Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Elephants, Eggplants, & Hogs - Oh My!!

Even after 20 years of living in Idaho, there are a few things that I still haven't adjusted to.  One of them is the county fair.  I just can't suppress the city girl in me enough to understand why anyone would be interested in knowing who can grow the most uniform vegetables or what kind of art you can make out of an eggplant.

Another event I can't quite get my head around is the livestock auction.  I mean, I understand it's value for kids, learning responsibility as they raise and care for an animal; and then realizing the fruit of their labor as they sell the animal and make a profit.  That's all about profit and loss.  I get that.

What I don't get, is spending three times the fair market value for pork chops that I can get at Costco without having to pay and wait for them to be processed at the butcher shop. So imagine my surprise last weekend when I found myself almost going home with a 230 pound hog. (That's what you call em at the fair--hogs.)

It all started with the elephant ears, and I fully blame my friend, Jennifer for that part.  She's the one that said we had to get them.  Anyway, I'll cut to the chase and say that we ended up with three elephant ears.  One for Jennifer, one for her husband, and one for The Pastor, our son, and me to share. We settled into the bleachers to watch the livestock auction with deep fried goodness in our hand and the smell of cows and pigs in our nostrils.  Speaking of pigs, and being that I am one, I single-handedly ate most of my family's elephant ear and a frozen pink lemonade to boot. 

The auction wore on (and on) and after awhile my stomach began to let me know that it did not appreciate being fed all that greasy, deep-fried junk food. It was about a gajillion degrees in the auction barn and I was getting hot and sick.  I eyeballed The Pastor's bidding number, which was laminated and just the right size for fanning myself, despite knowing the risk I would run waiving it around.  In desperation I decided it was worth the risk.  I would just hold it sideways while I fanned so the auctioneer couldn't read the number and I would fan very exaggeratedly so it was clear what I was doing.  That was my plan.

The next pig...I mean hog...came into the ring and the auctioneer started his work.  The crowd was noisy, guys were yelling out "hup" every time a bid was made, the auctioneer was rattling on, and I was fanning away.  Suddenly the guys stopped yelling and the auctioneer was asking where the highest bidder wanted to send the pig--hog--for butcher.  He was looking right at me.

My heart started pounding and I ever so slowly lowered my "fan" while continuing to use it.  Keep fanning, I told myself calmly.  Don't make eye contact. He kept looking at me.  Keep fanning.  Stay calm. I lowered the fan even more and kept my gaze firmly on the floor.  It felt like time stood still and I wondered how badly The Pastor was going to yell at me for this. 

When I couldn't take it any longer, I peeked up and looked at the auctioneer.  He was still looking my way.  I glanced over at The Pastor, who seemed completely oblivious to my plight, and then at Jennifer who didn't look all that worried either.  I was just about to ask The Pastor what I was supposed to do, when I noticed that the auctioneer wasn't looking at me, he was looking past me....at the man directly behind me....who had just bought the hog.

Next year, this city girl is skipping the elephant ears, the livestock auction, and maybe the fair altogether.  On second thought, maybe I'll just stay in the exhibit hall and check out all those lovely uniform vegetables.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Circus Is In Town

Last week while visiting my parents, my mom had a doctor's appointment so my dad and I sneaked off to the one place we only get to go alone together because my mom and The Pastor hate it--The Mongolian BBQ. 

We had a fantastic lunch (especially since we were able to eat it in peace without listening to our spouses telling us how much they hate it) and when we were done, I spoke words that cracked me up...."Dad, can you drop me off at the mall?"  I think the last time I can remember saying that, I was in Jr. High.

Mom was finishing up at the doc and supposed to meet me there, so at least  I wouldn't have to ride the public transit home.  That right there made it a better experience than my ones in Jr. High.

Once Mom showed up at the mall and we had sufficiently filled up on MyFroYo (good thing we don't have one of those where I live or this would quickly become a diet blog), we started the shopping in earnest.  Almost immediately I noticed a very strage phenomenon.  We would pick up an article of clothing and proclaim, "This is cute!", then we'd look at the tag and check the size--four.  Every single time, a four. 

When we'd look at the same thing in our own sizes, they looked like circus tents.  How come the exact same item can look different based on your perspective?  When I stepped back to examine, the clothes were identical. 

I'm starting to think I better take care when I evaluate the circumstances of my life and make sure I have good perspective before categorizing them as "good" or "bad".  Who knows, the circus just might be in town.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Drying Time

My clothes dryer works about the same as my blogging skills of late--not good.  I keep waiting for the darn thing to die so I have an excuse to get one of the new, fancy ones like all my friends have.  Last summer, I was sure I had my chance.  The dryer stopped.  No warning, no sounds, no half warm elements...just wouldn't turn on.  With my vast dryer experience, I excitedly could tell this was a big problem.  The even bigger problem (for me) was that my dad was visiting when this fortuitous event occurred and being the handy guy he is, he and The Pastor quickly diagnosed and fixed it. Dang.  

My particular issue tonight actually had a lot more to do with me than the dryer.  I've been crazy busy and slightly stressed this week as I've prepared to wrap up things at work and home so I can go on vacation.  The to-do lists have been long and the days even longer.

In between watering the yard and doing the dishes tonight, I remembered that I had a load of clothes to dry.  I set the dryer for the max time, 50 minutes, and went about my work.  A few hours later I realized I hadn't heard the buzzer, but I know that my dryer won't completely dry a load in one cycle (because of previously stated junkiness of dryer), so I turned it back on for another 25 minutes and went back to my work.

When the buzzer went off the second time, I heard it and rushed down to get the clothes out so that ironing wouldn't be added to my list of things to get done.  I flung the dryer door open and...it was empty.

I looked and found the wet load still in the washing machine.  As poorly as my dryer performs, it works even worse when you forget to put the clothes in. 


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