pretty near heaven on earth.

One night while we were on one of these semi-regular Fall Love Fests, romance was really in the air. It was electric. As Mr. Wonderful drove us around those hills whose trees looked like they had been lit with fire, he ever so gently caressed the back of my head, my neck, my cheek with his free right hand. I basked in the warmth of his feelings for me. It was almost magical. Then something came over me.

I told him how my jaw had been bothering me. I told him that it had a knot in it and that I had seen the doctor about it.

"What did the doctor say?"

"He said I have something called Dog Jaw. Here, you want to feel?"

At that point he reached his hand out to feel the invasive lump on the side of my face. That's when I snapped my face toward his hand, growled and acted like I was going to bite him.

I think he nearly messed himself. He said I totally ruined the romantic mood. Whaaaa? He didn't find that a turn on? We had a good laugh out of it, though. Well, at least I did, anyway. I haven't tried that anymore since that almost perfectly romantic night 15 years ago. But he's still leery of my wacky sense of humor. I can't image why.

So, what have we learned today? I love Fall. I love my man. I am my father's daughter. And, lastly, but most importantly; if someone tells you they have Dog Jaw - for the sake of your clean underwear, don't believe them.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Weekend Incident

This is my girl, Layla. She is an awesome dog. But, she has a little habit. No, she doesn't eat poop. She likes to chew her nails.

See? I told you. But, there is something she really doesn't like to do.

She doesn't like to wear diapers.

I can't say that I blame her. I wouldn't want to wear diapers, either.

We didn't have her spayed because, since she is such an awesome dog, we wanted to breed her. We thought it would be nice to have one of her puppies since she is truly the best dog we've ever owned.

She is very petite for a doberman, 55 lbs. We've owned two other females and they were 70 lbs. a piece. So, when I took her in June for her yearly vaccinations I talked to the vet about breeding her. Because of her small size - he said she couldn't be bred with a male larger than 70 lbs. That would make it kind of hard to find a stud that small. And, really, we wouldn't want a whole litter of abnormally small Dobbies. Couple that with the reality that our house truly isn't large enough to have two of her running around, and we came to a decision. We would get her spayed before her next heat. That was great. In theory.

She came into heat a few months sooner than expected. Bum-mer. This heat has been really hard on her. She has been extremely lethargic. And she cries. All. The. Time. She will lay on the floor next to me and just let out this deep, pitiful, continuous moan. I feel so bad for her. So, we decided that as soon as she was out of heat we'd take her to be spayed. Then, Saturday night happened.

We've had other un-spayed females and never had a problem before. Well, let me tell you - we've got a problem now. Saturday night I let her out into our fenced in back yard to go potty before we shut the house up for bed. A couple of minutes later as I walked into the kitchen, I saw something out the window. I yelled!

"THERE'S A DOG IN OUR YARD!!!" And I ran to the back door and hollered for Layla.

In the mean time, my hubby is running to the back door and reaching for the BB gun. The uninvited dog made his way out underneath the back of the fence. It is really tight and has a wire running the whole length of the bottom to make it even stiffer. Incidentally, we found that he had dug his way into our yard. He came right back, too.

We don't know whether or not he got her. Oh, I pray he didn't get her. But now, I can't let her out without standing right there and watching. So, she can't be outside much right now. She loves to be outside. She cries to be outside. But no-oo. She has to stay inside most of the day and wear those wretched diapers. They don't want to stay in place the way you see them in catalogues. And if we're really lucky - she will find a way to occasionally get her diaper off and rip it to shreds. Kind of like, "There. That's what I think of those things!" And she is not a dog to destroy things. I can honestly report that she has never chewed the first sock, shoe or piece of furniture. But, let her get her diaper off and we've got confetti, Baby!

Since our little weekend incident I can add another item to my Monday 'to do' list. I get to call the vet and find out if I can get her in to spayed this week while she's still in heat. Do they even do that? Ay, ay, ay! I guess I'll be finding out.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A New (To Me) Twist On An Old Favorite

My husband could eat the same thing every day for the rest of his life - as long as it's something that he likes. Not so with me. Or the boy. Especially the boy. He can be loving something for months, then one day he's like, "Oooh. I hate that. That's gross." It doesn't matter if he loved it yesterday. When he's done, he's done. This makes keeping appealing snacks on hand quite a challenge. Trying to find healthy snacks is even more of a challenge.

Today, while checking out the Pretty Organized Palace blog, Pretty dealt with pinching pennies in the kitchen. Her snack ideas caught my attention. Basically, everyone in the US loves popcorn, right? I always have popcorn in the cabinet. I just have one issue with the stuff. The boy of the home is bored with it right now. Don't ask me how this child derived from my gene pool can be bored with the buttery, salty, corny goodness in a bowl - but he is. So, there must be another alternative.

I remember sometimes as a kid, Mom would buy that oh, so yummy powdered cheese shake stuff to go on popcorn. But, Dear Jesus! Have you looked at the price of that stuff lately? I'm much to cheap frugal for that. Then I remember the gourmet popcorn shop that me and my best girlfriend, Samantha, used to ride our bikes to downtown. You walked into this shop that was floor to ceiling bins of every color and every flavor of popcorn imaginable. It was near heaven on earth to a child. You could almost hear the angels singing the Hallelujah Chorus. Could life BE any better? But, I have no idea how to create blueberry popcorn. Or bubble gum popcorn. Or even caramel popcorn, for that matter. If someone knows how to do this, please, for the sake of all that is good and holy, leave me the directions in the comment section, or send me an e-mail. I won't be picky! But, I WILL love you forever! Anyway...

Pretty mentioned several options for popcorn toppings in her post today. Have you ever tried 1/2 butter mixed with 1/2 soy sauce? Me neither. But, I think we'll try it sometime. What about BBQ seasoning powder? Mrs. Dash? A ranch dressing packet? We tried that as a snack for today. The boy loves all things ranch dressing. Most kids do. As fortune would have it - I just happen to have 10,000 packets of the stuff in my cabinet at the moment. Normally, I buy the Hidden Valley type that costs $1.09 a whack. But, recently Aldi has been carrying their version for $.69 each. Needless to say, I stocked up.

So, I popped some corn, opened up a packet of my Aldi brand ranch dressing mix and sprinkled it on. I was pleased to hear, "Mmmm. Mmmm. Mmmm. This is good, Mom."

What to you top your popcorn with?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Her Name Is Konichiwa

Do you ever feel as though like you're being pulled in a thousand directions? Do you ever wish that you could temporarily clone yourself? I don't necessarily dream of cloning myself - but, I do find myself in a semi-catatonic state with a starry look in my eye and drool running down my chin beneath an open mouth daydreaming about "Konichiwa". She's my house girl. You know, the one who washes all of our clothes and dishes, and does all the housework? Then at the end of a long, hard day she gives me and the master of the house a hot stone massage. Her presence frees me to do all of the fun things in life: homeschool the boy, work on my projects, learn new skills and hobbies, shop. Go ahead - wipe the slobber off of your keyboard now. I'll wait for you. Surely, I'm not the only one who has this fairy land in my head. But, alas, I do not live in this reality. At least there was always summer... Yeah, right. Whatever...

In my other ideal world, or the way it seems that my world used to be, summer is a time to slow down, relax, let your hair down and just breathe a little. It hasn't been that way this summer. It seems that I have stayed in a state of overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with all of these things that want my attention at the same. The garden needs tended. The vegetables need canned. The curtains that need made. The ceiling and furniture still needs painted. The jeans that need hemmed. The never ending mountain of laundry that needs washing. The meals that need to be prepared. Then the kitchen that needs cleaned in response to the meals being prepared. And that's only the inside of the house. It seems that all of these things pull at me so that I have a hard time remembering what's really important in my life. Lord, please grant me a Konichiwa. And bless all the little pygmies in Africa. Amen.

So, what is really important? Is it all of the tasks that scream at us every time we enter the room or walk out into the yard? No, chores, projects and duties aren't what's really important when it's all said and done. This is something I've been battling with lately, though. The most important things that I can tend are not my projects lists, but my relationships.

My husband works in a 24 hour emergency business. Last week was his turn for the pager. That means he put in 48 gazillion hours in a week. Whaaa, you didn't know there were 48 gazillion hours in a week? Well, that's what it felt like anyway. When your man is gone working 48 gazillion hours in a week and then spends the other 13.872 hours sleeping - well, let's just say you don't get to see much of him. I like to see LOTS of him. He is a pretty man, after all! So, he finally got rid of that blasted pager and had the weekend off. But...when Saturday morning rolled around I was feeling pressured. Pressured to get busy make 9,000 gallons of salsa out of the 22 truckloads of tomatoes that I had picked from the garden. They aren't going to clean and chop themselves, you know. My pretty man could tell that I was already feeling stressed. He knew those tomatoes needed dealt with. But he also knew something that I needed to be reminded of. He knew those tomatoes COULD wait just a while longer. He knew we needed to spend time tending our family before we tended those tomatoes.

He ever so gently said to me, "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways..." No. Wait. That's not what he said. That's what I would have liked for him to say. No, that's not true, either. I would have burst out laughing if he started talking to me in the King James dialect. He did say something to me along the lines of letting the tomatoes wait and that he hadn't gotten to spend any time with us that week and so it would be good if we could just spend some time together that day. He reminded me that the most important things aren't usually the ones that scream at us the loudest. It's the quiet things in our lives that are easily overlooked and shoved to the back burner that truly deserve the most important seats at the table of our lives. I don't want my dirty laundry at the table. I want my peeps there.

So, I have a challenge ahead of me. I still have a list of projects lined up for me to do during "down" time. I will always have laundry to do, meals to prepare and dishes to wash. I have come to terms with that. But, yesterday marked the first day of our new school year. So, I can now add teaching to the top of my list. With the holidays quickly approaching and extra curricular activities getting ready to start - I am determined this year to keep perspective. I will be striving to take it one day at a time and not let my messy house and dirty laundry keep me from enjoying every day and making time to nurture relationships with the people, family and friends, who are important to me. And, while I'm learning to keep perspective - I'll still be praying for Konichiwa. What's so wrong with wanting a house girl?

Have a great one!