Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Marriage 201, Lecture 109: Annoying each other

SH: Do you try to avoid annoying me so that I won't annoy you?

Me: You are going to annoy me no matter what. I avoid it because I can take it so much better than you can.

SH: That's not true. There are all kinds of things I can't annoy you about.

Me: Like what?

SH: At least five times a day, I have to remember not to say "pepper" the way Billy Crystal* did.

Me: You have to remember that five times a day?

SH: Yes.

Me: That's ridiculous. Why would that occur to you five times a day?

SH: Because the topic of pepper comes up a lot: red pepper, green pepper, yellow pepper, pepper mill.

Me: And the first thing you think of is that stupid Billy Crystal thing?

SH: Yes. That's how my mind works.

Me: You need to be re-programmed.

* Billy Crystal annoys the heck out of me and he especially annoyed me in "When Harry Met Sally," or, "When Meg Ryan was still cute and what was she doing with someone as annoying as Billy Crystal?"

TMI #98

In the Health and Beauty aisle at Target, looking for Clairol #24 Clove.

Other woman looking for Clairol #whatever Champagne: I drank liquid radiation years ago.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Marriage 201, Lecture 47: The Man

SH: It's been getting worse with [the client he is handling while the regular engineer is in Japan.]


Me: That stinks. [Especially stinks because when SH is on a business trip and with customers all day, he spends all evening doing his email and taking care of regular business instead of asking his colleagues to cover for him.]

SH: I had four Oreos with milk before because of the stress. I was going to save the other two for tomorrow, but I have to eat them now.

Chats du jour: Underprivileged cats with no toys

Maybe we should have kept the expensive cat play thingy. Because these cats are obviously deprived. See how the lack of appropriate recreational facilities leads to violence?

Marriage 201, Lecture 482: Phi Beta Kappa

Me: Sweetie, would you like some oatmeal?

SH: I don't know! I just got up. Why do you always ask me such hard questions?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Marriage 201, Lecture 312: More than I wanted to know

SH: Sometimes it's amazing the length of hair that can come out of the corners of my nose.

Marriage 201, Lecture 834: Working for a living, or, Why I am a gold-digger

What follows is a dramatization of an actual, 15-minute conversation. The boring/redundant (of which there were many) parts have been eliminated.

Me: Maybe I should get a job.

SH: No!!!!

Me: Why not? You're tired of working and if I made money, there wouldn't be so much pressure on you.

SH: Because if you get a job, then I'll never have a normal life again. You'll want to get up early to exercise before work and that means you'll want to be in bed by 9:00 and we'll never see each other and I won't get enough sleep.

Me: Even if I didn't exercise before work, I would still have to be up by 6:30 to get to work by 8:00.

SH: And you'd be making noise, taking a shower and making coffee and I wouldn't be able to go back to sleep. It would be horrible. [Add lots and lots of SH DRAMA here.]

Me: Calm down. I haven't even looked at job ads, much less applied. This is not a real issue.

SH: I would never have a normal life again. And we'd have to hire a housekeeper and you wouldn't like how she cleans. This is horrible! [More DRAMA]

Me: Chill!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Marriage 201, Lecture 290: Hygiene, or, Yes I work from home why do you ask?

SH: It takes a lot longer to get clean when you haven't showered for three days.

* See related post: Why are there only three pairs of boxers in the laundry that I do once a week?

Chats du jour: Stuck

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Marriage 201, Lecture 763: If it looks like a duck

Jackie, the woman in this story, is the same one who told SH she would sit in the bubble bath and think about his singing. She is one of his bar friends and does not seem to get that he is married, even though always wears his ring (I don't even do that -- I don't like rings) and is very clear that he is just out to sing, not to cruise.

SH: Jackie was at the bar on Thursday. Apparently, she got the idea I'm a conservative. [It is to laugh. I've been working on bringing SH over, but he is stubborn.]

At Droitwich, a small town in England where we stopped for salad dressing and discovered that it was an old Roman salt-mining/refining town.

Me: How on earth would she ever think that?

SH: I don't know. Anyhow, she told me she listens to Mark Belling [local conservative radio talk guy]. He is giving a talk about a cruise he's running and she asked if I wanted to go with her.

Me: Oh good grief.

SH: I told her I'm not a conservative but my wife is and that you would be coming along.

Me: Now do you believe me she was hitting on you when she said that stuff about the bathtub?

SH: I guess so.

Chats du jour: Goodbye

My friend from the gym, whom I shall not identify, just in case she does not wish to be named here, sent the obituary her daughter wrote about her cat:

Trinidad, beloved feline of Janna, passed suddenly and quickly on Thursday, September 24, 2009. First bestowed to Naomi. Reluctant housemate of Hannah, Audrey, Jennifer, Adam, while solely enchanted by Emily. Accomplished hunter of birds, mice, rabbits, cicadas, THE Easter bunny, moths and bats. Even at 12, or 13 or however old he was.

Archrival of Oreo, Memphis, Chester, Carl and other assorted neighborhood cats. Reformed troublemaker and lover to Zulu (Meghan). Friend to Buster Kitten, Lucy, Tigger, GracieCat and begrudgingly, Sanuk. Active neighborhood scout and welcome wagon. Understated companion, intuitive comforter and general good company.

Hobbies included: hunting, naps, licking yogurt containers, catting-out in raspberry patches, tuna water, trips to the garden, scamming wet cat food from strangers, chasing butterflies, feathers-on-a-stick, laps,marbles, paper bags. Leaves behind extremely distraught Janna, somewhat oblivious Sanuk, and Eric, who because of Trinidad, actually likes cats now.

If only he were wearing the TriniCam® now... Rest in Peace, Good Friend.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Marriage 102, Lecture 472: High finance, or, Control Freakout

In Bakewell, where we got Bakewell pudding but did not expense it.

After I have completed SH's expense report for our trip to England and Germany, with the appropriate calculations made on the receipts so just his expenses were noted:

SH: Oh no!

Me: What?

SH: You wrote on the receipts!

Me: Yeah. Some of those items were just for me. Your company shouldn't be charged for them.

SH: But that's not how I would have done it! You shouldn't write on the receipt!

Me: OK. I'll do it differently next time.

SH: But it's not right!

Me: Well, if your T&E people refuse to pay those charges and call you because they can't understand what I meant [with a circled "13.40" on the bottom of the receipt to compare to the register total of 19.70], then you can tell them that your ex-wife was trying to help but she was just too dumb to do it right but you have taken care of the problem and divorced her.

Chats du jour: This will end in tears

Wisconsin 101: At the hardware store

wAs I am waiting to pick up my newly-sharpened knives:

Clerk: Yah, I been so doggone busy...

Customer: So you play some darts den?

Clerk: Yah, we played last night. Dat Barney, he never played before but boy.

Customer: What happened?

Clerk: Oh, de first time he trows, he gets a bullseye!

Customer: But da next one, it goes to da ceiling, right?

Clerk: Nope! He got dat trow where ya put one foot ahead of ya, ya know, and he kept making dose good shots. Never played before.

Note: No Wisconsinites were harmed in the writing of this post. No mocking is intended. Dese guys remind me of my uncles and dad (my parents are from Wisconsin) and that's all good.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Not a cougar

Is this dress too ongepatcheket? I am watching it on eBay. I love me some animal prints, but I don't think I am the type to carry this off. Especially after searching for a photo of the dress that would upload (eBay was not cooperating). Apparently, this dress is one of the favorites of a cross-dresser who writes about his cross dressing. In just a brief scan of his blog, I learned answers to some questions I have had about cross dressers and all I can say is ouch on their behalf.

Not that I spend a lot of time wondering about this, but I am a person of wide and varied interests and I am always especially interested in the practical details of life if you know what I mean. How do the female astronauts pee? Doesn't everyone want to know this and this sort of thing?

I remember the first time out on Westheimer in Houston when I was a college freshman, watching all these gorgeous, dolled-up women strolling down the sidewalk and being informed that these were not women at all. Quite annoying, actually. Must there be men who are better dressed, better made up and better-looking women than I am?

Photo source: I couldn't copy the eBay photo, so I got it from here:

Marriage 201, Lecture 324: In sickness and in health

Me: I think I might be getting sick.

SH: WHAT?!!!!

Me: Calm down.

SH: But when did you know this?

Me: I dunno. I noticed some congestion last night and I've been sneezing today.

SH: Why didn't you tell me? I KISSED YOU! I COULD GET SICK!

Me: Whatever.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Marriage 201, Lecture 98: Waiting for The Engineer

SH: You're not ready!

Me: I wasn't sure if we were going.

SH: But I said we were going.

Me: At 4:45, you said you wanted to go at 5:15. It's 5:28.

SH: I didn't say we weren't going.

Me: When you weren't down at 5:15, I assumed your plans had changed.

SH: You should have asked! When I'm late, I assume the waiting party is ready and waiting for me.

Me: Nope. I'm not getting ready unless I'm sure we're going.

SH: But now I have to wait for you to get ready.

Me: That's the idea.

Chats du jour: A day at the spa, part deux

Yes, I give her fresh water once a day. In two locations. Why do you ask?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

All about moi

Both Juanderlust, the artist formerly known as Harpo, and BethanyC have tagged me for this thingy. They each said really nice things about me that made me blush. Yes. I am capable of blushing and even of shame.

I have been reading Bethany's blog since we were both journalspace babes years ago -- long before journalspace LOST FOUR YEARS OF BLOGGING but we're not bitter. Fortunately, Bethany had already met fellow journalspace blogger Fin and had time to agree to marry him before the LFYOB.

I love Bethany's photos of her traipses through Nature. All the good parts of hiking and canoeing without any of the work or mosquitoes or lack of proper toilet facilities. And she has a very cute cat, Milton. It is also through Bethany that I met Holly, who has become an in-person friend.

Juanderlust is my former sweetie. I dated him before I met SH. OK, there was Gomez, the Moroccan guy who came in between Juanderlust and SH who turned out to be a little bit odd but he was filthy rich with not one but two Jaguars (the car, not the cat) and what can I say? It was exotic and I let my head be turned by glitter. We will get to the Gomez series on my Best of CF blog before too long. But Juanderlust is still a friend and my family still asks about him with fondness.

Back to the tag. I am supposed to list seven things I like to do by myself. I am also supposed to pass this award on to other bloggers, but honestly, there are so many blogs I enjoy that it is hard to pick just a few. Read anyone on my sidebar -- those are all friends -- or anyone who comments here. All worth reading.

My seven solo satisfiers:

1. I prefer to exercise alone. Mostly because this is when I listen to my right-wing bitter clinger radio, which SH does not want to hear because if he listens to Rush, his dad will accuse him of being stupid because only a stupid person would listen to that and SH's dad is right on everything. I also prefer to exercise alone because I am lazy and running with other people means I can't stop and amble whenever I feel like it. The pressure is too great. I am too competitive. When SH and I first met, he wanted to go running with me, but even though his exercise consists solely of walking down to the basement to get the Pringles he has hidden from himself, he can outrun me.

2. I prefer to wash and put away the dishes alone. I don't see a problem with putting away a plate that still has water on it, but SH freaks out and I don't need the drama. I've been putting dishes away like that for 25 years and have yet to see mold growing in my cabinets. It's OK, sweetie. They dry even in the cupboard.

3. I don't mind watching movies alone, although it's usually more fun with SH, even though he made me go to the new Quentin Tarantino movie on Sunday and I have to say that his work is just not to my taste. I accept violence as a part of war, but I don't want to see it. Does that make me a hypocrite? Oh well. When we watch movies at home, I try to give SH a three-minute head start with the remote so he can go through every single setup option and make sure he has optimized everything because heaven forbid we have inferior TV speaker sound instead of stereo sound.

4. I don't mind flying alone because it's one of the only times when I don't feel guilty for reading for three straight hours. If I am at home, there are always chores to be done. Plus SH works so hard and so many long hours I feel like I should be doing work, too, instead of sitting on the bed reading the new Pat Conroy novel.

5. I blog alone and I make up stuff about SH. If he is looking over my shoulder, he nags me about being accurate. Engineers.

6. After so many years of spinsterhood, it is a little difficult to get used to sharing a bed with someone. I sleep better when SH is not in bed with me but he still needs to be in the house. If he is out of town, I have a hard time sleeping, which I do not get at all because I was alone for over 20 years of my adult life.

7. I shower alone. I used to think it was sexy to shower with someone else, but now I just see SH as someone taking up the hot water while I shiver in the corner.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Marriage 102, Lecture 453: How to be a gold-digger

Photos of the flour mill we visited in the Peak District. It's still a working mill, although they make only small batches of specialty flours. SH and I love to look at machinery and between the two of us, with his being an engineer who remembers every bit of trivia he reads and with my being a process-improvement person who took all the manufacturing course she could in grad school because MAKING THINGS is the fun part of business, we can pretty much figure out what's going on. But there was another guy -- a railway engineer -- touring the mill at the same time we were and he was explaining how everything worked to us. Even though we hadn't asked. Even though we were politely non-committal every time he said something. Once he informed me that the beer in Milwaukee was inferior, though, I decided it was time to avoid him. Did I say ugly things about his country to his face? No I did not. Insulting Wisconsin beer was uncalled for.

SH: What's this?!

Me: What?

SH: You put TWO STAMPS on this letter.

Me: Yeah. It's going to England.

SH: Oh.

SH: But is that the postage to England?

Me: It's about that.

SH: You didn't check?

Me: No.

SH: Why not?

Me: Because it's about that.

SH: But! But you should check and get the exact amount! I have other stamps upstairs, you know.

Because it's Friday

and fish is what we do, which is why we will be going to this movie.

As I said last February (and April):

Remember I told you how everyone, and I mean everyone here has a Friday fish fry?


It's because fish fries are What is Done on Friday.

Apparently, mayonnaise and bacon are also What is Done in Milwaukee. SH and I went to a Vietnamese place last week for some soup and a sandwich. In San Francisco, a Vietnamese sandwich consists of an oven-fresh baguette, roasted pork, pickled carrots, jalapenos and cilantro. It is yummy.

In Milwaukee, a Vietnamese sandwich has all those ingredients plus mayonnaise and bacon.

Which is probably what leads to the Milwaukee roll:


Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Chats du jour: The eve of destruction, or, what's the lifespan of a cat?

Items destroyed yesterday while we were gone playing tennis (which was not very long because 1) we were tired from being up late with Dr J, who was in town and stayed with us and took us out to supper and who is so interesting and nice that it's difficult to tear away from the conversation and 2) we are really, really bad tennis players):

1. Butter dish, pushed off counter in an attempt to get to the one tablespoon of butter inside. Dish broken after falling butter-side down, which meant cats were thwarted in their attempt to get more dairy in their diet.

Items destroyed while we were at the play and then out to eat at the Lakefront Bistro, where we went with Cheeseguy and Doc last year on their quest to eat at every restaurant nominated for the James Beard Midwest Chef award (Lakefront's chef won) and where we got all kinds of special treatment because CG and Doc had mentioned in their reservation that they were coming all the way from Minneapolis just to eat at the Bistro. The Bistro is where we had considered having our wedding supper last year, but then it didn't work out*, but we still had a wonderful meal at Bayou.

1. Leftover Hilton chocolates from England that were minding their own business in a little paper box sitting next to the onions on the counter. These cats don't pay any rent or buy the food around here; I don't know what makes them think they deserve free chocolate.

2. One of the tomatoes from my garden. Yes, our cats are omnivores. Yes, I have three dozen tomatoes sitting out because I cannot give them away. I have asked. My neighbors, they do not want tomatoes. Do I start leaving them on doorsteps in the dead of night?

* In the Stories Not Safe to Post Yet category.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Marriage 102, Lecture 16: Le peu

SH: Don't come by here.

Me: OK.

SH: You might want to leave the room.

Me: Umm.

SH: I farted.

Me: So I gathered.

SH: I don't know what the propagation distance of this fart is. I can't be responsible. You've been warned.

Marriage 101, Lecture 1: One down, 49 to go

I still wear my wedding dress. Well, when it's warm enough to wear something sleeveless. Which is rare.

A year ago today, SH and I married. It was about darn time as far as my grandmother was concerned. She used to write me letters and tell me about so and so down the street who had married late but had married a widower who needed help raising his small children and I had considered that path? She was very tall.

I would give you a link to my wedding post, but journalspace, four years, blah blah blah. Someday, I will give you the full, uncensored version of the Wedding Drama, but it's not safe yet.

SH's stepdaughter M being forced to wash the kitchen floor, probably by her mean step-step-mother.

The traditional post-wedding karaoke with SH, Dr J, my mom and my brother.

Quackers et al

The essence of his conversation – and I heard it all because of course he was not speaking in a normal tone of voice but instead in the cellphone voice, which assumes that the cellphone does not serve to actually transmit the voice via the miracle of electronics but that the speaker must shout loudly enough to be heard without the cellphone – was that he had been in Denver for a Big Deal but it was Personal so he didn’t have his cellphone last night. Sorry, man.

More here.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Chats du jour: Trying to get comfortable

What will the neighbors say?

Our nice next-door neighbors, the ones who watered my garden and picked up and threw away the rotting pears in the back yard and who came over to the house not once but twice when the cat-feeder was here to make sure it wasn't criminals breaking in and stealing SH's phone bills from 1997 and who picked the ripe tomatoes last Saturday and left them in the kitchen so we would have some are trying to sell their house.

I don't want them to move. I want them to stay. A, I like them and B, who knows what we would get instead? When my nice neighbors in Memphis couldn't sell their house, they rented it to a bunch of tattooed, pierced, skateboarders. There's nothing wrong with tattooed, pierced skateboarders but you do not want them next door when all they do is sit on the porch and smoke with all their tattooed, pierced, skateboarding friends and take the occasional break to skateboard on your street. This is not good for property values, plus they are noisy.

Julia Claire, my former neighbor, and her unlicensed sidewalk enterprise.

So far, they have had no luck, but this afternoon, when I was out watering my great-grandmother's roses that I dug up from my aunt's garden and transplanted into mine as a defense system because if these things take off, nothing will get past their thorns, a woman with one of those nasty, yappy dogs with her came up and started asking me questions about R and E's house. R and E were not at home because they, unlike me, are productive, contributing members of society. I am a gold-digging leech who spends her husband's hard-earned money on the Good Socks and lusts after $300 purses.

Anyhow. This woman wants to know how much the house costs. I don't know. I don't care. We have a conversation something like this:

Woman: We're just not sure about the neighborhood.

I think that's odd, because I did a ton of research before we bought our house and this is a neighborhood with great schools, high owner occupancy, and houses that hold their value.

Me: I like living here.

Woman: Yes, but we're concerned about the direction the neighborhood is taking, if you know what I mean.

No. I don't know what she means. The neighborhood has nice people in it who have jobs and who keep their grass cut. What else does she want?

Me: I think it's fine.

[What I should have said: What do you mean, "the direction the neighborhood is taking?"]

Woman: Blah blah blah Schools [this is one of the better school districts in the area], blah blah blah Do they have air conditioning? [in WISCONSIN? She cares about A/C in WISCONSIN?] blah blah blah Oh that yard is so small.

Me: It's a nice house. Stone exterior. Who wants a big yard? It's just more to cut.

[What I should have said: Yep. Crappy schools. No A/C. Tiny, nasty yard. You don't want to live here. Because I don't want you and your loud, obnoxious dog as neighbors.]

I need to cast a hex on her.

Marriage 101, Lecture 856: Politics, schmolitics

SH: I hate that guy.

Me: Why?

SH: Because he's always so sure he's right.

Me: You're sure you're right.

SH: But I have more reasons to be sure I'm right. I'm a liberal.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Marriage 101, Lecture 103: It's a chick thing

SH: Why are you eating that [Peanut-Butter Cap'n Crunch straight from the box]?

Me: Because.

SH: But I thought you said you feel fat and your underwear is too tight and you need to cut back.

Me: That's why.

Marriage 101, Lecture 185: In the bag

The coveted purse.

Me: I want this purse.

SH: But you have a purse.

Me: I know. But I want this one.

SH: You have two purses!

The current purses.

Me: I know. I want this one.

SH: I thought these Good Purses were supposed to last seven or eight years.

Me: Yes, but I want this one.

SH: After all your sister and I went through* to get you the one you have and you want a new one?

Me: Yes. I heart this purse.

SH: Am I supposed to get it for you for Christmas?

Me: No! It's way too expensive.

* See old post, "The Purse of the Magi," or, "Bidding Against Each Other on eBay for CF's Christmas present." Oh wait. You can't. BECAUSE JOURNALSPACE LOST FOUR YEARS OF BLOGGING BUT I'M NOT BITTER.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Marriage 101, Lecture 420: Tennis

SH: Let's play an actual game.

Me: I don't want to play a game. I just want to hit the ball.

SH: But we need to learn to play actual games.

Me: I don't want to.

SH: I thought you were competitive.

Me: Yeah. When I can win.

Marriage 101, Lecture 639: The Sorting of the Mail

Any time we are gone for more than a few days, we have the post office hold the mail and then deliver it all in one big bunch, which usually works out well for us except for the time that the PO sent back a $10,000 check that Imelda, SH's ex, had mailed him. It was the California tax refund that needed his signature to be cashed because they were not divorced yet*. Yes. The mailman ignored the hold order and returned the check to Imelda, who had taken several months to put it in the mail in the first place, so I was calling all over creation (have you ever tried to get someone from the PO on the phone?) trying to intercept the letter before it was re-delivered to her because I was worried that once it was in her hands again, it would never see the light of day. Imelda, bless her heart, is apparently not the most organized of persons. That was drama. I am not a fan of drama. Especially when it involves money.

But anyway. We had our mail held for three weeks this time. Monday when I returned from the gym, the mailman had been in our neighborhood but I did not see the big box of mail. I asked SH where it was.

SH: I hid it.

Me: Why?

SH: Because I don't want you to throw any of it away.

Let me explain something about SH in case you are a new reader of this blog or have not met him in person and therefore already know what he is like.

There is no piece of mail or paper too insignificant to keep.

Sorting the mail is a power struggle. Sorting the mail is our Vietnam. I am the US, he is the Soviet Union.

But I do not throw his stuff away.

I might sort it into piles:

1. Stupid ads for things we don't need to buy
2. People (charities) who want money from us and I don't want to give it to them
3. Bills

But I do not throw it away. Even though I want to. Even though I think I should have the authority to discard the expired Boston Store ad.

The church in Bakewell.

When I sort my own mail into these categories, it's easy to decide what to do with them. In an action that brings tears to my beloved's eyes, Categories 1 and 2 get tossed without even being opened.

But SH?

Noooo! We have to open them! What if it's important?

Honey. I can tell you that the "final notice!" letter from the World Wildlife Fund? Not important. Honest. What are they going to do if we don't open it? Stop letting you donate?

But he is getting better (ie, doing things more my way). Mail does not accumulate in a pile behind the couch any more and he no longer has the Leaning Tower of Visa. So this time, once he told me where the mail was, was not so painful. I just threw away everything with my name on it and sorted his into piles, some of which he has already discarded. He knows that organized men are HOT.

* That is correct. SH and I were together before his divorce was final, but I am not the Other Woman. He filed three years before he met me but things dragged.

Chats du jour: Dainty eater

Shirley's latest conquest: the duct tape on the big TV box.

What Shirley "Oh no I couldn't possibly eat another bite of kibble" the Cat has killed on the counter or in the sink, dragged to the floor, and started eating in the past 36 hours:

1. Cantaloupe
2. The chocolate-chip coffee shortbread cookie* SH got out to go with his Never Enough Chocolate frozen custard** that he had left on the counter to thaw but covered because he knows Shirley is a food-stealing, earbud-eating stinker.
3. The dishwasher thingy with a sponge on the end and a handle that fills with detergent.

* This is the coffee cookie recipe from The Joy of Cooking and it is awesome. It started me on my love affair with coffee last year. Now I am a two cup a day drinker. Perhaps I can get used to anything if it has enough sugar and fat mixed in. Is there such a thing as a merlot mocha with whipped cream?

** Yeah, I know we're supposed to be Cutting Back a Little because our pants are too tight (although winter is coming, so we need to keep a little layer on so we don't have to turn the heat so high), but SH claims that the rules don't apply when 1) he has had a hard day at work, 2) he has had a stressful phone call with his parents or 3) he has to call his ex-wife. Yesterday was a triple whammy.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How to can tomatoes

1. Save tomatoes from your one thriving tomato plant (note to self: putting tomato plants in pots on the front porch does not yield tomatoes) in the freezer until you have enough to can. Use up valuable freezer space for tomatoes (and pears and zucchini) instead of your uncle's bratwurst, which is far superior to the bratwurst you had in Munich, although perhaps the brats at the train station are not a representative sampling of all German brats, and which is harder to get than canned tomatoes.

2. Wash the canning jars you got on Craigslist in the dishwasher, which you are not sure how to use as you are a wash the dishes by hand person because a dishwasher is wasteful for just two persons who would run out of dishes and have to eat straight out of the Tupperware container before the dishwasher would be full. Not that there's anything wrong with eating straight out of the container, SH. Stop the dishwasher in mid-cycle because it is taking too darn long and it's already gone through the hot, soapy, sterilize the jars so we don't get botulism part.

3. Stuff the jars with the thawed tomatoes. Boil the tomato liquid that came out when the tomatoes thawed (See: Biology 101, water expansion upon freezing, bursting cells, etc, etc). Watch pot boil over and spew red liquid onto the stovetop at the exact moment that husband, who is a tiny, tiny bit CDO and although is a hoarder is a very neat, tidy, edges squared hoarder, comes into the kitchen. Roll eyes as husband says, "You're making a mess! Why are you making this mess?" and tell him to go away, you are handling this.

4. Boil the water for the water bath. Gallons of water. Boiling. On the one day that it reaches 86 degrees and I'm certainly not complaining about that in Milwaukee. Sweat. Sweat some more.

5. After pouring the boiling tomato juice into the jars and only getting some of it onto the counter because you didn't want to buy the wide-mouthed funnel because you are so cheap even though you are a gold-digger, put the tomatoes in the water bath with the little jar holder thingy that you got at the hardware store for $9.90 but you had a coupon for $5 so it was OK, although you now discover that you could have gotten it on for half the price and used the coupon for something else. Wonder what the point of the jar holder thing is because it doesn't seem too stable as it grips the heavy, hot jars. Realize it's because you were lifting with the wrong end. Obviously, you are not smart enough to be a good gold-digger.

6. Boil jars for 45 minutes. Remove from kettle. Watch in satisfaction as lids pop, meaning the seal is good.

7. Notice that there is a lot of airspace in the jar. Hmmmm. That can't be good. Call Jeanine the Jam Lady who taught your canning class. Bad news. You have to re-do the tomatoes.

8. Repeat above steps the next morning but with additional water.

9. Do the math. $78 or so for the manure, sand, and peat moss that went into the garden. $25 for the rabbit fence. $15 for six tomato seedlings. $20 for jars and canning equipment. Ten cents for the overdue fine for "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" that you didn't read while you were canning. Hours and hours of digging up the yard for the garden, a few hours canning. All for five quarts of canned tomatoes, a product one can buy for under $2/can at the Pick and Save.

Rocky Mountain high

I told Tom that one’s perception of socialism has a lot to do with whether one thinks he would be one of those from whom property was stolen or one to whom the property was given.

More here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Marriage 101, Lecture 566: Back on the straight and narrow

SH: I don't think I should have frozen custard.

Me: OK.

SH: My pants are too tight.

Me: You're still sexy to me.

SH: I'll have another beer instead. That will be my dessert.

Where am I going? How should I know?

Boy, was I wrong. It makes a difference to be on windy mountain roads where you can’t go 65. It also makes a difference if you take the wrong road at an intersection. I guess that technically I as navigator deserve the blame for that one, but the state of Colorado (and the Enterprise map people) were really not doing their job. It’s not like the map had the road numbers marked and it’s not like the state had signs at the forks in the road announcing where the east fork and the west fork would take you, respectively.

Hmm. Maybe I am the problem, not the map. Read the rest of the story of my trip to Colorado with Harpo here.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

More Germany photos

I promise to quit posting photos soon. But it's wonderful to see the photos on my home computer with its great resolution and to be able to upload so easily.