Archive for January 2006

January 24th, 2006

And While You’re At It, Make Me a Sandwich

I firmly believe that one of mankind’s greatest inventions is the dishwasher. We always had one growing up. And my roommate Kymia and I were lucky enough to have one in our apartment in college. I have not had to do much hand-dish-washing in my life.

Most of the apartments for twenty-somethings in Raleigh don’t come with dishwashers. There’s a good chance that, when Steph and I get a place together this fall, we will not have one. I’m not worried, though. Washing dishes is my future wife’s job.

Yep, the woman can really wash dishes. I’ve tried to share this information with people on more than one occasion, but all I get is these horrified looks that read “I can’t believe what a pig you are!” You’re probably looking at your screen that way right now. I think I’m going to stop bragging to people about Steph’s dish-doing ability. I wanted to document it here first, though.

I guess when I refer to Steph and the dishes it sounds as if, even though I eat plenty of meals at her place and I’m always using her kitchen, she is stuck hand-washing all the dishes, all the time. And this is correct. But only because I am not allowed to do them.

The looks of disbelief that I get when people think I’m a chauvinist jerk are nothing compared to the one I got when Steph first saw me hand-wash dishes. Ok, maybe I did miss a spot here and there, I’ll admit it (in cleaning situations, I go for speed — I’m just trying to get things clean enough and get the whole ordeal over with). Also Steph got pretty annoyed at the water going everywhere. I have a sloshing problem, I’ll cop to that as well — when I’ve finished my last dish you have to wade across the floor and get a mop. Still I’ll argue to this day that with my method: a) you get done faster and b) given that the floor, counters, ceilings, etc. are all drenched it forces you to give everything a good once over. The whole kitchen gets cleaned!

Since that night, a few years ago, I have received approval to rinse and stack, so I stand at Steph’s side and do that. There is talk of me moving up to plates soon. It will be a long time before I’m allowed to clean bowls or cookware again. In order for Steph to accept that the dishes are done some specific rules must be followed, and I just can’t get the hang of them.

Mainly, the water you use must be hotter than fire. If you’re not sterilizing your dishes, how can you sure that every single foreign cell on that cup or bowl or spoon is dying a slow, agonizing death…? Yes, Steph is a bit of a germ-phobic. This is what gives her the power to plunge her bare hands into water that is practically boiling. I know I’m the man and I’m supposed to be the tough one in the relationship, but every time I come into contact with even a drop of her dishwater, I feel like bursting into tears. Meanwhile Steph’s in there going to town, her arms and hands glowing bright red. She scrubs with a vengeance and every single dish emerges in pristine condition. I’m telling you, she really is good at this.

With all the steaming water and intense movement, the kitchen stays pretty hot while Steph’s working. Basically, it becomes a sauna. I don’t do anything but stand there and watch and the beads of sweat just roll down my fivehead. (“Fivehead?” Yes, I don’t have a forehead like most of you do. Mine is much bigger. It’s a fivehead.) If you can’t stand the heat, I’ve heard you should get out of the kitchen, so I sneak away as much as possible. Steph is so wrapped up in smiting germs, it’s not hard. Then, however, I start to feel guilty for not helping in whatever menial way I can, so it’s back into the sweatbox for a while.

Anyway, this is why, in our relationship, washing the dishes is the woman’s job. However I’d like it noted that I do do my share of cooking and housecleaning.

And, of course, I handle all the “guy” stuff around the house. Which brings me to two more of mankind’s greatest inventions: the couch and beer.

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January 18th, 2006

Ya Know, For Kids

I don’t feel like I’ve really done these dogs justice. The update from last week was good, but there are so many nuances, so many subtleties, to their weirdness and ill-behavedness (hmm…is that a word?) that I couldn’t possibly capture them all in one sitting. However, rather than ask you to read another one of my long, rambling descriptions, why don’t you read Oliver the Ugly Dog Who Wouldn’t Listen, a “children’s book” which I wrote and illustrated for Kate for Christmas. Mainly, it’s about Oliver, but Poe makes an appearance too. Head over to my portfolio section and take a look. Perhaps, after you’ve read it, you’ll have a better idea of what type of animal my family owns.

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January 11th, 2006

Beware of Blog

Today I thought I’d give you a report on the Witchger dogs. Many of you have not met the Witchger dogs, I realize. All you really need to know is that these are two of the weirdest, most intellectually-challenged mutts in existence. Still, I’ll provide you with some more in-depth description….

Let’s start with Poe, my mom’s dog. Poe is big. Also, he’s quick, alert, and energetic. It seems like he’d be the perfect guard dog. Unfortunately, he is a gigantic baby. At the slightest noise or jerking motion, he runs off with his tail between his legs and attempts to get under my mom’s desk. Given that he is much too large to squeeze into this space, this is quite comical. Especially if my mom is at her desk trying to write. Regardless Poe is a long, tall German Shepherd/Lab mix, so he does look like the perfect guard dog…. Except for his ears. Poe has German Shepherd shaped-ears, but they’re way too big for his head. Think fruit bat proportions. And, rather than standing at attention, ready to catch so much as the snapping of a twig, they spend most of their time flopped over to one side or the other. Occasionally one will stick up, but the other always stays flopped, across the top of this head like he’s covering up his doggie-pattern-baldness, or out to the side, doing a Yoda impression. Either way, you can’t take him seriously. Anyone who broke into our house would, upon seeing these ears, burst into laughter…which would immediately scare Poe away. Also it’s easy to lose sight of how big and strong Poe is when he’s being bossed around by a furball one-eighth his size….

This would be Oliver. Oliver is the opposite of Poe in every way. Poe is huge; Oliver is the size of a large house cat. Poe looks well-groomed, sleek, almost regal; Oliver has bristly, pig-textured fur that, since he’s so low to the ground, is always filthy. Poe is all powerful, lean muscle; Oliver is a fatso. (When he begs for it, Kate feeds him at least half of whatever she’s eating…and this has been going on for years now.) Yet Oliver is the alpha dog. If Poe has a bone or toy that Oliver wants, for example, all it takes is a snarl, and Poe will leave it on the floor and dutifully trot off to try to fit himself under Mom’s desk again. Technically, Oliver (or “Little Bit” as we have nicknamed him) is Kate’s dog, given to her as a graduation present by my folks last year. But shortly after that both of them came home and were absorbed into the household. Still, each day, Kate devotes some of her time to picking Oliver up, cradling him in her arms, and saying things like “You are the king of this house. You are the number-one-cuteyest angel and you can do whatever you want.” I don’t agree with this sort of dog-spoiling, by the way. Whenever I see him, I make a point of picking him up and telling him he smells bad and he’s ugly, but I can tell he’s not listening to me. (This is the one thing these two canines have in common. Neither of them listen. “Stop barking!” “Come back here!” “Let go of that priceless antique you are chewing on!” Nothing. And it’s not that they don’t hear us. They hear us just fine, trust me. They just don’t listen.)

Recently I have let off Little Bit, though. He got beat up last week and he’s still recovering from it.

It happened while they were out for a walk. Just about every night Dad walks the dogs. Usually, it’s a pretty routine affair. He gets the leashes out, the dogs catch sight of them and go berserk — barking and running in circles and hurling themselves at the door, after a half hour of trying to cal m them down enough to get ah old of their collars he gets the leashes hooked in, and they’re off. Sometimes they’re out for 20 minutes, sometimes two hours. You can tell they’ve gone for a good long one when they come back panting and the drooling, with their tongues hanging out (especially Dad). Last Wednesday, however, Dad came through the door carrying Little Bit. He was bloody and, when he tried to walk, limped pretty badly.

Apparently, during the walk, a big dog had come flying out from behind a house and wrapped his jaws around Little Bit. “I must have kicked this dog in the nuts six or seven times,” Dad reported after they got back, “but it would not let go.” (Poe, by the way, had run to the opposite side of the street and was sitting there watching the whole thing.) Dad finally managed to beat the attacker off and had to tote Little Bit the rest of the way home.

The good news is, after a trip to the vet, it looks like Oliver is going to be just fine. He has to wear one of those giant plastic bowl collars for the next few days so he won’t chew out his stitches, but he’s gone about barking, and trying to slip out the door and escape, and bullying Poe. It’s funny; when you think about it, he’s basically wearing a big radar-dish around his head…. Actually, I bet he can hear us even better now. And he still isn’t listening.

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