Monday, December 24, 2012

Death Bewilders Her

I arose at the stroke of 6:00 a.m. to begin final preparations for our Christmas celebration. We will meet at my sister's house tonight, so I had several items to wrap up before slipping into the doldrums of Christmas Eve. Heh, heh! Get it? I had several items to WRAP UP! Because it's Christmas, you know. And people wrap PRESENTS! I crack myself up sometimes.

Seriously. I DO have some presents to wrap up as well. And by "some," I mean ALL OF THEM. I have let time get away from me this year, what with tending five batches of my World Famous Chex Mix, traipsing about eastern Missouri, going to book signings willy-nilly, and throwing away an entire day with a casino outing. Hey! All work and no gambling makes Val a dull gal. I've been typing that all afternoon. Seeing as how we're going to be snowed in here at the Overlook Hotel tomorrow.

Now where was I? Oh, yes. My early morning plans included baking my third Oreo cake in less than twenty-four hours, whipping up some vegetable dip, boiling eggs and potatoes for my traditional Christmas potato salad, and washing some clothes so my boys don't have to attend family gatherings in a barrel held up by suspenders. Separate barrels, of course. These brothers don't have that much of a bond.

I put on the eggs and potatoes. Unplugged my cell phone from the kitchen counter area where it had been charging all night, so it didn't get splattered with cake mix. Dumped a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch mix in a tub of sour cream from Save A Lot, and VOILA! The dip was done, man! One item checked off my list.

Next up was the cake. The first thing I had done when I got up was to cut a package of Oreos in half. Part of them to ring around the bottom of the cake, and the other part to chop for the batter. Leaving five halves to stand on edge on top, of course, and the crumbs to sprinkle over the top. Because I'm not Paula Deen, I opened a box of Betty Crocker cake mix, triple fudge, to be exact, and poured it into my big mixing bowl. I added all the ingredients, jammed the beaters into my mixer, and commenced to beating. Ahem! I said, commenced to beating. Er...turned on the mixer. What's this? My mixer was dead. Dead, dead, dead. Dead as a doornail! Not a doorknob. That's what Genius tries to say. But he is wrong. In fact, he also declares that something is coming down the PIPE! Sometimes I wonder if my baby was switched in the hospital while I was swilling THE BEST GRAPE JUICE EVER after six months of no-sugar-allowed gestational diabetes.

Let's see...we were talking about my dear, departed mixer. All the gunk was about to start congealing. I moved past the stove to the other end of the counter. Tried another outlet. Nope. The mixer, like Generalissimo Francisco Franco, was still dead. I grabbed the whisk I had rinsed after ranch dipping, and started whipping. Here is where you might want to make a note-to-self: beating is much less taxing than whipping. I worked up a sweat. Grew as winded as a smoker at mile 20 of the Boston Marathon. My right arm grew two sizes today. I am a human fiddler crab. That giant arm DID come in handy for stirring the Chex every fifteen minutes for two hours.

I managed to get everything done this morning, with only a thirty-minute delay from my schedule. Good thing. I had to pick up a package at the dead-mouse-smelling post office. And get my 44 oz. Diet Coke, of course. I wanted it for my three-hour lunch break, to rekindle my energy before starting on the present-wrapping. While in town, my mom called on my cell phone. I heard an odd thumping noise while I talked, but assumed it was something with her land line. Since I was parked in front of the DMSPO at the time, I was not worried that I might have driven over something or someone. Imagine my surprise when I hung up to see a message that I needed to connect my phone to its charger.

My phone had been on the charger all night! One little phone call should not have depleted it. By the time I got home, I had forgotten all about Phony. I had a 44 oz. Diet Coke, and three hours of free time! In passing, I mentioned to Hick that my mixer had expired. Just in case he needed an idea for a last-minute gift. Even though my mom had told me she had a perfectly good mixer still in the box. Because you can never have too many mixers, you know. For those holidays when you need to bake three Oreo cakes in less than twenty-four hours.

Hick treated me like he was the slot machine attendant at River City. Looked askance. "How do you KNOW your mixer is dead?" Like I was obviously making it all up to score a new mixer for Christmas. He grabbed it from where I'd left it plugged in. Pushed the button. Nothing. Dead as a doorNAIL. Hick is knobber, too. I explained that it did not work in either outlet.

"Well, I'll go see if the breaker is tripped. Maybe you did something when you plugged it in. It's made to trip if there's a problem." Off he went to the master bathroom walk-in closet, to the main panel, installed by he, himself, and him when we built the house. He came back and turned on the mixer. It whirred to life. Resuscitated. By the man who runs electric for a living, in a county with lax codes, able to work without benefit of membership in the international brotherhood. The man who had installed the electricity to begin with. Electricity that can't take a jabbing in its outlet without shutting down.

That explained the wasting away of my cell phone. It had been plugged into that wall all night. I've really got to be more careful about how I jam the prongs into the socket. It's not a slot card scanner, you know.


  1. I'm amazed you haven't fallen over yet from exhaustion. When do you get to relax.

    I do wish you and your family a safe and very Merry Christmas. Take care.

  2. He Who is in charge of all things electrical here always questions my abilty to check the breaker. He also runs electricity to things here without benefit of brotherhood membership. They are so eerily alike ....... are we in the twilight zone?

  3. Stephen,
    Yesterday was a 21-hour day for me. I snuck in three hours of sleep, whether I needed them or not.

    Hope you had a safe and merry Christmas as well.

    Your tale of the bathroom remodel sounded spookily familiar.