Flash Fiction #208

Shopping

PHOTO PROMPT © Ronda Del Boccio

Continuing from last week’s Flash Fiction, I give you

A TEACHABLE MOMENT

The refrigerator is empty?? You two boys are going to have to pull up your socks. Guys are allowed to grocery shop. It’s in the Constitution. I gave you cash, a shopping list, and instructions to stop at the store after school.

We are not going to use the ‘Skip The Dishes’ app, and order burritos delivered, because we don’t have a Skip The Mortgage Payment option. If you felt that playing World of Warcraft was more important than getting meat and fresh veggies – we’ll make do.

Which would you prefer – olives on rye sandwiches, or cream of peach soup?   😳

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

friday-fictioneers-badge-web

’18 A To Z Challenge – O

 

Challenge '18letter-o

 

 

 

 

 

OBSESSION

When is a door not a door??  When it’s ajar.  When is an obsession not an obsession??  Are we obsessed if we always do the same things the same way, or is it that, through observation and practice, we have found the best way??  I’m not stubborn.  My way is just right.

Obsession is a matter of degree.  If you check that the doors are locked before retiring for the night, you’re careful and cautious.  If you check that the doors are locked before retiring for the night – 15 or 20 times – you may be a bit obsessive.

Even if we don’t have to seek professional help, most of us have a thing or few that we’re a bit obsessive about.  My father was obsessive about putting butter on bread: actually, about NOT putting butter on bread.  Somehow it disturbed him to have a bit of unused butter on his knife when his bread was covered.  He hated to have to scrape the excess off against the edge of the butter dish.  It could take him 3 or 4 tiny little diminishing dabs, to complete his task.

Since the wife’s life centers around food and cooking, so do her obsessions.  We own 3 butter knives, another household item not common in our social/financial neighborhood.  She uses one to add dabs of margarine to a casserole of scalloped potatoes, as she assembles it, or to spread pâté on rolls or crackers….  because, apparently, a kitchen knife won’t do it.

As a teen, an older sister impressed upon her that, All dishes have to be washed in a sinkful of hot, soapy water.”  Not a bad idea on its own, but – we own 4 or 5 sets of measuring spoons.  If a recipe calls for a tablespoon of sugar, a teaspoon of salt, and a half-teaspoon of cinnamon, she measures out the tablespoon of sugar.  Sugar doesn’t stick to slick, stainless steel spoons.  If it did, I would wipe off an offending grain or two with a dishcloth.  The other size spoons aren’t used but, she throws the entire set into the sink, to be washed.

Then she gets out another set, measures the salt….and throws that set in the sink.  Then, she gets out yet another set, measures the cinnamon….and throws it in the sink too.  It’s a good thing that there are two dishwashers in our home.  General Electric built one….I am the other.

I remember the first time she caught observed me cleaning out a saucepan of reheated chilli and eating with a spatula.  We don’t do that at our house.

She ‘translated’ cooking instructions for a rice maker, from Imperial, to Metric, and came up with the weight of rice at 389 grams.  I obsess about that ’messy’ looking number, and use a nice, round, 390 grams without ever telling her.  It’s almost as bad as the swishy little women’s section editor in our paper, who published instructions to chill something down to the freezing mark, 0 degrees Celsius….or 33 degrees Fahrenheit.  I obsessively called him and asked how in Hell he’d got 33 degrees.  He just figured it out with his calculator.

My obsessions center around the English language, and word usage.  If you’ve read any of my word posts, like last year’s rant, you know how I like to poke fun at lazy, stupid, unthinking misusages, especially by professionals.  Things like the headline, “Pope considers taking “leave.”  Taking “leave,” is a Lieutenant-Colonel with 30-days of R&R – a temporary absence.  What they meant to punctuate was, “Pope considers “taking leave,” as in, a resignation, a retirement, a permanent giving up of the post of Pope, the way that Benny The Dick wisely did.

The headline writer took leave of his education and training.  I don’t want you to take leave of this site.  See you back here soon??  Please!  🙂

Cross Words

Crossword

CROSSWORD PUZZLES LEAVE SOME PEOPLE BLANK

Some people just don’t understand what people like me get out of doing crossword puzzles. We sit for hours, poring over ambiguous clues, to fill in little boxes, and when we’re done, all we have is a page full of letters.  I mean, we don’t even get a prize for all that work.

As you’ve probably guessed, lots of folks, my darling wife included, do not find crossword puzzles _ _ _ (three letters across, first letter F)  Even though I’ve almost made a C_R_ _R (life’s work, six letters) out of writing and playing with words, trying to do a crossword puzzle is an agonizing chore for many.  Their minds just don’t work that way.

My wife will sit for hours without saying a word, while I do my puzzles.  If I happen to muse aloud, “What’s a four-letter word for a garden tool?” she will quickly reply, “Spatula.”  I say, “No!  I think it’s rake.” and write that down.

If I had simply asked her to name some garden tools, she could have rattled off a whole list, from rake and shovel, to trowel, spade, and ‘Garden Weazel.’  Because I specifically mentioned a four-letter garden tool for a crossword puzzle, she can’t think of a single one.  Her mind just goes BL-N- (empty, five letters)

In fact, the moment I posed that question, she couldn’t think of a garden tool to save her life, even if she were being tortured by the Spanish Inquisition.  The Inquisitor could say, “All right, heretic.  Give me a three-letter word for ‘poem’, starting with O, or I will lock you in the Iron Maiden.”  She’d probably just stand there and say, “I think it’s ‘Owl’, before they ran the sharp spikes into her body.

CROSSWORD PUZZLING

The reason that some folks can’t think of answers to crossword puzzle questions is that, whenever they’re presented with a clue, their mind becomes a big, dark room where they rummage around, trying to find something, anything, to fill in the blank spaces.  They grab onto it, and shout ‘Spatula’ for no apparent reason.

The best they can do with crosswords, is come close.  If the clue is – a beverage: P_ _, they write down PUB, which is actually fairly good, since at least a pub is a place where you can get a beverage.  If the puzzle wants ‘Lennon’s widow’ in three letters, they put down ‘Mrs.’

Crossword clues are just plain confusing to some.  They read the clue: ‘state that borders Mexico’, starting with A, and try to put in ‘Atlantic Ocean.’  Or they look at the clue: ‘High ranking marine,’ with five spaces, and try to fit in ‘humpback whale.’

Obviously, they have to write really small when they do crosswords like that.  The boxes get so crowded that they have to stack letters on top of each other.  On the other hand, sometimes the word they want doesn’t work, because they don’t have enough letters to fill in all the boxes.  The clue will be: ‘balloon filler,’ needing four spaces, and they put in AIRR.

For some, the problem started back in school, with tests that had them fill in the blanks.  They’d get the history question, ‘The Gettysburg Address was delivered by……..’  They would go into that dark room and come out with, the Post Office.  Or, on a Geography quiz, the question would be, ‘The United States capital is in……’, and they put down, ‘total confusion.’

A fellow-student in one class would look at the first question on the test and panic.  Your name……….  He would wave his hand frantically, until the teacher said, “What is it, Myron?” and quickly write Myron down.

I had an uncle who liked to enjoy the company of a crossword puzzle book and a glass of wine after dinner.  After he passed on, I happened to pick up his puzzle book and look in it.  The clue would read: Lone Ranger’s horse, and he would have written GZODKE.  He had fooled us.  He didn’t like crossword puzzles at all!  He just liked the quiet, and a chance to drink.

Wine

Helicopter Parents

Helicopter

Helicopter parents, stop hovering and come in for a landing.  You’re not doing your children any good.

After a bit of anecdotal research, a local community service group is organizing Basic Life Skills seminars for youngsters this summer.  Parents who do everything for their children forget that they’ve never taught the kids how to do things for themselves.

A smart and accomplished 17-year-old neighbor did not know how to use a can opener.  An otherwise bright 15-year-old nephew tried to microwave a plate of spaghetti, with a fork in it.  A female Uni student singed her eyebrows off, when a baked potato exploded in her face.  She thought that the fork holes that her mother put in them were just for decoration.

One young lad used the dining room table as a makeshift bench, to cut a piece of wood, forgetting that, in cutting the board, he would also cut off a giant slice of the table.  His sister once called her dad to ask how she would know when water on the stove was boiling.  He hung up on her.

Courses will include
How To Iron Clothes.  Turns out that there’s more than one way to mess this up.  One college lad tried ironing his shirt while he was wearing it.  Another used the new couch as an impromptu ironing board, and melted the foam in two of the cushions.

How to set a table properly:  Also, how to wash dishes by hand, and load and unload the dishwasher – and what soap to use.  One woman says that a couple of college interns at her work have poured dishwashing detergent into the dishwasher.  “Bubble for miles!”

How to use a paper map:  One woman was driving her son across town to a soccer meet, when both their cell phones died.  They dug a street map out of the glove compartment and, with a little help from her, managed to get where they were going.

How to order food (like pizza) using a landline phone:  This will ensure that they know how to use the land line, how to politely order something over the phone, and how to interact with a delivery person, and calculate a tip.

How to mow the lawn:  Also how to identify/pull weeds, and plant/water flowers.

How to do the Heimlich on yourself:  There is nothing scarier than choking while you’re alone.

How to cut up common fruits and veggies:  And how to do it without requiring medical attention.  This course goes over basic knife skills – also, how to wash fruit and vegetables properly.

How to shop for groceries:  How to compare prices, the value of store brands, how to choose fresh produce, how to interact politely with a cashier, and how to bag the groceries without crushing the bread.  One woman waits in her car, and sends the kids in with money, and a list.

How to write – and mail – a thank-you note:  What to write beyond, “Thank you for the ______.”  How to address the envelope properly, write the return address, stamp it and mail it.  One office manager says she has college-aged interns who don’t know where to put the stamp.

How to do laundry:  What to wash in hot or cold, where to put the detergent, the magic of drying things slightly, then hanging them up (no ironing), how to fold clothes for a trip.  A young woman who moved to Arizona to attend University, was so befuddled by laundry, that she shipped it home – to Minnesota – by train.

If you haven’t taught your kids these things, and many others,

How to turn off water to an overflowing toilet
How to plunge said toilet
How to turn off water to an entire house
How to make a few simple meals
How to relax when you can’t sleep
How to be a good guest
How to politely address adults
How to recognise the smell of propane and natural gas, and what to do when you smell it
How to show good etiquette
How to resolve a dispute
How to make an important decision

it’s time that you started.  I’ll be here when you get back.

’17 A To Z Challenge -Z

Challenge2017 Letter Z

To end this year’s alphabet challenge, I’m going out with the other new-found word.

ZWODDER

Noun: a drowsy and stupid state of mind

I had downloaded Zen, zest, zenith, zany, Zorah(my #2 cat), zipline, zone, and ZZ Top as prompts.  I got my Boy Scout proficiency badge in zwodder.  If I have zwodder, I don’t need Zen.  My mind is empty most of the time anyway.

Zest is what I shred off lemon or orange peels, and add to big, torpor-producing meals. Zenith made my TV.  I lie on the couch at night, with the remote in my hand.  When it falls on the floor and wakes me up, it’s time to go to bed.

I’m not really zany – silly at times, perhaps, but I don’t know much about zany. Zorah is the cat who insists on me taking a nap.  When he gently paws at my shoulder, I rock back the recliner chair, that warm little purring machine climbs into my lap, and drowsy and stupid become mandatory.

I missed out on a zipline ride a couple of years ago, when the son and I went to Niagara Falls. If we go again, I’ll have him book tickets online days ahead.  There’s a zipline ride on the local ski-hill Earth pimple.  Perhaps I’ll try it this summer – if a nap doesn’t interfere.

I’ve got nothing for ‘zone.’ This zwodder thing has me zoned out enough, as it is.  I got an email recently from Billy Gibbons, of ZZ Top, asking why I still hadn’t composed a blog post about him them.  I told him that I might get around to it next year, ‘cause the cat had climbed up, and I needed to take another nap.  He replied that he was going to have his beard steamed, and take one himself.

Zee End

This is Zee end for this year.   😆

Survivor

Flash Fiction #144

Hot Chili
PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

WATCH YOUR TONGUE

It was a fantastic idea, inspired, as many fantastic ideas were, by the liberal application of beer. He had decided to make chili as the snack for his turn to host the guys’ Friday poker bash.

He liked his food with a little heat to it….and surely his buddies would too. He put in lots of chili powder, and several shakes of Tabasco.  Maybe he’d add some of this stuff his mother’d given him.

Hmm, Scotch Bonnet Pepper?? Bonnets??  Thanks Mom.  Probably some delicate old schoolmarm spice.  He’d add a good tablespoonful.

Dig in guys. It’s got a little kick.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

***

I’ve finally come full circle and am now plagiarizing from myself. This is a re-imagining of my #46, Four Alarm Flash Fiction story of April 16, 2015.  Sorry guys.  I couldn’t help myself.  When I saw all those spewing fire hoses outside the frat house, it was either that, or a “cold shower” story.

What’s Cooking?

Hot Sex*

Wife was preparing to fry an egg when her husband came home and shouted: “Attention ! Attention! More oil! We need more oil! It will burn! Attention! Turn it over! Turn it over! Turn it over! Attention! Are you crazy? The oil will end! Oh, God! Salt! Don’t forget the salt! …”

Wife, being already annoyed at this, asks him: “Why are you screaming like that? Do you think I’m not able to fry an egg?”

The husband responds very calmly: “That’s what it was like to give you an idea just how I feel when I drive the car and you sit next to me…”

***

The other day, a guy went to the dentist’s office to have a tooth pulled. 

The dentist pulls out a freezing needle to give him a shot.

“No way! No needles! I hate needles”, the man said. 

The dentist starts to hook up the laughing gas and the man immediately objected. “I can’t do the gas thing either; the thought of having the gas mask on is suffocating me!”

The dentist then asks the man if he has any objection to taking a pill.

“No objection”, the man said. “I’m fine with pills”.

The dentist then returns and says, “Here’s a Viagra tablet”.

The guy, totally at a loss for words, said in amazement, “WOW, I didn’t know Viagra worked as a pain killer!”

“It doesn’t”, said the dentist, “but it will give you something to hold on to when I pull your tooth.”

 

***

A Tennessee State trooper pulled over a pickup on I-65.

The trooper asked, “Got any ID?”

The driver replied, “Bout whut?”

***

A Virginia State trooper pulled a car over on I-64 about 2 miles south of the Virginia/ West Virginia State line.

When the trooper asked the driver why he was speeding, the driver said he was a Magician and a Juggler and was on his way to Beckley WV to do a show at the Shrine Circus. He didn’t want to be late.

 The trooper told the driver he was fascinated by juggling and said if the driver would do a little juggling for him then he wouldn’t give him a ticket.

He told the trooper he had sent his equipment ahead and didn’t have anything to juggle.

The trooper said he had some flares in the trunk and asked if he could juggle them. The juggler said he could, so the trooper got 5 flares, lit them and handed them to him.

While the man was juggling, a car pulled in behind the patrol car. A drunken good old boy from West Virginia got out, watched the performance, then went over to the patrol car, opened the rear door and got in.

The trooper observed him and went over to the patrol car, opened the door asking the drunk what he thought he was doing.

The drunk replied, “You might as well take my ass to jail, ‘cause there ain’t no way I can pass that test.”

***