Monday, March 12, 2012

support group

There's nothing quite like watching four grown men fling themselves onto the slender aluminum legs of a canopy in an attempt to keep it from going airborne.  This is even more entertaining when potted plants and rusty metal sculptures with very pointy edges are flying through the air and tumbling along the ground.

The Lake City Home and Garden show was an obstacle course of adventure last weekend.  Canopies were lost, plants were unpotted and the indoor booths for once got more attention than those outside.  Of course the wind whipping up clouds of scouring sand and mini-cyclones of razor blades (okay, they were oak leaves, but they left nasty scratches) might have had something to do with driving attendees indoors.

I entered a raffle for a Wolfgang Puck indoor grill and was one of two who remembered to show up at 3pm for the must-be-present-to-win drawing.  The man called out seven ticket numbers, none of them were mine.  None of them were the other lady's either.  Well, that's not true.   He was calling the last four digits.  She was reading the first digits and wondering why the numbers he kept calling were shorter than the number on her ticket.  When she finally figured it out (at the point where he had MY ticket number in his hand to call next) she realized he'd called her number four tickets ago.  She walked off with the grill.  15 seconds longer and I'd have won. 

Oh well, I'd have probably burned down the house with the thing anyway.

Because that's what I do.  Not intentionally, of course.  But some days it's more cost-effective for me to stay curled up in the center of the bed, not touching anything electronic or alive.

"What had happened was..."

I got up at 2 am to fix breakfast for my husband before he left for work at 3:20.  Normally I will pull the blanket over my head and mumble "bye, love you, haveagoodday" and make kissy noises toward him as he leaves, getting up to make my own breakfast a respectable 3 or 4 hours later.  But this day I wanted to be nice and make him a good, hot breakfast.

Well, sort of.

We make big batches of breakfast burritos and freeze them.  That way, 2-3 minutes in the microwave gives us a quick, hot meal when we are running late.  However, if you take a few more minutes and pop the burritos in the toaster oven, you get a delicious, crunchy-shelled breakfast of deliciousness and win.  I opted for the long version.  I even remembered to spray cooking oil on the pan so they wouldn't stick.  Tossed them in the oven, plugged that sucker in and set it for 10 minutes.  Turned.  Walked to the bedroom door (about 8 feet away).  And just as I reached toward the door knob, I heard gosh-awful popping noises from the toaster oven.  I dashed back to the counter as sparks and smoke started issuing from beneath the device, jerked the cord out of the outlet, manually shut off the timer and decided the microwave method might not be so bad after all.

The toaster oven is... well... toast.  The burritos weren't quite as tasty, what with the scent of burnt electrical wiring wafting through the air and all, but they were edible.  And making my husband breakfast in bed completely threw off his groove for the rest of the day.  So instead of a win-win, I ended up with a fail-fail.

But it could have been worse.  If my leg hadn't been numb from sleeping all twisted up in the covers, I'd have walked faster to the bedroom and most likely missed hearing the sparking.  That would have been a disaster of epic proportions.

Of course the toaster oven was our only oven - because of some quirky circumstances the house was only set up to accept a gas oven - which was fine for a while.  I love cooking with gas.  Except our local propane company has some sort of additive in their gas that makes ash build up on the pilot lights, putting them out every other day or so.  "Why do we have headaches all the time?"  "Oh, wait, because we're breathing in gas because the pilot lights are out again."  So we moved the gas stove out to the shed and had the propane company come pick up their tank.  But, when we went to install an electric range, we discovered the lack of wiring.  Lovely.  Now we have to find an electrician to install an outlet for the range.  And to figure out what the breakers marked "range" actually control.

So, breakfast over, I move to my next task -  laundry.  Toss in a load, move a load to the dryer, no worries.  Turn everything on, wait to make sure no sparks fly (see, I can be taught!), and work on the next book while I wait for the buzzers to go off. 

Two hours later, no buzzers.  Hmm.  Curious.  The washer is done, the buzzer had just been turned off.  No worries there.  Open the dryer to pull the clothes out.  They are still wet.  Warm-ish, but wet.  This is not good.

Try another cycle.  45 minutes later, the clothes are still wet.  Lovely.  That's ok, I can deal with this.  I'll just haul the clothes out to the line and hang them up to dry.  Except I can't find the clothespins from the last time I used the line (about 2 years ago, I think).  Necessity becomes the mother of invention.  Plastic hangers - hang the clothes on the hangers, hang the hangers on the line.  Added bonus: don't have to put the clothes on hangers after they're dry, just hang them right up.

But the dryer is not working.  I go online to try to figure out what could be wrong with it.  And it beeps.  Wha?  Beep.  Beep beep. Beeeeeep.  What the heck?  Go, turn off the dryer.  Back to the computer.  Type-type-type. Beep.  Beep beep. Beeeeeep.  Okay, I know I turned it off.  I'll just ignore it until I finish this search.  Beep.  Beep.  Beep.  Beeeeeeeep.  Beepbeep.  This thing is possessed!  It is making noises I've never heard before.  I'll just unplug it for now.

Only, I can't reach the plug.  Because we have the washer and dryer up on lifts to make them easier to use (they're both front load contraptions) and this has blocked access to the outlet.  And I'm short.  So I can't just reach over the dryer to get to the plug.  Aha.  This is why we have a step-stool.  Well, this, and reaching top cabinets.  So I pull the step-stool over and climb up.  But I still can't quite reach.  So I lean over the dryer.  And my foot slips off the step-stool, slamming my belly into the front edge of the dryer, scooting it back along the lifts and making it absolutely hopeless for me to get to the darned plug.

Alright, fine.  Put the step-stool back, go back to my computer to look for the source of the problem.  Start typing.  Screen goes black.  What?

Not screen-saver black.  Not sleep-mode black.  No, this is "the power just died and you are screwed" black.  Only the power in the house didn't die.  the power to my laptop cord didn't die.  And the laptop battery is fully charged, so that wouldn't have killed it anyway.  Hmm.  Pick up the laptop to see what's going on.  No sparks, but wow, it feels kind of warm.  Odd. 

Turn it back on and it works just fine.  Something is different though.  Can't quite put my finger on it.  Hmm.  Wait - it's being very quiet all of a sudden.  Aha!  The fan isn't coming on.  Well, that's just peachy.

So, instead of the toaster oven, we're now doing all our cooking in the microwave and on a hot plate.  Instead of the dryer, we're hanging out our clothes.  And I still use the laptop, but I save, often.

Which brings us back to the home and garden show.  Where, for some unknown reason, I signed up to do Relay for Life as a survivor.  Which is fine.  But I also said I'd go to the next meeting of their women's cancer support group.  And that's tonight.  So I'll try not to burn down the house while I'm getting ready.

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