Saturday, September 4, 2010

Don’t tell me what to do – SPELL it out!

I was pondering the science of making a perfect pizza when out of the bag of pepperoni, a little salt-sized packet of dessicant fell out which had the words “Do not eat” printed all over it. First off why, out of all the quality fine foods in the world, are only lowly pepperoni and beef jerky concerned with humidity control? Does that mean staples like coffee, flour, and brown sugar don’t rank high enough to receive a moisture-absorbing countermeasure packet, yet pepperoni somehow does?

Also I don’t like my food telling me what to do, so I resent spending good money at the market, only to get a message out of the package that says I ‘can’t’ eat the ENTIRE contents of the stinking bag. I admit it, I have trouble with authority, but I think almost anyone in their right mind would not appreciate deli meats bossing them around. Nobody wants a sandwich loaded with a ‘magazine’ of Oscar Mayer cold cuts taunting them with obnoxious comments like ‘you’re full of baloney’ – even if it’s true!

Often when I overeat, my food ‘speaks’ to me in any number of antisocial ways, but I try not to take it personally and generally let the comments pass. But I draw the line at those stupid little clam-shaped fortune cookies. Why are people so compelled to listen to the predictions from some nasty yellow cardboard cookie with a piece of toilet paper stuffed inside? Funny, when I give loads of well-heeled, exacting advice to my ‘family’, they humor me with a polite smile. But if a fortune cookie’s got something to say, even if it’s ‘CRUMBY’ sentiment – that cookie’s all-knowing and has a direct line to GOD!

So it seems that I am going to have to really watch what I eat now that the pantry seems to be mouthing off more. Yes, the Pop Tarts have riddles on the frosting and my gum comes wrapped in comics. As crazy as it sounds, I’m even noticing that the AlphaBits cereal and the Alphabet soup are getting all macho and comparing the size of their bowls. Eating has become so much more stressful now with all of these ‘wordy’ foods – maybe I need to play a game with the family to relax. Uh Oh, not so fast … looks like we only have a choice of Scrabble, Probe, and Upwords. If I’m going to win I think I’m going to need some help, so let me spell it out for you - BRING ON THE FOOD!

Friday, September 3, 2010

‘Mini-Me’ Greenie-Me

After snake charming yesterday I had a load of Turbin towels to wash. In doing so I finished off a bottle of laundry detergent – but it left me a tad ‘burpy’ with a blue and filmy yogurt aftertaste. It was one of those ’64 load’ monster jugs that weighs probably almost twice as much as two ’32 wash load’ bottles which I ordinarily use as barbells.

My body type, and primitive sweaty pheromone-laced jungle ardour, is on par with that of a Lowland ‘Silverback Gorilla’. So I often wonder how ordinary petite-people heft these giant vats of laundry liquid into position and uncork just the right amount of ‘goo’ into the washing machine. I am cheap, so typically I buy these freakishly oversized containers since the manufacturer charges ‘LESS’ per wash load when you buy MORE of their product. That makes sense for most things, but detergent is mostly water. Doesn’t it seem dumb to pay more freight to ship added water and packaging and then sell it to the end-user at a better price?

So enter these newer ‘mini-me’ liquid detergent bottles. They still come with the same number of bubbly wash loads, but since the cleaning agent is ‘thicker’, more gelatinous, and highly concentrated with less water - the bottle is smaller. In fact so small that it only takes a single capful of the stuff which is a third of the size of the bigger jugs. Now I was thinking, why stop there, why don’t we concentrate this gunk down further so we can dispense it out of a caulking gun? Or heck, maybe even that is too large - why not miniaturize the detergent into the viscosity of a dehydrated track-team loogie, or a completely water-free Dentyne-sized stick of gum?

Honestly I have not quite embraced these new lightweight bottles and their ultra-viscous contents. Not only am I too impatient to wait for the ‘blue-goo’ to pour out of the cap, I tend to want to overfill the lid and therefore get LESS wash loads per jug. I guess I can get on-board with the lighter, mini laundry bottles though since they are easier on the biceps and at this point, I certainly don’t want to ruin my perfectly honed Yeti-physique with exercise! And yes I do want a better and ‘GREENER’ environment for the world … except for those chewy track-team ‘phlegm-gems’ of course.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Where’s St. Patrick when you need him?

In my life I have been awoken out of my slumber a few times. As a rule I cannot ever remember it happening for a ‘good’ reason and today was no different. I would like to tell you I was dreaming of Christmas morning, winning the lottery, or more realistically, a peanut covered donut, but I honestly can’t remember. You see all I can remember was my wife’s frantic voice yanking me from the fog of sleep with one simple word - SNAKE!

Yes we live near the woods and an enormous lake recreation area so animal encounters here are a part of daily life. However the place is still more akin to suburbia central than austere Australia, so the only thing I know about the ‘Outback’, is their Bloomin’ Onions, not their stinkin’ serpents. Most people might wake up to a spider, maybe the occasional bed bug, or heaven forbid, a marauding mouse singing Disney tunes. How did I offend the spirit of Steve Irwin to get the privilege of wrangling a slippery little snake at six in the morning?

Honestly it was not that big of deal once I could get the sleep out of my eyes and see my way to the bathroom. No I am not THAT incontinent but it was where the snake had retreated behind my wife’s floor bound jewelry crate. Thinking like a cornered snake, we set out to prepare the bathroom for trapping, by stuffing up any gaps or routes of egress with towels. My wife is far more level-headed than you might imagine since in the past, with a homemade ‘snare stick’, she has yard-wrangled bigger snakes than today’s 18 inch interloper.

Anyway, the story has a happy ending for all concerned. The snake required only a thin towel over him to calm down enough so I could swaddle it up into a bigger bath towel, for transport out to the forest. My wife got to complete her ablutions in peace, and I got to walk around all day talking like Crocodile Dundee and wearing short khaki pants. Although cottonmouth venomous snakes and their offspring are common in Missouri, I think this fellow was probably a fairly young and harmless rat snake. Hmmm, maybe that’s what explains why I got such a rude awakening this morning – apparently even the wildlife thinks I’m a rat. Little did they know the truth though, my wife thinks I’m a Saint … PATRICK!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Carpet Diem

You know I have a problem with floor coverings in that I hate them all. I wonder how cave folks used to handle their floors in days of old? Do you think every couple of years cave-husbands would hear from their cave-wives, that it was time to replace the ‘dirt’ in the cave because it’s … uh well, SOILED? At least there were few mysteries if any, about what was or wasn’t ‘tracked’ in, and who did it.

Maybe my cave-ancestors had the right idea and I should just fill my house with mulch. Oh I know the hot trends say that I should trade out my strawberry colored high/low shag with some fancy hardwood stuff. But then I won’t have a nice soft furry floor to sleep on, next to years of built-up dead skin, hair, and assorted DNA. Our wall to wall carpeting may seem a little old fashioned but except for that ‘wear-trough’ from the front door to the kitchen, bathroom, and up the stairs, most of it still looks new.

I like the look of tile and marble floors just fine but they are not the best choice of floor coverings in the Midwest. They are pleasantly cool in the summer but turn into icy blocks in the winter which suck out the life-blood of warmth with your every step, EVEN with socks on. I know linoleum tile is warmer and softer but even the good stuff reminds me of my pre-school days filled with terror, tears, and soiled pants – and those were just my teacher’s reactions!

I have installed one of those floating floors before and they are fine I guess as long as you keep the Dramamine handy. I always feel they are a little industrial for a home however. Yes there is nothing like the pleasure of coming home after a hard day to floor that looks and sounds like it has been borrowed from the shoe section at Sears. Now never fear, there is hope for me yet. I think I did find a type of flooring that I could easily love for a really long time – it was covered in spent peanut shells and smells just like spicy BBQ!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bedtime for Bromo

In anticipation of the great egg hunt where the world starts searching for Salmonella infected eggs, I bought 30 of the familiar little white oblong ‘goo grenades’, in hope of avoiding a price increase. Wow I have been reduced to hoarding eggs and admitting to it – what is the world coming to? Now I am kicking myself (literally) since I loaned my live chickens to that weird ‘voo-dude’ shaman last month.

Now I have to be honest, I am not falling all over myself in fear of a getting an ‘egg-born’ parasite. I am a father you know, so in many ways not only have I already survived this ‘egg-fate’ before but after 19 years now, I am nearly fearless. Though I would never recommend you cooking your children thoroughly to rid them of diseases, I think this countermeasure is perfectly acceptable when it comes to almost any object that’s ejected from the bodies of farm fowl.

Hey I’m sorry, I know it’s not a pretty picture but neither is getting abdominal cramps and ‘dirty dancing’ with porcelain and the Ty-D-Bol man all night. Take it from me, unlike Patrick Swayze, that little guy’s dancing stinks and within minutes he’ll have you singing the blues too. Maybe you should not experiment on your family by risking any wet eggs at all for awhile and just go for a tub of the powdered variety. If you are feeling really adventurous, try hard-boiling a batch too unless you’re CHICKEN!

Yes I know, you all get the ‘dry heaves’ at the thought of powdered anything when it comes to foodstuffs, but at least you’ll be Salmonella free. Hey dehydrated gunk is good enough for motel breakfast buffets and the U.S. Army so it must be good enough for us too, right? Your kid’s seem to have no problem eating that powdered ‘agent orange’ Kraft Mac N’ Cheese out of the box, and don’t forget the way they suck down those packs of hot chocolate on a cold night. Suddenly I am feeling a bit bloated from all of this effervescent powdered foodie fuss – It must be high time for my bedtime ‘Bromo’ night cap!

Monday, August 30, 2010

The ‘Poodle-loon’: A man, a pooch, and a dream

Recently our friends introduced us to their new dog that was so small it is referred to as a ‘teacup poodle’. Now I think it is probably more of the size of a ‘Big Gulp’ or a ‘Thirsty Two Ouncer’ cup but you get the idea. He is a cute little guy and seems to do all the stuff normal dogs do except in a far more diminutive, two-pound curly poodle packaging.

I am a little worried about him because he doesn’t yet understand the ways of the real world. Just because he has all the attitude of the ‘big dog on campus’, his stature is still only a fearsome 5 inches tall unless WET and then he is reduced to freshman ‘rat status’. Honestly, if that little furry piece of lightning came running into the bedroom when I am half-asleep, I would scream in terror like an even littler girl than usual. Out of primal fear, I would instinctively react by throwing pillows at it or even worse, unleash the wrath of my freakishly large hippo feet bound in pink ballet slippers. There has to be a way to make that little black dog a little more obvious when it is underfoot and a tad less frightening when it’s beady black eyes come charging in at ankle-level unexpectedly.

No don’t worry I won’t try anything in-humane or risk the little guy’s health. My two previous animal inventions both failed anyway. The first one, I briefly froze an ant’s metabolic rate and attached a custom made quarter-inch chariot with wheels. This idea would have worked too but my miniature version of Charlton Heston never could get used to commanding the ant in place of a pony. I also once made a walking harness for our kitten so my daughter could take her for community strolls. Every time I would loosely fit the contraption around her kitty waist, she would get all ‘catty’ and passive aggressive. That cat’s protests consisted of nary a growl or riled meow, she simply locked all four appendages and toppled over stiff-legged like a frozen fainting goat. If your thoughts of a nice walk with your pet consists of dragging a furry anchor through a sunny meadow, then this idea is for you.

Dogs however are ‘Man’s best friend’ and I’m mostly all-man right? So basically this time my plan for the teacup mutt is to get a couple of those ‘Underdog’ helium balloons and inflate them to counteract most of the curly pennyweight’s puny poundage. I’ll make it so he’ll not quite float but the rig might slow the micro-dog down a bit. If nothing else, maybe if I sew him up one sparkly paw-glove, he’ll learn to ‘moonwalk’ for Epic Records, or even better, NASA. Obviously my balloon harness invention, which I have dubbed the ‘Poodle-loon’, will make the pup easily visible to the human eye and ensure his safety in my big-footed presence. And who knows, the pooch might even be a BIG hit at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade – unless it’s windy or it RAINS!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A brush with death!

I am amazed at where dust and gunk builds up in life’s myriad of nooks and crannies. Most of the bigger stuff can be sucked up with a vacuum cleaner or scrubbed with a rag, but at least once a week I still try to take a shower too whether I need it or not.

In the laundry room and garage, we have built up a collection of ‘old’ toothbrushes that we use to clean the vents in the cars, air filters, and other impossibly small and dirty things around the house. If it has been spilled in the refrigerator or gummed up the grout lines of the floor, those scrubby buddies sure come in handy.The only problem is that unlike most cleaning utensils, the toothbrush for all intents and purposes still looks like a toothbrush after it is 'cleaned up' and has done its dirty work - even if it’s not been in the mouth.

As good fortune would have it, yesterday the dishwasher filters needed a thorough cleaning. Believe me the irony of a ‘cleaning tool’ of convenience needing an inconvenient cleaning is not lost on me. It is akin to the logic and pleasure I get from washing each bar of soap in the house with another bar of soap. Somehow my wife seems un-phased by the added Saturday dishwasher duty. She grabbed one of our trusty toothbrushes and soon enough I began to get loopy from the bleach odor wafting from the confines of the kitchen.

My sleep schedule is rather erratic, so to avoid disturbing my wife’s sleep, it is not unusual that I will retrieve my personal toothbrush from the bathroom when she retires to bed. In an effort to not leave toiletries out in the open for human, rodent, and insect house guests to examine and fondle, I move my dental scrubber to the convenient, yet hidden safety of the laundry room. You’ll be happy to know the dishwasher scrubbed up to perform just like new. And better yet, aside from that bitter caustic after-taste of ‘Chlorgate’ toothpaste, my teeth have never been whiter!