Posted by: jeanne | September 1, 2010

last minute sucks

tuesday.  i leave thursday.  the day looks easy enough on paper – go up to the middle eastern restaurant where jim’s paintings are being hung to have lunch with several people at 1; on the way back, stop by walmart for diabetic socks, cream (i have to leave jim with a half gallon of chocolate ice cream), and cat food, then by the bank to check my debit card (right account?) and stuff money in, then to the healthfood store for vitamins for my sister, and then home, where some neighbors are scheduled to come over and help us eat freezer surprise.  an easy day.

except for all sorts of little shit went awry.  first, my friends who are preceding me to ireland called to ask for something from the healthfood store.  which meant leaving half an hour earlier than planned.  okay.

so i made bread dough and stuck it in the fridge for the first rising.  but rising times vary every time i make bread (which is daily right now as i make a stash for jim in the freezer), so i don’t know if ‘risen’ will be just barely double or running over the sides of the bowl, so i don’t know if it will actually rise while in the fridge, or just sit there.

we left and went to the health food store, and it took me some time to find what i needed for the three of us (me, sis, friend), and four bottles of something cost fifty bucks damn.  but we figured we were fine on time because we’d left half an hour early.

and then the trucklet wouldn’t start.  click then nothing, beepbeep then bip…..bip.  so out i pop to have a look under the hood.  corrosion.  i don’t have any vinegar and /or baking soda to hand (not sure which one to use), but i do have coffee with half milk in a travel cup, so i splash a little on the terminals.  and i’m pretty pleased with the results, because it curdles the milk right away and starts creeping along the top of the battery.  grabbing a paper napkin off the floor of the trucklet, i mop the coffee off the battery, and find that battery acid / coffee acid turns paper back into pulp very effectively.  i try to resist wiping my hands on my jeans, but since they’re ratty jeans (the thrift store visit is tomorrow) i guess i don’t be very careful.

so, into the store to ask if any of the employees have cables (no, hey, i walk to work, man), then out into the parking  lot to ask the customers.  i walk up to a joker and ask if he’s got cables, and he wants to know if i want cables or a boost (and i don’t really understand boost because the term i use is jump) and then when i explain that i want cables and i guess a battery he wants to know if i want him to take his battery out of his car, and that’s when i see some guy that jim has flagged down approaching the hood of our trucklet with a  portable charger thingie.

so the joker and i walk up to the car, and then some other customer comes by, and they all agree that while coffee is an inspiration, coca-cola is your only man for cleaning shit off a battery.  so the guy jim flagged down pours his coke over the terminals, and they fuzz up, and all the guys lean in for a closer look.  the guy hooks up the charger thingie and turns a switch, and jim cranks it up and it goes vrooom.  okay it goes putt.  and i’m thanking people and making jim let me drive and wondering how much time we’ve got until we’re late to a restaurant that’s usually 40 minutes away.

we get out into traffic and decide which way to go toward which highway, and we’re most of the way to the interchange when i remember that i’ve left the price sheets for jim’s paintings at home.  which is our particular reason to be going up to the restaurant for lunch (which we would otherwise never sit down to because we have an equally nourishing and maybe not quite as yummy meal waiting for us at home for fucking free).  so we divert down the highway back to the house, and i rush in to get the printouts and discover it’s only the time we would have left if we hadn’t done the health food run first.

okay.  it could have been horrible, but it was fun, and there was no loss.

so we get to the restaurant, and we’re there half an hour before anyone else shows up.  and then they trickle in, and it’s one friend i used to work with in corporate america meeting these other friends who are very much unlike most people you know.  my corporate friend seems a little overwhelmed, but she’s enjoying herself, while my other friends are just being themselves, talking about sex and drugs and rock & roll at the table in loud, uproarious voices.  and i’m in the middle, egging everyone on.  and jim’s next to me, silently eating and watching the whole thing.

it could have been horrible, but it was fun, and not only did they trade numbers, but my shy friend only pretends to be virginal.  i’ve always wanted to draw her out, anyway.

the car didn’t start after lunch, again, so my friend with the cables stepped in and i got another hug and insisted on driving.  the plan was simple – jim would stay in the car and keep it running at walmart, we could go to the pet store in the complex and i would stay in the car while he got the cat food, i would stay in the car at the bank, and he would stay in the car at the grocery store, and then we would shut it off in front of the house and call his son, miracle michael, to come over and make it better.

it could have been horrible, but you get the point.

we get home, and a peripatetic friend is on the porch waiting for us to get home and offer him some water.  and he spends the entire afternoon, what’s left of it, talking to his sister on his cellphone, loudly, from various positions on our property – the porch swing, pacing the front yard, sitting on the wheel well in the bed of the trucklet.  when his cellphone died, he knocked on the screen door and asked if i would plug in the charger.  i got him more water, too.  he was in and out a bunch, and finally left when his phone was recharged, only to come back a few minutes later looking for the charger, which was still attached to the phone.

a few minutes later jim asks me what i did with his car keys, because i never game them back to him.  now, i lose things all the damned time these days, but i could trace my path with the keys from the car to the front door and beyond, so i figured the fairies had them, and kept doddering around the house doing things.  but it bothered me, and jim acted a little snippy at my misplacing them so predictably, so i kept going around looking in the usual places.  i checked the trash.  i looked in the butter keeper.  i checked the bed and the bathroom dresser and the front porch, but no, i unlocked the door and went in with them in my hand.  i checked the front door lock.

finally i asked him if maybe he didn’t have them in his pocket and lo, the fairies had returned them directly to him.

it’s the same principle as losing the charger.  it’s just the day that’s in it.

then i got the bread out of the fridge, but it hadn’t risen, like it was supposed to.  it was asleep.  i left it on the counter to come to room temperature, and then stuck it in the pilot-lit oven to rise, and when it got to be well after 7 and jim was tired and pooped and wanting to lie down but the dogs wouldn’t let him (barking at the mail person who was very late getting by, no doubt having the same kind of day we’d had), i turned on the oven and set the timer for 35 minutes.  jim got up because he wasn’t let sleep, sat in the recliner and read the one and only newspaper or magazine we get here at the house while i heated the freezer surprise and waited on the bread.  our guests were going to bring salad.

the bread came out, rather darker than i like but oh well,  it got to be after 8, which is about bedtime for us old folks.  i finally called our guests, only to find out they’d completely forgotten about dinner.  but one of them hadn’t eaten, so she came over and helped us eat freezer surprise.

freezer surprize
in a big pot, assemble all the cubes of cilantro, marinara, and plain tomato paste from the freezer, add in the stems of shiitake i tend to save (whenever i buy fresh mushrooms) wrapped in a sock, put in all the garlic taken out of the fridge door, some of the ginger, the half onion from the fridge door and one from the basket, and the garlic butter that got fridge flavors because i never covered it after the last dinner party.  simmer / saute until well blended and the fridge and freezer water has boiled off.  take the sock o’mushrooms out and squeeze thoroughly, rinse well and toss the rinse water into the pot.  at this point you can let it cool and meld a bit, if desired.  every bit of melding helps with freezer surprise.
then open a can of beans and add that in, toss in that small jar of leftover wine that was in the fridge door, add canned tomatos.  if the parmesan has molded all the better, toss it in too.  take all the meat that was frozen and toss all the precooked meat (venison barbeque, pork barbeque) into the pot, and saute in a frypan all the uncooked meat (third-of-a-pounds of lamb and bison) before adding it to the pot.  let simmer covered for a long time, then season to taste and put in the fridge overnight (if your fridge is working again by that time), and eat the next night with plenty of something to soak up the juices (either fresh bread or rice).  makes great leftovers, but you’d be a fool to freeze it.

not only did our neighbor and friend eat a bunch of freezer surprise with us, she graciously offered to take some home, and i managed to fit the whole rest of the pot into a container.  i walked her home to make sure it got there.  it was another surprising event, this dinner, which could have turned out horribly…

even going to bed was different.  usually jim rubs my back and we’re asleep within 20 minutes.  but tonight we sat up, we talked, we got up and went to the computer to look stuff up, we did some relaxation exercises, and eventually drifted off for a few hours.

it was as if it was a full moon, but it’s only a quarter.  this brings its own tensions to the world, but it doesn’t usually manifest itself so obviously.  what a time we’re in, eh?

today is wednesday, the following day.  and we’ve got loads to do and our schedule has already changed, so i guess i might update with another post tonight when i can’t sleep.


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