Tuesday, December 10, 2013
I'm not much of a cook, so when we invited a few friends over for dinner I told them to expect pasta. My wife, also not much of a cook, was in charge of the appetizers. In a fit of inspiration she sprinkled a flatbread with truffle oil before putting it in the oven. It turned out well, it even had a faint smokey taste, a byproduct of the oil that dripped all over the bottom of the oven, which subsequently belched black smoke until a few moments before all of our guests arrived. And when they did, of course, I was the one standing in the foul-smelling kitchen and preparing our dinner.
Monday, December 9, 2013
I have two umbrellas sitting next to my desk, and I've told my co-workers so often that they're welcome to use one that now they'll grab them on their own. If I'm not at my desk, they'll help themselves. You'd think that they'd always leave one for me when it's raining out, but it doesn't work that way. If I'm away from my desk and someone sees two umbrellas, they'll take one. And if I'm still away and someone sees one umbrella, they'll assume I'm outside with the other one, so they'll take the second one, too.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
My summer camp had all kinds of things: canoeing, swimming, archery, ping-pong, basketball, and the hook game. The hook game is a game where a metal ring is tied to a string that's fixed to the ceiling, and you try to swing the ring onto a hook. This game is found in many dive bars in Wisconsin, and also at my summer camp. Over the course of five summers, I became a Grand Master of the hook game. Once in awhile I'll find one in a bar, and since it's a strange skill no one but my summer camp friends know I have, I'm able to surprise people. I have a friend who can do the same thing, but with him it's playing the piano with incredible skill. Him and I went to very different summer camps.
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Years ago I would drive past a small, standalone cafe called the Kountry Korner a couple times a month. It was in the middle of nowhere, nothing but the grain silos to break up the skyline. I never stopped. Sure, I would have liked a cup of coffee or some biscuits and gravy from time to time while passing by, but I couldn't abide the KK. Why not use C's? You'd achieve the same alliteration on your sign, plus it'd be spelled correctly. These days, I find myself jogging on the treadmill or pedaling home late at night thinking about that sign, and more than anything, it bothers me that I still think about it. Not that I think about it often, but any thought more than none that's devoted to the KK is too much. On an unrelated note, if you're like me and enjoy the "news of the weird" section of the newspaper, don't be too harsh in your judgment if you ever read about a lunatic running over the Kountry Korner with a stolen bulldozer.
Friday, December 6, 2013
My 8th grade music teacher went through a grunge phase where he wore a denim jacket with jeans for several weeks in a row. He had a large bushy beard and dark brown hair, and with all that denim he bore a striking similarity to TV repairman extraordinaire Bob Vila. While signing yearbooks at the end of that year, I took to crossing out his name and writing "Bob Vila" above it, and then signing my name. It backfired when all my nerdy friends asked our music teacher to sign their yearbook, but he didn't get upset with me. It occurred to me today that after all these years he's achieved his own kind of revenge. I caught a glimpse of myself leaving for work this morning, jeans and a denim jacket, with an overgrown beard and a mop of brown hair in need of a barber. I've come full Bob Vila.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
I don't know why I bother wearing winter clothes to work since my office is so much hotter during the winter than during the summer. The heater responsible for warming the entire half of our building runs beneath my desk, so sitting at my computer all day is akin to sitting in a hot tub all day. That heater broke once, and such a strange putrid liquid came out of it that I inquired who had brought a dog to work because it had gone to the bathroom under my desk. When water continued to pool under my desk I sorted out it was coming from the heater. In spite of that rancid smell and constant risk of electrocution, I found it a pleasant break from the heat.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
I love picking up the Christmas tree. This year I didn't even bargain, I just told the guy we were trying to find one that was bigger than what any of our neighbors' had and he gave me a good deal. We'd achieved an understanding. Granted, we live in an apartment building so all of our neighbors have the same height limitations on the tree, but I think ours is extra bushy. I measure Christmas trees on mass, not height. So tonight, we'll trim the tree. When I was growing up I thought that meant that you would cut its branches so that the tree would take on a more pleasing shape, but now I know it's an Eastern way of saying "decorate" the tree. Kind of like at Thanksgiving how everything besides the turkey are the "trimmings," and none of them are lopped-off tree branches. That's the holiday season for you.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Every year my wife and I agree not to get each other anything for Christmas. We travel for the holiday, and it's expensive, and neither of us needs anything all that bad, so we agree to save our money to go somewhere or do something fun. And one year I actually didn't get her anything, but she got me something, something small. I should have at least gotten her a card and wrapped up something I found around the house because now we agree that we won't buy each other gifts, but in spite of that weak accord it's like kicking off an arms race. As I count it, right now we have unused gift certificates for cooking classes, sailing classes, and I know there's an Apple gift card stuck somewhere in a book I've never read. This year I'm going to use all those gift certificates in one weekend and take pictures of myself and frame them as her gift. It'll go over well, you'll see.