About three years ago when Fifty Shades Of Grey came out it was the the hottest thing in the Operating Room. It was hotter than the autoclave. The book was passed around in a brown paper bag according to a waiting list on the break room Fridge. About this time I was in Murphy N.C. which is about a hundred miles west of Hooterville. I was in a quaint artsy gift shop and I saw the actual book itself on the shelf. Back in Asheville women were fighting over used copies so I thought maybe I should bring it back and toss it to the piranhas in the lounge. While I was looking at it, an eighteen year old sales girl comes over and starts talking to me about it. Being fifty five years status-post adolescence and having maybe two molecules of testosterone in my body I can't believe this teen is describing the book to me. She actually had this glazed look on her face and I thought she was about to swoon. I put the book down and told her I think my friend is on a waiting list for it. I just remembered this when I saw this Dave Barry article.
I have never owned a mini-van and this Dodge Caravan hasn't changed my mind. After forty hours in it (ten hours of this with a screaming Giovanna) I was ready to stick a fork in my eye. The seats reminded me of public transportation. It did handle well and at 85 mph it didn't rattle or seem unsettled, but it was just butt uncomfortable. It was a rental so perhaps it was the Bowling-Shoe Edtion minus the big number eight on the back. It just didn't seem state of the art and it had that dated Obama Motors ambience to it. I shouldn't pass judgment on all mini-vans untill I drive a Honda or Toyota, but this one was just begging to be filled up with fast-food trash, soccer balls and dirty diapers. It did have a rear video camera that made me want to get on I-5 and drive backwards for an exit just for some excitement.
When the the temperature plummets to break hundred year records , we head north. Since Marianne's pipes were frozen on the third and fourth floor of her house, we were in a real pickle. You see, the baths and toilets are all up there. It's a sinking feeling when the furnace is constantly going and the house temperature is falling. It wasn't your usual cold snap, it was the Witch Of January come early. Ten degrees below zero and gale winds are a bit much even for that tropical paradise known as Western Pennsylvania.
I gave them an extra Kero Sun I had when we moved to a place more compatible with civilization. They had the Omni 105 which is the big brother to the Omni 15 we had in Utah and Maryland (23,000 BTUs vs 1,100 BTUs). After about 12 hours it warmed the house up like the Reptile Exhibit and the pipes finally thawed. It didn't help that the pipes ran along an exterior wall facing the wind. I sold my little Kero Sun when we moved to N.C. I should have kept it, because the hot water pipes on the water heater that's above the garage at our house froze. It would have taken nothing less that a kerosene heater to heat up a well ventilated attic at minus five degrees. So I turned up the house heat and and shut off the water and fled to the minus 15 degrees of Mercer County PA, knowing that the only severe winter weather plan in NC is to pray for sunshine. The government won"t mind if you freeze to death.
That smell of kerosene heat in the morning brought back more memories than a lasagna in the oven. I know people think they are dangerous and perhaps people are too stupid now to use them safely but for emergencies they can't be beat. Somehow we survived using them in the era prior to carbon monoxide detectors. I found a used Omni 15 on Ebay and feel like getting it just for sentimental reasons, or to have people say "what's that?" when they visit. I know one thing, not taking a shower for three days and having to carry a bucket of water up the stairs to flush the toilet is no way to live.
The Christmas Parade has been canceled because of rain. That means CP doesn't have to play her fiddle on the Feed and Seed float and I don't have to keep the coffee coming for the public.
Which is great because our kitchen sink started leaking and jobs like this are always easier when it's cold and rainy. I knew how to replace the drain, but I went to You-Tube just to see how easy it will be. Anyway, I had a half gallon of Plumbers Putty left over from installing the faucet and I thought all I needed was the special wrench. I went to Lowes and got the spanner for ten bucks. I noticed the wrench had a cutout to insert a socket wrench. It came to me that I could actually use it in its plastic package and then return it. Unfortunately, removing the old drain wasn't at all like the You-Tube video. First, I told CP I needed her for a minute to keep the drain from spinning while I removed the locking ring without removing the wrench from the package. I showed CP how to insert the plier handle into the drain and place the hammer handle through the slot for leverage. That's when we went off the You-Tube script.
Around here we measure DIY projects on the "Your Sister's @#%" scale. CP estimates how many times I will mumble "Your Sister's @#%" before we are done. I thought this job wouldn't even rise to that occasion. It seems that ten years of crud had sort of welded the locking ring to the drain. I tried WD-40, then I gave up on that and used a hammer and punch on the ring and got it to budge about a half inch. All this time CP is up top with the pliers and a stick trying to hold the drain from turning. At one point I think her feet were coming off the floor. That's when I heard her mumble "Your Sister's @#%." That's when I knew I was finally rubbing off on her.
I told CP I needed a torch to heat up the ring. Since I'm now living the dream of condo life I no longer have my propane torch. However, I did have Marianne's creme brulee butane torch she left here ten years ago. After about thirty seconds of torch the ring broke free. After all this I just couldn't put that corroded drain back in, so I went back to Lowes and bought a new one.
Without You-Tube who knows how many "YSA's" it would have taken. After thirty-two years CP has learned how to use my stress relieving mantras.
Gin Raisins have been recommended by one of my students for my crippling arthritis. This mountain cure consists of golden raisins soaked in gin for two weeks. One takes nine of these raisins a day and in a few weeks one should be doing back bends. Being that Obama has just filleted my health insurance I need to step up and take of myself. Besides, the 82 year old lady who recommended this home remedy seems pretty fit.
In North Carolina liquor is sold in state run stores called ABC Stores. I have seen these stores around, but thought they were an Office Supply chain. I thought they were the southern Piggly Wiggly version of Staples. So I asked CP where the nearest ABC store is and she told me it was about a mile from our house. We go there and the counter guy says "hello Carol " as we walk in. It seems that all the gourmet cooks have staked out a section of the store. The Cooking Channel has been the best thing to hit the liquor store business since the invention of corn liquor. I've been relatively sober since 1979 and I was amazed at the ambience and selections in this liquor boutique. I'm more familiar with the privately owned liquor store with the shotgun under the counter and the Rottweiler sleeping in the corner.
Well according to my friend, in a few weeks I should be ready to start yoga. In the meantime I have to look for my Snaffler so I can open my jar of Gin Raisins.