Saturday 01 Oct 2016

Rice
Jennifer Flaten

I’ve always liked rice; it is a wonderfully bland food; even my most meticulous kid will eat it. It also makes a damn fine pudding, but until this past weekend, I’ve never used it in any application that wasn’t food related. Then I dropped my phone in a puddle.

I blame the dog. The incident happened during our walk-which is also known as “wear the damn dog out so she doesn’t chew up my good shoes” time-I was juggling the dog leash, the dog accessory bag-it contains just what you think it contains-and my phone.

Everything was fine until the dog spotted a squirrel. She gave a big tug and caught me off guard causing me to let go of the phone. Plop, went the phone right into a puddle.

A puddle, it hasn’t rained for a week, this is the only puddle in our entire neighborhood and now it contains my phone.

I fished the phone out and started praying to the god of electronics. I prayed that even though the phone clearly landed pool of water that it didn’t get wet. Maybe, just maybe when I wasn’t looking magical little elves sheathed my phone in an invisible plastic sleeve. Maybe I would pull it out of the water and it would be perfectly fine. Maybe the dog would win American Idol next season; oh, who is kidding whom, I am so screwed.

The dog and I broke the land speed record getting home. Once there I tenderly wrapped my phone in a towel and promised it ice cream and balloons if it would work. I turned it on and it started up. For just a moment, I had a flicker of hope that it wasn’t DOA. Then the screen flickered and went black.

I might have cried a little. I need that phone, not because I am some technology obsessed geek, but because I am a mom. That phone represents the only way my children have to get in contact with me.

When we moved, we decided to forego the landline. Now I was standing there, cursing my decision to go “cell only,” with a soggy phone and waves of “mother guilt” crashing over me.

I was convinced that at that moment one or all of the kids desperately needed me and would not be able to reach me. Of course, they have an alternate emergency number…but still I am the same person who shows up about 10 minutes early anytime they need me to pick them up. Not being available made me few twitchy.

Some people could rush right out and buy a new phone. I am not one of them. My choice was try something, anything to fix the phone or live without one for quite some time.

Googling “wet phone” showed me that phones end up in the water a lot and that rice is what most people recommend. Okay, so rice it is. Really, what was there to lose? My phone was messed, already; this couldn’t make it any worse. Next big decision, do I use long grain rice, brown rice, Minute rice. If I use Minute rice, would my phone dry faster?

I stuck the phone in a bag of long grain rice. The directions said to leave the phone in the rice for 24 hours. 23.5 hours later I pulled it from the rice, reassembled it and Hot DAMN! It worked.

When I took the dog out for a walk later that day, I made sure to tuck my phone snuggly in my hoodie pocket. I wouldn‘t want it to fall into another puddle. First time I bent over to clean up after the dog it slipped out and landed in the grass.

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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