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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

What a Week... and It's Only Tuesday

I'm not really sure where to start with this one. Probably I should just give bullet points so that it doesn't take me all night to write things... so, here goes:

1) Yesterday, I had a mild case of food poisoning that left me feeling as though they were test driving the marketability of my stomach as a new front-loading washing machine. If you looked into it, you would have seen things going around and around!

2) Last week, I called our bank to stop an automatic transfer... it didn't happen. What did happen was that they tried to transfer the too high amount from my checking into my savings... except that I didn't have enough in checking to cover it, so they had to transfer from my savings into my checking, and then an additional amount from my credit line into my checking so that they could transfer it all back into my savings account. Confused? Yeah, me too. But in the end... $20 in overdraft protection fees... 20 minutes on the phone getting the charges reversed and making sure the auto transfer was really canceled... hearing the teller say that the phone bankers knew pretty much nothing... priceless.

3) So, after explaining to my favorite coffee server that I should have stayed in bed all week thanks to my lovely luck the past two days, she attempts to hand me my receipt... which the wind takes and blows 1/2 a block away before we realize what had happened and looked at eachother and busted up laughing.

Those are the highlights. To end the day...

The short person's babysitter called me to say that my daughter has been having nightmares again. When I pick her up, I ask short person if she had a nightmare. She tells me that she had a bad dream again about the horse.

Just to make sure she's... telling the truth isn't the way I want to put it, but she's 2, I want to make sure the dream really is the same... I ask her which one that is and she confirms it's the one where the horse gets on her back and hurts her (she wakes up SCREAMING from this dream).

I am curious so I ask her if she's friend's with the horse. No.
I then ask what color the horse is, and she says Black.
Further still, I ask... are you big like Mommy in the dream, or little. I'm little.

Since, to my knowledge, my daughter has never even SEEN a horse, I've ended this lovely day concerned that my daughter has had a previous life where she was trampled to death by a horse. I'm actually debating doing an Internet search for the year 2002-2003 to see if I can find anything like that, so clearly I've lost it.

Or, she somehow has seen Horse Whisperer.

Life can be really complicated sometimes.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

I Swear! Stuff like this only happens to ME!!!

Is it karma? Is it fate? Was I someone like Casanova in my former life and to make up for it, I have to spend this life as just the opposite? What is going on?!

Here I am. I let myself off work early as I am finally feeling caught up enough after the turmoil of the last three years to go home and not think "I should be doing this", or "I should be doing that". Spring is on the horizon and it's light out for just long enough to have a few minutes of quality time with my daughter at the park.

We get there and she wants to go down the big slide with me. No problem, I usually have fun doing that. We get to the top and there are a couple of water spots, but not enough to make me worry. I sit down and put the short person on my lap and away we go.

And at the bottom of the slide is a big, wet, cold puddle of rain.

Why? WHY? These things only happen to me. Looked like I'd pee'd my pants for the rest of the time there. I had to keep my butt hidden from view so that no one could see the dark spot.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

An Awkward Moment

Last night I took my nieces to a basketball game. Incidentally, it was a girl's basketball game which is unusual because I really don't like watching girl's play basketball as they lack the power and... machismo that men have. But also, I'm not a fan of the coach for the varsity girl's team. If nothing else, she demeans the girls. I hate that. I don't think you inspire change by asking them what the heck is wrong with them when they make a mistake. I think you just make them self-conscious and prone to more mistakes.

But that's just me.

Anyway, we're at the game and they run into someone that they know. It's the mom of one of the girls that they are familiar with from Church. It's obvious that they get along with this person, and I think that's great, but I didn't quite know how to take it when they offered to buy the girls (and me!) popcorn and drinks.

On one hand, it was very nice of them. On the other, I felt like the poverty stricken loser sitting there because I hadn't yet bought them something. Since they'd just eaten dinner, and we were planning to stay for the full of the second game, I figured it'd be nice a bit later.


Micki said yes, and Cait said yes to a bottle of water, and they were off. No chance to say, "Gee, I can get them that..." or much of anything else. Plus, I was in a bit of shock, I think.

You know, I think I'm just destined to be socially misfit. No wonder I want to write. It's the one job where the only people you have to talk to are fictional.

Friday, February 2, 2007

A Fire, An Electrical Shock, and... I’m Afraid to Use the Oven (Part 2)

So, finally, a couple minutes after the fire had gone out, my husband walks through the door.

"Did it go out?"

"Yeah. It took about five minutes, but it's out now."

My husband walked over and pulled the oven door open while I watched in fear of a backdraft, explosion, or some other odd occurrence for which I had nothing to guard against. He peered inside and looked up at me with a mixture of "I can't believe it's not butter" and disbelief.

"Well, no wonder it caught on fire." He said in a wry voice.

I looked back at him. "What? Was there something in it? Did something fall down?" I'm genuinely concerned that someone (I won't say names *ahem* the short person) has thrown something in the oven that caught on fire.

"Hon... we really need to clean this every once in awhile."

I rolled my eyes at him. "Yeah... yeah... yeah. I know."

"No. Really, Babe. We need to clean this."

Just as a side note here, I hold this strong belief that if you are a wife and you put out on a somewhat regular basis, you should not be required to clean things like ovens. Or floors. Or toilets really, but that one gets done because I have this thing against germs. I just don't think that you should have to do it. One day, I'm going to write Maxim and tell them that they should fund a study. It will consist of the "control group"-- women that do not have children, but are in a married relationship, "Group A"-- women that have children and are expected to do it all, and "Group B"-- women who have children and, for a period of six months, have been given a maid to do the chores. My guess is that the women that are not expected to clean will put out as much as those that do not have children. A woman is only given a certain amount of energy per day. If 50% of it is used at work, and then another 35% of it is used on the kids, that only leaves 15% energy left. Figure it out guys-- would you rather have that energy go toward cleaning ovens or having sex? Hire your wife a maid.*
The above comments are based entirely in opinion and have nothing to do with any type of anything. Spend money at your own risk. LOL

But I digress. The oven needed to be cleaned-- and since I have not been putting out as much as I used to pre-existense of the short person, I supposed at that moment that I was the intended victim that would have to clean the darn thing.

The last time I cleaned the oven was about 15 years ago. It wasn't in this house, and as far as I know this oven has never been cleaned, so it called for a tough chemical known as "Easy Off". I've used it before and the fumes made me sick. It wasn't something I wanted to use with the short person in the house, so we tried to put the cleaning off until the weekend.

Unfortunately, it has come to my attention that we apparently use the oven for dinner A LOT. Every time we'd discuss what we were going to eat, the oven would be the primary heating force. An oven we can't use until it's cleaned. This is bad because it forces us to go with the convenience of eating out, which is not good. Expensive and unhealthy being the biggest downfalls to that plan.

So, I pretty much went nuts. I decided Wednesday that I'd had enough and I was going to get my oven back! I was cleaning it and I'd just have to air out the house by opening all the doors and windows, sub-zero temperature be damned! That night, we went to work taking out the racks and attempting to take out the heating element, which, while we were able to loosen it, would not unplug from the oven. We left it loose so that it would be more easy to lift and clean under.

Thursday, the next night, I went home and got out the vacuum and started sucking up all the little charcoal pieces from our fire days before. All was going well. The oven was off and cold since we hadn't used it in days and it was cleaning up rather nicely with the vacuum.
I reached in, grabbed the heating element to raise it and vacuum more thoroughly under it, and...

Yelped! I couldn't drop it fast enough! I jumped up and plunged my hand into cold water and choked back tears of pain, while fighting with what can only be described as a dumbed up brain.
I was emotionally, intellectually, numb... and my hand felt like I had burned layers of skin. I expected blisters to arrive at any given second and feared taking my hand out of the water. Something just didn't make sense. The oven was off!

I grabbed the phone and called my husband. "I can't finish cleaning the oven. Something's wrong."

"What? What's wrong?"

"I just burned the heck out of my hand. It's going to blister."

"You burned it?"

I could hear the disbelief in his voice. "Yeah. It hurts. The heating element is hot, I don't know why. The oven's off."

"Are you sure you didn't get a shock?"

I've gotten shocked before. Once, when I was rearranging my office and moving my desk, I reached down to unplug a computer cord, not realizing that I'd tugged it half-way free. My fingers went too far down and I grabbed the metal conduits that were still plugged in to the outlet. Vibrating current zapped through my arm, and while I had that same dumbed up feeling in my head, the "heat" was nothing like the vibration of that day. My hand was burned.

"No... it didn't feel like a shock."

"Well, just watch the oven and make sure it doesn't..."

"Doesn't what? It's off."

"Yeah, I know..."

We decided to just let it be for the moment, figuring that when he loosened the screws it messed with something and there was heat going to the element. But, after hanging up the phone, my dumb and numb brain decided to just check once more. Maybe it was my imagination.

I reached in, on the other side from where I'd received my burn, and touched my fingers to the element. Strange, it felt cold. I rested them there for a few seconds and then yanked my hand away. My fingers had started to burn.

I left to go get a pizza.

After my husband got home, he did some investigating and decided that I had, in fact, gotten one heck of a jolt of electricity. His take is that he messed with the ground and it was delivering just enough juice to make my day a little more hella-horrible than usual. He turned off the breaker so that I could clean it.

The problem is that now, I'm scared of the darn thing! And really, it's not just an excuse to get out of cleaning it because I feel I put out enough to escape the chore.

They, those intelligent people of all knowingness, say that things happen in threes. So... first, there was a fire; then, there was an electrocution... God help me, I don't want to know what's next.

If you love me, send food. Pre-cooked would be best.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

A Fire, An Electrical Shock, and... I’m Afraid to Use the Oven (Part 1)

It happened Monday night. It was a cold day, not unlike most winter occasions, although the sun had chosen to shine and the descent cast the kitchen in a warm pink glow. I opened the oven to check for wayward pans put there in an attempt to create a cleaner kitchen. It was empty, so I turned the dial anticipating the heat it would bring to the cold room.

Dinner was going to be a simple affair, soup and biscuits, and I was getting ready to mix them up and create little flour clouds. The short person had contented herself with watching Hi-5 and I had on Law and Order SVU in the kitchen. It was the type of show that distracted you from the start and I paused in my biscuit preparation to make sure that I had a grasp on the beginning plot line.

I didn't get far.

I kept smelling an odd odor, like that of something getting too hot. I checked the stove top to make sure that a pan was not on the oven's exhaust pipe which is located on the back right burner. Nothing. I knew I had checked the oven and there was nothing inside, so I wandered around the house looking to see if something had gotten too close to one of the wall heaters. Again, nothing.

Returning to the kitchen, I decided to double-check the oven. Perhaps, I thought, I had missed something. Opening the oven door, I was greeted with momentary blackness as plumes of smoke burned their way through my nostrils, but soon after the orange glow of a fire steered it's way into my senses.

My oven was on fire!

Adrenaline pumped its way through my blood stream and I looked around the kitchen for something to put it out as it grew from the size of an apple to the size of a mixing bowl in diameter and became about a foot tall. We had gotten rid of the fire extinguisher, so that option was gone. I thought about a towel, but discarded that when I realized that it would catch fire before I could beat it out. Flour... I could get flour, and I should probably call someone!

911 came to mind, but since I know half the people on the Fire Department and they were all congregated for a meeting with the other half that I did not know I discarded the idea of dialing for 5 fire trucks for a fire the size of a basketball largely contained in my oven... I'd never live it down. My husband! He'd know what to do!

So, I turned off the oven, slammed the door shut, and ran into the bedroom to get my cell phone, assuring the short person that I would get her some juice in just a second as I breezed through the living room.

I made it to the office, found my purse, and fished through the contents for the phone, all the while thinking to myself that it was taking far too long to find the thing and the house was going to burn down while I was trying to call my husband. Finally, my hand closed around the smooth, cool surface of the phone and I pulled it free, flipping it open as I walked quickly back to the kitchen.

The fire was still the size of a mixing bowl and still contained in the oven.

"Hey, Baby... What's up?"

"Okay, the oven's on fire. What do I do? Do I throw flour on it?! What do I do? I need to know what to do!"

"The oven's on fire?"

"Yes!! WHAT DO I DO?!"

"What do you mean the oven's on fire? Where's the fire?"

I'm silently cursing at my husband as I explain that there is a fire in the oven. I turned it on, opened it, a lot of smoke came out, and now, it is on fire.

"Why would you throw flour on it?"

"Because that's what they say to do. Throw flour on it. So, do I?"

"Well... beat it with a towel."

"What? Honey, if I beat it with a towel, the towel will catch on fire and then we're in even bigger trouble. I don't want to beat it. Won't the flour work?"

"Well, did you turn the oven off?"

Sigh, "DUH! Yes, I turned it off."

"Well... did you shut the door?"

"Yes, the door is shut."

"Oh, well, then don't worry about it. It will go out. A fire needs oxygen to burn and if the door is shut it won't get oxygen."

Somewhere in my brain I adopted this as logical and accepted it. The door was shut. Okay. My hands were still shaking from the adrenaline as I asked where he was and how long before he would be home before hanging up the phone.

I set the phone on the counter and leaned back against it watching what was still a rather large fire burn in my oven. It will go out, I thought to myself. Okay. Go out. Out. We need outage, people!

Anytime now.


Short person started yelling at me for juice, so I turned my attention to that, found a cup and poured juice into it. I turned back to the oven. Nope. Still going. Found a lid. Screwed it on. Turned back. Still going. I brought the cup to her and walked back to the kitchen. The fire was down to the size of a baseball.

I decided to see if I could catch up to the plot of my show. My heart beating crazily as it received the adrenaline rush that already made its way through my arms and legs and left them shaking. Five minutes later the fire was out and I'd forgotten about dinner.