April 27, 2007

Continuing fallout from getting up early.

Or maybe I should blame global warming. Or Halliburton.

IN ANY EVENT, after getting off yesterday, I hurried home to pick up my new dryer accessory from Lowe's. Got there, walked in, was studiously ignored.




Finally someone decided to help me, and I told her what I was there for and she tapped on the computer and looked at my driver's license and tapped some more and printed out a form. "Wait a minute."

Might as well.



FINALLY, a crinkled little white-haired Filipino guy came out with something he had gone to get for someone else, picked up my pickup sheet, and then disappeared again.


Looked at the Generac display.


Looked at the compact fluorescent bulb display.


FINALLY, he reappeared with a gigantic cardboard box that appeared to have been run over by a truck.


I gathered up my box, fearful of the carnage that must be inside given the condition of the exterior. And wondering why the box was so gigantic. And why the thing inside was so rattly.

I signed the pickup sheet and he disappeared and I took the box over to a quiet place to check it before I got out the door, in case the rack looked like the box. Opened it up with my evil pocketknife and way down in the depths was a nice plastic rack. Completely naked. Not even half a minute spent trying to cushion it with wadded up newspaper, much less any effort spent near a hopper full of styrofoam packing peanuts. Why would anyone send a pretty heavy, yet still breakable, piece of plastic loose inside of a big box like that?


ANYway, it looked like it was all in one piece, so I went on out to the car and went and got the kids from Grandma's and headed home.

Where I was met with the unmistakable stench of burnt food substances.


Oldest, who pretends to diet by not eating lunch as school, then comes home and fixes a full meal, had apparently decided to heat up some of the previous night's chicken and dumplings. And turned the stove on high, and forgot to stir.

I say "apparently," because I didn't have the necessary mental function to deal with what I knew would be a torrent of angry denials that such a thing EVER HAPPENED if I asked her what happened. So, I just grabbed the first upside down saucepan I happened to come across in the sink. Bingo. Big black ring of char in the bottom. Heaven forbid anyone who made such a mess would clean it up.

Ran some water in the pan, went and opened the kitchen window to let out some of the stink, and decided to unpack my new dryer rack and make sure it fit the dryer.

Pulled it back out of the box along with the brace that attaches to the front.


The brace slips on the front of the rack via a couple of tiny plastic pegs that fit into a couple of tiny corresponding holes in the brace. And, as you can probably guess, one of those tiny pegs was broken off.


I looked down in the bottom of the giant box and shook it and looked again. No little broken peg. Well, I'll be danged if I'm gonna take it back. It still works even with one peg in one hole, and if I needed to, I could just epoxy the whole shebang together. The more important thing--does it fit?

Yes. Thank heavens. So now we can dry sneakers and delicates. Big call for that, you know.

ANYway, after tearing the box down and FINDING the errant peg stuck under a flap, and then getting out the epoxy and applying it to the broken plastic peg and sticking it on the rack, I finally had a chance to sit down and read the little newspaper that gets thrown on the lawn every Thursday and await the arrival of Reba, who was having to work late at work again.

No sooner had I turned to page 2 when the phone rang. She'd already called about an hour before to say she was on the way home, so I was guessing she was calling to say she'd gotten stopped by her boss on the way out. Which happens a lot, because she seems to not be willing to keep walking out the door when this happens.

ANYway, I picked up the phone and it was indeed Miss Reba, "Do me a favor--call the police, I'm down here at the BP station and some guy just hit me down here by the Presbyterian church and then he left and..."

"Whoa--YOU call 911 right now, and I'll be there in just a second."

It's the station down at the foot of the hill, so I gathered up the three younger kids and told them we had to go see Mom, shouted up the stairs that we had to go see Mom and would be back in a bit, all the while trying to simultaneously calm them down so they wouldn't freak out, and fighting that peculiar feeling in the center of my chest that you get when you'd like to freak out and go circling the house screaming and waving your hands in the air.

Got in the car, headed down the hill, pulled in the service station and found her on the other side by the curb. Parked, noticed the audience already in place over on the adjacent parcel of property in the form of the chubby chain-smoking clerk from the likka stow. Hi.

She had just hung up from the police, and after giving her a quick hug and comprehensive medical exam to make sure she was okay and her bosom did not need any adjustment, I took a look at the damage. Thankfully, it wasn't too bad--a big smear of dark green paint on the side of the driver's side back bumper.

The story?

Well, she did leave work late, again, and had made it all the way to Trussville, and was just past the light at Target and a carload of goobers pulled over into her. She started to pull off, and the baseball-cap wearing driver motioned for her to drive on down a bit to pull off to the shoulder. They finally wound up at the BP station, and when she'd parked, he pulled in, then drove right back out of the lot, ran the red light at Mary Taylor road, and headed east toward the center of town.

Yep, a hit and run.

Let me just say--if you and your buddies were in a little beat-up dark greenish colored older model Japanese sedan and you hit a lady in a silver Honda van yesterday afternoon around 6:30 near the Presbyterian church in Trussville, you might better get yourself some legal representation. And be forewarned--I will be looking for you.

Corporal Lovell showed up and took the full report and description of the vehicle and its occupants, and I called the insurance company, and I was just glad she wasn't hurt and the van wasn't too badly damaged.

Just a few tips that I can tell you, but that I was chary about telling Reba for fear of launching one of those bouts of offended pouting. If you're in an accident, pull to the side of the road as soon as possible. Don't get too far away from the scene unless it's absolutely necessary. Start right then taking account of the surroundings and the person who hit you. Call 911 right away--do not call your husband and tell him to call for you--YOU call. If you're suspicious of the other person, stay in your vehicle until the police arrive.


On back to the house, got the kids working on their homework while we worked on supper, showed Reba the new plastic dryer rack and noted that the peg had broken off but I'd epoxied it back on. I put the brace on the end of the rack and promptly snapped off my newly epoxied peg.


"Well, it still works no matter what." And it does.

Sat down to eat, got the story about the burnt dumplings.

Reba asking, "Was that dumplings you burned?"

Oldest answering, looking confused, lost, uncomprehending, "Burn? Huh? I didn't burn anything."

Me--"Ashley, the house smells like it's been on fire, and the saucepan that you left over there in the sink has burnt stuff in the bottom. The dumplings you heated up stuck to the bottom of it and burned. That's why the house smells like this."


Reba--"What did you have the stove set to?"

Oldest, "Seven?"

Reba, "Well, you have to stand there and keep it stirred or it'll stick and burn."



The usual. No matter what it is--just like when she hit the concrete curb and tore up the tire, just like when she hit the mailbox and knocked off the mirror. The only thing she couldn't do this time was blame one of her teachers or one of her siblings or one of the kids from church. And at least she finally did--very quietly--say something that almost resembled "sorry." I think this was after we found the SECOND saucepan that ALSO had been burnt. Apparently (again, used advisedly since I had no heart in mounting a full investigation) she'd started off with one pan, burned her food, then transferred it to another to complete the scorching process. No wonder the house stank.

SO, in conclusion, it is never a good idea to get up at 4:00 a.m.

ON the bright side, Rebecca had a good time at the Renaissance Festival, although she didn't get to eat her lunch because it was raining all day and there was no place to sit down. I need to have a talk with her about improvisational dining--never let the lack of seating or utensils stand in the way of eating.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at April 27, 2007 09:32 AM

I'm glad Reba wasn't hurt and there wasn't too much damage to the van!

Posted by: Kathy at April 27, 2007 10:54 AM

I'll ditto what Kathy said. Getting those types of calls are no fun. Just be sure to not have any firearms close by if you happen to get to the perps before the police.

I've got one out of my bunch of three who takes denial far beyond a river in Africa. We keep stressing the importance of truth telling, but he'll keep saying whatever he can to cover his hienie. His denials are like a reflex action. Of course, I have to fight my reflex action to whomp him upside the head.

Don't know if you saw this over at the Bleat today, but it fits you fairly well:

"Widely regarded, and occasionally disregarded, as a practitioner of light verse ... he serves his light with a healthy dose of darkness; his best work is a tug of war between levity and gravity."
[That's the Possumblogger!]

Posted by: Marc V at April 27, 2007 11:17 AM

Oh yeah, that hardware chain needs to put an "S" in front of their name to join the one at the end:

Posted by: Marc V at April 27, 2007 11:21 AM

Oh, Marc, you ol' flatterer. It's very kind of you, but no one could ever say I belong to that class of uncompromising formalists that includes Richard Wilbur, Anthony Hecht, Donald Justice and W. D. Snodgrass.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at April 27, 2007 11:28 AM

Burning my pans would be a "BAD" thing but lying about it afters. Um, I think I'd have to use that lil ol washing of the mouth trick. My son and I had some riugh times but I'll say this for him, if he did it he owned up to it.

Posted by: Chef Tony at April 27, 2007 11:45 AM

In her mind, she didn't burn the food. I suppose to her, it burned itself. Such is the mind of teenagers and liberals.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at April 27, 2007 11:59 AM