Wednesday, February 29, 2012

According to Rachel: "no pulling the wool over her eyes" edition

My friend Debby has four girls between the ages of three and ten.  She is very brave.  She often takes my girls for me so that I can do things without having to hire a babysitter, bringing the number of girls in her house to six.  She is very nice, and, quite possibly insane.

So, when she asked me if I could take her girls overnight so that she and her husband could go to Montreal for a 25th wedding anniversary party, of course I said yes.

At one point in the evening, I looked around at the living room, which was showing the effects of having several children playing there, especially the three- and five-year-olds.

Rae and Deb's oldest, Rebecca, were watching the TV.

Me: Hey, why don't you guys pick up some of the toys in here while you're watching TV?

Rae [conversationally, her eyes still glued to the TV]: That doesn't sound like fun.

Me [in a falsely hearty voice]: It can be fun, honest. Just think of it as a game -- the "Clean Up the Living Room Game"!

(OK, I realize that was really lame, but I figured it was worth a try.)

Rae [witheringly, and with air quotes]: Mum. Really? You could call it the "Super Fantastic Pizza Party Game" and it still wouldn't be any fun.

Me: Just pick up the toys.

Rae: I can't believe you thought we'd fall for that.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Oven, Toaster (2006-2012)

Suddenly, on February 23, 2012, after a short illness. 

It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of Toaster Oven.  Born in China, Toaster was shipped to Canada as a child, where he was adopted by the Lapointe family of Belle River, Ontario.  He relocated to our kitchen counter in Carp in 2010, where he worked, toasting bread, bagels and English muffins, and cooking many, many chicken fingers.  He will be sadly missed by Alison, Leah, Rachel, and the coffeemaker. 

In lieu of flowers, donations to the Element Replacement Society are appreciated.

(See, I really *am* the Angel of Death, Appliance Division.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Angel of Death, Appliance Division (Canada) revisited

This morning my friend Jen wrote a blog post about breaking her glasses and her cell phone.  She called herself Calamity Jen.  I can relate.  See, for a while, a couple of years back, I was the Angel of Death for appliances in my house.  They kept breaking.  And in all cases after the warranties had run out.

And then, after a while, the deaths stopped.  Life returned to normal.  I was lulled into a false sense of security.  But I think that the curse may be back.

New Year's Eve.  My house.  Ten-thirtyish.  Leah and her friend Alice (of the scary, barking iPod) were playing down in the basement, Rachel was already asleep on the couch, and I was reading in the living room.  Suddenly I could smell an unpleasant odor.  Like something burning -- a chemical, plastic stink.  I checked the candles I had burning.  Nothing.  I checked the stove/oven.  Off. 

Then I realized that the smell was coming from the dishwasher.  I opened it and a cloud of greasy grey smoke billowed out.  There, in the bottom of the dishwasher, draped like a Salvador Dali clock over the heating element that dries the dishes, were the remains of a plastic-handled pizza cutter.  Apparently the melting temperature of the black plastic pizza-cutter handle is greater than the melting temperature of the white plastic dishwasher enclosure, and it had melted a hole through the bottom of the dishwasher under the element, compromising the watertightness of the appliance.  And watertightness is kind of integral to the whole dishwashing experience.  Sigh.

Yes, the appliance Angel of Death has returned.  Her original adventures, from 2009, are recounted again here:

"So, you still, uh, reap around here, do you, Mr. Death?"

There are many questions that roll around in my brain when I wake up in the wee hours of the morning.

Did I close the garage door?

Do I have any clean underwear for tomorrow?

What was that noise? I'm sure I heard a noise. Did the cat make that noise?

Should I be worried that the people in Rachel's artwork look like acid-fueled Charlie and Lola stick figures with giant Monty Pythonesque stomping feet?

How am I going hook up the DVD player, the VCR, and the rabbit ears to a TV with only an antenna input? I could attach the rabbit ears to the VCR, and then run a cable from the RF output on the VCR to the antenna input in the TV, but what about the DVD player? And the switch box?

The last question is a direct result of my apparent debut as the Angel of Death, Appliance Division:

Last week, the dishwasher breathed its last. Two days ago, the hot-water heater ate the metaphorical salmon mousse. And yesterday morning, when I turned on the TV just after 5 a.m. to catch the previous night's The Hour while I sat and drank coffee made lunches for the girls and fixed my hair, all that lit up was a narrow band in the middle of the screen. The audio was fine, but the video was down to one line. It has joined the choir invisible. And the other, spare TV I had stashed in the basement doesn't have any AV inputs. Sigh.

 I don't think these deaths are coincidental. I'm very afraid for my toaster oven.

I'm going to need a scythe.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Bon Jovi probably didn't see this one coming

(This was not one of the deer we saw. I found this pic on Google.)

So, just past dusk a couple of nights ago, the girls and I were in the car, driving Kylah, one of Leah's friends, home from our house.  She doesn't live too far away -- a couple of minutes in the car, tops.  There aren't many street lights in this residential part of the village, and I slowed down when the brake lights of the SUV in front of me flashed red. 

I was wondering why he was stopping in the middle of the road, when my answer arrived in the form of two large does bounding over the snow bank and in front of the SUV and disappearing between two houses.  A third one trotted through the snow after the first two, and, tracing her path backwards, we could all see that one of the homeowners has set up a feeding station in their unfenced back yard.  Three or four deer were eating out of a trough underneath a suspended light, just perfect for viewing from a window.

"Well that's pretty stupid," I said.  "Someone is going to get into an accident trying to avoid one of these deer.  You look out for them on the outskirts of the village, but you don't expect to see them coming out from between houses.  People are going to get hurt."

"Deer, too," replied Kylah.  "Some poor deer is going to end up dead meat."

From the back seat, I could hear Leah singing something, and then a whole bunch of giggles from the girls.

"What are you singing?" I asked.

"Oh, just a Bon Jovi song," Leah answered.

"Really?  Which one?"

Leah [singing louder]:"♫This deer is just bad venison, bad venison is what I need. Eat it up just like bad venison, bad venison will give me disease.♪♫"

[hysterical laughter from the back seat]

Someday I will learn not to ask these kinds of questions.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Thank you. Come again.

Saturday was beautiful.  We got dressed in our outdoor clothes, bought some sunflower seeds to feed the birds, and headed out to the Jack Pine Trail in the Greenbelt

Rachel (to each chickadee who landed on her hand): "Thank you for dining at Chez Rachel.  Please come again."