Sunday, August 27, 2017

Shower Beer and Other Lies

I used to spend a lot of time and energy pretending to like things I didn't. For instance, beer and chicken wings. I don't really like either of those things (yeah yeah, I'm a monster, whatever), but damned if I didn't consume great quantities of them with my pals/coworkers/boyfriends back in the day. I occasionally enjoy a beer or ten these days, but once I discovered wine the gig was basically up.

I remember my classmates in college talking about drinking beer in the shower, and how it was so amazing. Hot shower + cold beer = apparently life-changing awesomeness. I pondered this arithmetic at home that night. Salt and nuts aren't all that amazing on their own, but when you put them together they're unstoppable - or maybe I'm unstoppable, in that I can't stop eating them - so maybe there was something to this beer-shower business? I looked in my fridge. No beer, but there was a butterscotch pudding cup. Maybe it's just something cold and enjoyable contrasted with the hot and enjoyable shower that made it so good? I decided to give it a shot.

Nope. It was either watery pudding in the shower, or regular pudding while getting cold outside the spray. Fair enough, rookie mistake: you clearly need something enjoyable that you don't have to eat with a spoon.

Yogurt tube? Carrot sticks? No and no. So it has to be something you drink, right?

After a couple more rookie mistakes (cup of coffee and glass of wine, respectively), it was clear that you need a beverage that water can't get into and wreck. Then after a couple more semi-pro** mistakes (**by this point I could no longer pretend at being a rookie) (tin of Coke Zero, bottle of Perrier), it became clear that I just don't like eating or drinking things in the shower.

And honestly, why would I? Showers are good enough on their own. Showers don't need butterscotch pudding or Perrier, or even beer - especially beer! - to be amazing. Why would showers add useless fluff, or pretend to be something they're not?

Allow me to clarify a point: I finished college in 2003. I was disappointed by a bottle of Perrier in the shower stall of a crappy motel room in Bow Island about six weeks ago. This has been a very protracted experimental process, to arrive at a conclusion that should have been immediately self-evident. Here is what I should have said to my college classmates all those years ago: Beer in the shower? Sounds pretty medium. I'm just gonna stick to my usual routine of conditioning masks and masturbating and never think about you guys and your beer-showers ever again.

Be yourself, friends. You're good enough just the way you are.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Farmer Pinterest

I've driven all over rural western Canada, and I would sincerely like to know how it is so many far-flung folks all got together and decided to put up No Hunting tires. Also boot (or sometimes hat) fences, and motor vehicles on sticks. Seriously, is there some sort of Farmer Pinterest out there I'm not aware of? I checked regular Pinterest (gag) but was unable to find the No Hunting tires section, so I'm thinking it's probably on the dark web instead - where all the most insane things in the world are. Or so I've heard.

I've come to think the vehicles on sticks may serve as a warning to other vehicles, much like a head on a spike: don't mess with *this* farmer, or else! Sure enough, there's always a car graveyard of varying size out back somewhere, so you KNOW they're serious. Heck, maybe that's what the hat/boot fences are, too. Dude had one too many treasonous rubber boots for his liking and he is letting the rest of his footwear know the consequences, lest they try any funny business.

Cool thing about the Farmer Pinterest is how accessible the crafts are, compared to regular Pinterest. Guess that explains why you never see Farmer Pinterest Fails, 'cause how could you fail at nailing weird crap to a fence? I have definitely had footwear let me down at inopportune times in the past - I, too, could have a boot fence! Actually I'd probably do more of a mixed-footwear fence; what's Pinterest if not a jumping off point for your own creative take, right? I would hammer up the flip-flop that broke on me while I was touring a lava field in Hawaii - bastard hurt my foot, nicked my pedicure AND the spare shoes I had in the car didn't go well with my outfit. Your sole on a spike! Let this be a warning to your rubba slippah brethren!

Hiking boots that leaked water too early in the field day for my liking? On the fence! Those cute little Sketchers slip-ons that get so unbearably stinky that you can't even wear them? Fence! Every pair of painful heels ever?** Fence! I hate running; why do I even have these? Fence!

Wow, now I can see how that caught on - the power is intoxicating! Surely no shoe will ever dare betray me again. Thanks for the great craft ideas, Farmer Pinterest! I think next I'm gonna make a No Pooping tire to warn off the neighbourhood cats, and although I'm not really feeling the vehicle on stick thing, if the food processor ever craps out I'll definitely keep it in mind.

**(Dear shoe collection: you know I'm only teasing, my beauties. Mommy loves you.)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Zucchini Week

Well, it's that 'OMG what am I going to do with all this zucchini?' time of year again. As well as 'Why didn't I write down what I did with it all last year?' time. So this year, guess what? I am writing (typing) it down: here is our menu for this week, with links to some yummy recipes as a starting point if you need the inspiration.

By my calculations, a family of four can burn through 5-6, toddler-sized zucchini in a week following the below plan. If you happen to need some help scaling your own personal Mount Zucchini, then you're welcome. If you do not currently need such assistance, you may want to check your doorstep on Saturday...

Sunday: chocolate-zucchini loaf (you probably already have a good recipe kicking around - use that) (make extra)

Monday: roasted corn and basil soup with zucchini-corn fritters and chipotle aioli

Tuesday: Thai coconut chicken with peanut dipping sauce, green papaya salad (made with shredded fresh zucchini instead of green papaya - trust me), and coconut rice

Wednesday: German potato salad (oh yeah, we also have a ton of taters in the garden this year, and they are ah-mazing!), sauteed zucchini and grilled sausages

Thursday: Italian meatball soup (drop smallish, fresh meatballs into boiling chicken or veggie broth and simmer 'til cooked, then add flavoury stuff and whatever zucchini, tomatoes, basil, beans, etc. that are overflowing your garden and cook until tender) with crusty bread

Friday: stuffed zucchini (cut one large zucchini or several small ones in half lengthwise; stuff with whatever sounds delicious; bake, or roast on low heat in the BBQ, 'til zucchini boats are fork-tender)

Saturday: wrap large zucchini in a swaddling blanket and drop on neighbour's doorstep, then order pizza. You deserve a break.

Sunday: commence Tomato Month!

Keep fighting the good fight, my gardening friends!   

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Wonder Years

When Medium Fry was wee, she had this funny manner of gazing off past your head and saying oddball things in a soft, dazed sort of voice. I have loads of hilarious quotes of hers jotted down on sticky notes, and I can still almost hear her spacey little way of saying them. I remember her telling me about Wonder Woman once (cue distant eyes and dreamy voice): "She wonders about tings a lot."

In comparison, Small Fry has been less "quotable" and more "damage control" - there have been fewer sticky notes with him, but more empty wine bottles. With Medium Fry it was all dazy weirdness but with Small Fry everything has been lightning fast, and just as unpredictable. He once body surfed a pallet of Wonder bread at Superstore.

It happened instantaneously. He couldn't possibly have formed conscious intent in the time between the photons reaching his retinas and when he was suddenly sailing through the air, limbs arched back like a skydiver, into the welcoming arms of a dozen pillowy loaves - it was pure instinct. As was my reaction: horrified gasp; back-of-the-shirt-kid-handle hold; flee. I used to work in a bakery so I'm pretty sure the Wonder bread eventually reconstituted itself into loaf shapes - we tested it; that stuff is indestructible - but I swear the incriminatory imprint of a toddler in a flat of bread haunts my dreams to this day.

I used to think the term "wonder years" meant the years were wonderful, but maybe Medium Fry had it right all along: since having kids I wonder about tings a lot. For instance, "I wonder if we're going to survive this?" Which eventually transitions to, "I wonder how I'm screwing up my children?" And after a few years of that, you get into, "I wonder what the hell is wrong with my children?" (Honestly, did I drop you or something? I mean, everyone drops their kids a little, but like, did I really do some damage at some point and just not notice 'til now?)

(Furthermore: "I wonder if anyone saw that?" "I wonder if anyone realizes the embarrassing kid is mine?" "I wonder what these people must think our home life is like?")

* * *

I passed a Wonder bread delivery truck the other day on the highway. I was driving along grinning like a fool for who knows how long before I even realized why: the Superstore incident is pretty funny - in retrospect. As were the barfing-in-the-pool incident, and the grating the carrots incident, and innumerable other incidents over the years that gave me a serious case of the wonderings in the moment.

I'm thinking that with a little more time and distance, all of these incidents (and phases, and years) will mature from wonder to Wonder. Maybe that's when The Wonder Years really start.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Other S-Word

It's hard to get things out of Small Fry sometimes; he tends to clam up when he's upset about something. I only deduced that he had had some kind of tiff with his neighbourhood pals when he stopped going out to play with them every day after school. I figured it would eventually blow over, but after about a week and a half of him moping around indoors I finally had to ask what happened.

He wouldn't say. And not just like he didn't particularly care to discuss the incident in detail; more like he completely refused to say a single word and I had to ask ten thousand yes/no questions and interpret his barely perceptible nods/head shakes to figure it out.

Eventually - like, eight thousand questions in - I was able to extract the following: he had been mean to someone, he felt really bad about it, and as a result, he fully intended to never play outside again with his friends for the rest of his natural life. Like, oh my gawd, what did he even do that was that bad, right?! After a few hundred more questions, we came to this:

'Did you call someone a bad word?' *tiny nod* (Aha!)

'Like, a swear word?' *nod* (Uh-oh.)

'Did it start with an F?' *shake* (Whewf!)

'Did it start with an S?' *nod* (Uh-oh.)

'Can you tell me what you said?' *shake*

'If I guess the word will you let me know?' *nod*

'Did you call him a... shithead?' *shake*

'Full of shit?' *shake*

 'A dipshit?' *shake*

'A little shit?' *shake*

'A shit-for-brains?' *shake* 

'A shitstain?' *shake*  

'A shitbird?' *shake*

... And so on and so forth, in ever more creative and obscure (sh)iterations. Eventually, even I - of the famously sailor-y mouth - plum ran out of S-word-based insults. I was stumped.

'Well, jeez louise honey, I am out of ideas. Could you please tell me what you said so we can figure out how to deal with this problem?'

*After a very long pause, and in a very small voice...* 'I told him to shut up.' 

(Oh... shit.) 

'Well, that's not so bad. We can deal with that! But, um, let's just be sure to never use any of those other S-words that Mommy just taught you, okay?' 

* * *

An apology was issued to the little friend Small Fry felt he had been irredeemably cruel to, and as far as I can tell everything is back to normal with him and his gang of pals. Unfortunately, any positive life lessons he might have learned from this were probably outweighed by the exotic vocabulary lesson he received concurrently. It's really a shame someone doesn't tell me to shut up on occasion.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Buyer's Remorse

Small Fry has been derailed slightly from his savings goals lately: the ice cream truck has returned to its evening rounds of our neighbourhood. In addition to its siren song - and I mean literal siren, that thing is crazy loud - I have witnessed the driver stopping directly in front of our house and peering out his window at our front door, waiting for a certain little towheaded someone to launch gleefully down the driveway waving a fistful of cash.

Small Fry is down to his last twenty-dollar bill, and is really struggling with the fact that he spent all the rest of his money on ice cream. Now when the ice cream truck drives by our house, Small Fry holds the twenty in his lap and gazes mournfully at it. There is something about that final, large (to him) denomination bill that is really giving him pause. He knows he can spend his money however he sees fit, but we also had a talk (which will go down in family lore as "the buyer's remorse talk of '17") about losing out on bigger savings goals if you blow all your money on ice cream.

"Can I use your money instead, Mom?"

"Absolutely not, dear. But nice try."

Gotta say, I'm pretty proud of him. Ice cream being a particular weakness of mine, I can totally relate to how he's feeling. It's surely for the best that I don't keep cash on hand. (Just imagine a certain largish redheaded someone launching down the drive with a fistful of cash.)

Speaking of family lore, it's a Dickie Dee ice cream truck (or at least "Dickie Dee" is still partially legible in faded letters on the side), which reminds me of "the buyer's remorse incident of approximately '04" when some poor fool thought it was a good idea to give my little brother a job driving an ice cream bicycle.

It is surely telling that even my kids, on hearing of the buyer's remorse incident of approximately '04, said, "That seems like a bad idea."

Indeed it was: Uncle Matt ate some of his wages. Then he ate all of his wages. Then he ate some of the stock. Then, he presumably said "Screw it," and ate all of the stock. Then the owner called up our mother to inform her of this, and she said, "Well, I could have told you that was gonna happen." I think the entire incident took about 48 hours to unfold.

I can only assume that a marshmallow test wasn't part of this fellow's hiring process. And unfortunately for him, he didn't ask a responsible adult who could have told him Uncle Matt was (obviously) going to eat all of the ice cream, for permission to give the kid an entire three-wheeled chest freezer hella jackpot full of ice cream. Then the guy had the gall to ask her to pay for it!

This is the point in the family lore when I pause to laugh until I can't breathe: this dude clearly had no idea what kind of family he was dealing with.

"So?" the kids asked me, "What did Grandma say then?"

"Well, kids, she told him to fuck off."

(It is surely telling that they didn't even bat an eye over this.)

"And what happened to Uncle Matt?"

"Nothing, really. I mean, he lost his Dickie Dee bicycle job for sure. Maybe he had a stomach ache for a little bit? Actually, you've seen him eat ice cream - probably not even that."   

In retrospect, that story probably doesn't have much of a moral to it, at least pertaining to Small Fry and his current monetary woes. Family lore is like families themselves in that way: sometimes the messages are mixed. I can only hope that the Fries are a little better at dealing with ice cream than their uncle (... and mother) are.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

What the Fork III

Me: Why, here is a fork that was placed slightly askew in the dishwasher rack. I will remove the now-clean fork from the dishwasher and place it in the cutlery drawer amongst its kin.


Me: [Sensible observation/action progression.]

Me: [Sensible observation/action progression.]

 Me: [Sensible observation/action progression.]