Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na: Bad Date!

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“Good morning, sir.”

“Eeeuurrrgh. Alfred?”

“You seem out of sorts. There is, however, a pressing issue which may require your attention.”

“Errr -what? Attention?” Sploosh! ….”Why am I wet?”

“Well, sir, the cave seems to be experiencing an excess amount of water.”

“It’s a cave, Alfred. It has water. …Probably not this much.”

“Precisely, sir.”

“We’ve got to get out! What happened?”

“Do you recall that female companion you entertained last week?

“…No.”

“Saturday?”

…..

“Charity dinner?”

“The blonde?”

“Precisely, sir!”

“Well?”

“I believe, after the young lady stayed the night, that she left the faucet running.”

 

Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction
unsplash-logoTroy Nikolic

Happy Birthday to Me

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March 23rd was my birthday. As an adult and a parent, it’s not like I expect a lot of streamers, balloons, presents, or even free time to use the bathroom uninterrupted. I’m just mentioning it to explain why there is a picture of dessert at the top of this post.

Birthdays=cake. Right?

Right.

My side job involves monkey-typewriter skills to produce content for those annoying webpages you go to when you search for party ideas and find you’ve landed on a collection of pictures stolen from actual artistes but leechingly getting the ad revenue for them. I’d say it pays the bills, but it’s more like funding peanut butter on a tortilla for all three meals at college.

What? Oh, yes: CAKE.

I found this Chocolate Easter Egg Nest Cake while researching ideas for Easter Desserts for Some Purpose That Will Rank High in Search Engines. It looked fancy. It looked tasty. Above all, the directions looked doable.

Maybe I just wanted to make that edible nest thing.

Point is, I bought (most of) the ingredients. I harvested that instant coffee. I mixed the flour and cocoa and yoghurt into chocolate cake. And, who helped me? Not those lazy children. Not that husband-who-works-a-steady-job-so-I-can-afford-something-called-“yoghurt”-as-opposed-to-“yogurt.”

Actually, my oldest son did help me. We (mostly) followed the recipe, substituting for the fact that NO STORES around our little suburb had Woolworth’s Gold Greek Yoghurt nor Woolworths Gold Hand Finished Chocolate and Hazelnut Meringue.

I’m no professional baker, but I’ve made my share of cakes. From scratch. And, not just “scratching” open a cake mix box. Although we followed the directions, the cake turned out like a round brick. The Sahara Desert has a moister surface than it did.

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Still, I whipped my own meringue, filled the darn thing, drizzled hodgepodge ganache over the top, and perched that cute, actually-inedible nest up top. Jellybean birds flew through the window and laid their little clutch inside it and the birthday cake was ready to serve.

I suppose I hoped the filling and topping might soften up the cake slabs. I optimistically hoped the cheap brand of instant coffee we found at Whale-Mart would not make it taste like overpowered, cheap instant coffee. I also get a bit pigheaded when I start a project (I like to call it “tenacity”).

I even forged ahead when we had to pickax a few holes in the top in order to place some candles.

But the chocolate rock stayed solid, its meringue/cream/sugar innards gooshed out when we attempted excavation, and the darling chocolate and vermicelli nest chewed and digested much like actual twigs.

We all tried some. You know, after singing about birthdays and happiness.

“I like the jellybeans,” my second-oldest said. “Can I have more?”

“Cake?” I asked.

“Jellybeans,” he and two brothers answered.

“Sure,” I sighed.

Determinedly, I sliced myself another piece. I dolloped the escaped filling atop the bits of pumice I removed. “Welp,” I told my husband, swallowing broken brick and teeth, “Maybe next time I’ll not bake it as long.”

The sweet man adopted his encouraging face. “I’m proud of you for trying it.”

“Can we have more jellybeans?” Asked the dog, the cat, and the rat.

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Limericks, Again

Alas for the death of Hugh Hannity
Whose boat was capsized by a manatee.
When they saw it swim by,
All the townsfolk would cry:
“There he goes! Oh the beast! The Hugh manatee!”

-Graham Lester

 

There was a young fellow named Flynn
Who was really remarkably thin.
When he carried a pole
People said, “Bless my soul!
What a shock to find out you’ve a twin.”

-Anonymous

 

I arrived at the Hotel Belle Vue
With my kanga and motorbike too.
Said the doorman, “Good day!
Am I right when I say
That you’re needing a vroom with a roo?”

-Graham Lester

 

Thanks to Graham Lester for listing some kid-friendly rhymes.
See Mid-Week Limerick, for another I liked.

The House That Someone Built

House Plans

I think most people picture building a house much like other adult life ideas. We think it will be customizeable, fantastic, and affordable. Let me tell you, however, that building a house isn’t quite like all that imagining.

If you’re going to be crushed by this dose of reality, head over to one of my happier posts and keep assuming life is a bed of roses and all that.

For the rest of you brave souls, we’ll take it in steps like a house plan. Or, more like a how-to on naïve decisions.

1. Customizeable
I used to think anyone who built a house drew up the plans himself and ended up with a castle. In our dating years, my husband and I would tell each other what amazing features our house would have if we ever got to build one.

There was a fireman’s pole, down to a ball pit. I’m sure I pictured a turret or two. Also, since we were teenagers, we planned a secret, underground path out to our secluded makeout gazebo in the backyard. Priorities, you know.

In actuality, the builders are the masters of it all. Whatever company you go with already has blueprints for buildings that are proven to not collapse on anyone, nor cause extra man hours of tunneling, and (most importantly) that their contracting companies have experience building a hundred times.

2. Fantastic
If the building company in charge of your future abode allows for changes or upgrades, it will have most of them arranged in packages. Again, they don’t want to deviate too much from what they know works.

Let’s say, for the sake of imagination, they were on board with a secret passage. First, they would have you agree to fork over a few extra thousand. Then, their design team would create new blueprints that have to be approved all over the place (by the city, namely). Finally, you’d decide you need to scrap the idea because putting toilets in the house is probably a better use of your funds.

So much for a ball pit.

3. Affordable
Okay, so I knew building a house was probably expensive. I hadn’t ever planned on being able to do it in my life. Some stars aligned, and the husband got a bit extra from a contracting job, we sold our current place, and I was pregnant at the time so anything could have happened and I wouldn’t remember it.

I already mentioned the cost of package upgrades, though that was just the surface of an enormous iceberg populated by narwhals. EVERYTHING costs extra to touch. We’re talking countertops, cupboard exteriors (and the detail and stain you want on them), fixtures, carpet (or other floors), under porch cold storage, extra shower head in the enormous shower space, better landscaping than topsoil and a few flowers, windows and surrounds, ceilings, finished basement, kitchen appliances, etc. etc. etc.

Phew!

Let’s say you don’t listen to any sales pitches or wife beggings, and you go for the very basic price they advertised to draw suckers like us in. Still, there is most often a HUGE down payment required when you all sign the agreement. For our place, it was 20% of the house cost.

If your math is a bit rusty, that means you need to pay them $60,000 for a $300,000 house. Do you have $60,000 laying around? Better look into selling your hair. Maybe your teeth.

And, let’s just say you got past all that and made it into the house with all your stuff. You may notice that the basement is not finished, nor is the backyard, that your neighbors are walking all over the property line because you didn’t build a fence; AND they can all see you perfectly well because you need to buy window coverings, too.

Window

I understand The Dream, because I went through the whole wishing and house-building thing myself. (That’s how I got all this insider information.) My husband and I walked through existing houses, and just couldn’t help feeling the fresh draw of a completely new, clean floorplan. Why settle for an older domicile, when we *could* have this better thing?

Existing houses have their problems, but at least the blinds are already on.

And, even though our house is fewer than five years old, we’ve already had to replace the water heater, built-in microwave, and main sprinkler valve. The clothes washer dying was a bonus, not to mention the garage door mechanism.

Maybe someday we’ll recover enough to afford curtains over the blinds.

Fairy Tale Life

Once upon a time, there was a poor homemaker who barely had enough time to wash the clothes or dress her children. She never seemed able to sweep her kitchen floor.

One night, as usual, she cleaned enough dishes to make it through the following meal, dressed the children and got them to bed, then started some laundry and fell asleep quite late.

The next morning, she was surprised to find that a small army of ants had cleaned all the crumbs off the floor for her!

If you think she’s going to make them little outfits in gratitude, though, you’re reading the wrong fairy tale.