As in "More Alarms at Night," in which a teenaged Thurber intrudes upon his sleeping father, a skittish man named Charles, because he can't recall the name Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Coincidentally, his father has just been frightened half to death by Thurber's brother, who had earlier stalked into his room saying coldly, "Buck, your time has come.":
"Listen," I said. "Name some towns in New Jersey quick!" It must have been around three in the morning. Father got up, keeping the bed between him and me, and started to pull his trousers on. "Don't bother about dressing," I said. "Just name some towns in New Jersey." While he hastily pulled on his clothes--I remember he left his socks off and put his shoes on his bare feet--father began to name, in a shaky voice, various New Jersey cities. I can still see him reaching for his coat without taking his eyes off me. "Newark," he said, "Jersey City, Atlantic City, Elizabeth, Paterson, Passaic, Trenton, Jersey City, Trenton, Paterson--" "It has two names," I snapped. "Elizabeth and Paterson," he said.
Anyway, you get the idea. One of my favorites (in addition to the rest of the story above) is ‘The Night the Bed Fell on Father’ where the story ramps up so that everything happens at once and no one knows what’s going on. One of the things they mention is an old song they had a record of called What Killed The Dog. The story is such that one thing leads to another, progressively getting worse.
Yesterday was that kind of day for me. It was just a bad day. I got a lot done, it was beautiful weather, but just one of those days.
First, I decided to bite the bullet and can the apple slices in extra light syrup like I’d been planning to. I got some gorgeous Grimes Golden apples, and I started the water to heat in the canner, with 7 quart jars. I used one of those handy apple slicers that core and cut 8 slices at once, then I peeled each slice, which went into an anti-browning solution. Then, into the extra light syrup to heat. I did enough for two quarts and started those processing while I cut up more apples.
Messy, sticky work. When I pulled out the jars, they started spewing hot syrup out the seals! I’ve never had that happen before (though I know why it happened now). I got out a cookie sheet and put the jars on and put them the only place I had space: on top of the bathroom sink.
To make a long story short, I wound up dumping about 3/4 cup of hot sugar syrup all over the toilet.
Then, I cut both my thumbs on the apple cutter through some overly aggressive cutting. I didn’t realize they were bleeding until I saw orange splotches on the cut apples.
After that, of course, I HAD to mop the floor because it was so sticky. So, I got out the mop and the bucket. I broke the mop.
I got out the duct tape and taped that damn thing back together and proceeded to mop the floor as planned. At this point I was getting grumpy.
Keep in mind that DH kept running through the house to the basement, too, to get another tool. Or he would come in to complain about his dad, who was supposed to help but suddenly turned into a 184yo man moving slowly and bent over at the waist as if in pain, instead of the 64yo healthy male that he actually is normally.
And in the very middle of my canning endeavors we HAD to run down to Lowes to pick up a scaffold that we could have gotten yesterday. Ahem.
After all the apples were canned (7 quarts), I took the compost out, tossed the compost, loaded up the ready compost, weeded the asparagus bed and composted it for fall. Then I went down to the house to wash my hands.
I scrubbed open the semi-healed burn I had on my knuckle. Yeowch.
Most of the rest of the day went OK. I pulled some carrots, de-wormed the broccoli, used the rest of the compost to repot the fig and then the very last remainder went on the onions. I pulled the remaining peppers and beans. I planted some of the ornamental grass. I went and talked to my neighbor The Pheasant Momma for a while, where I accidentally gouged my hand with a piece of wire.
Dinner consisted of two brined Cornish game hens on the grill with sliced sweet potatoes. And two hot mugs of cider and rum.
When I was getting undressed that night, I jammed one of my bra hooks into the cut on my thumb. Yeowch.
And when Matt came upstairs that night, he looked a little concerned and said: “There is a big roll of duct tape on the back of the toilet. Is there something I should know?”