Wednesday 07 Dec 2016

To the Plungers
Jennifer Flaten

Frigid, artic, wind-chill three of my least favorite words, but alas, I hear them a lot since; it wouldn’t be winter in Wisconsin without some combination of them, sometimes just for fun we throw in words like freezing, drizzle and whiteout. 

This week it is a veritable smorgasbord of winter words, including frigid artic air and wind-chill, all on the same day.

Why, taking the dog out requires bundling up as if I am going on a spacewalk. As if reading my mind, the dog demands to go out. What does the dog care if it is 20 below zero? She has a nice fur coat.

I grudgingly put on my winter woolies and step outside. Good news, I don’t immediately freeze solid-although, I think my left nostril did ice up. I am totally making one of the kids take her out next time (mom’s privilege).

I hustle the dog around the yard, we make a brief stop at the mailbox and then it’s back inside. One thing about the extreme cold, it makes the interior of my home seem like a sauna, instead of the frigid icebox that it normally feels like.

While thawing out I rummage through the day’s mail and find a notice from my doctor. Oh joy; it is time for my annual probing. Really, again, so soon: oh how time flies.

This time my letter cheerfully announces that now that I am over forty--let’s not be hasty I have 45 days left on forty here. Soon, I will be able to check the “over forty” box on surveys, just not yet.

I file the doctor’s notice in the “do not disturb” pile and move on. Now, it’s time to pay some bills. Is there anyone who does this cheerfully? I know I don’t, I do it with extreme frowny face.

This week’s bills include a bill for the playbook for the girls school play and here I thought drama would be “free” club. Apparently, in public school nothing is free. I also have to pay for the girls to participate in a choir ensemble program.

Again, I am the fool; I thought chorus would be a low cost after school activity. They already have their voice, I thought. What else could the children possibly need to join the chorus?

Ah well, so far, I’ve bought special T-shirts, black pants, black shoes song books and now the entrance fee to a sing off, think “American Idol,” but with classical songs and no Simon Cowell.

Bills grudgingly paid, I am off to do something glamorous. No. Not really. It’s time to fix the toilet-again. It is like old faithful, you can count on it needing “tweaking” every couple of days.

I can see your green with envy at my fantastic life…oh wait, you are actually more of a light blue from not breathing because you are laughing so hard…I see. 

You know how some people are born under a lucky star? I got the plumbing trouble star. Every single house we’ve lived in has something wrong with the plumbing. Had I known, I would have enrolled in a trade school to learn how to handle plumbing problems.

Currently, the only thing my skill set is good for is googling what’s wrong with the toilet/sink whatever. I can’t actually do more than poke at it with a sharp stick.

Usually, the thing wrong with the plumbing is its advanced age. Our current plumbing is this side of ancient. Therefore, it requires a lot of cajoling, sweet-talking, and occasional cursing to get it to do what it is supposed to do.

Well, at least it’s an inside activity.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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