The Joy of Home Winemaking

Of Juice and Thrips and Ceiling Wax
February 1999

Laundry Tub Woes, February 1

Wholey Lefsa!, February 22

Title of the Month: Gender Vertigo

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Laundry Tub Woes
Monday, February 1

The cats caused the laundry tub to overflow the other day. In the past, Dover has been pretty good about letting us know when something is amiss in the basement, but not this time.

It started when Nelly upchucked on the front room mud rug. The rug was pretty dirty to start with; now it was disgusting. So I rinsed the worst off and put it in the washer with the appropriate additives.

I let it go through the wash cycle twice because, man, the rinse water was still filthy the first time. It's been a dirty winter.

Went back upstairs, sniffling pathetically, to nurse my cold. Some time later I heard a curious splashing sound and ran downstairs. Water all over the floor!

I had forgotten that Dover likes to roll on the front mud rug (probably to make up for the fact there is no outdoor dirt available to roll around in during the winter) and his hair had clogged up the both laundry condom and the tub drain.

The laundry condom (this is Denny's name for it) is a little tube of webbing with an elastic top that fits over the outflow into the tub, trapping much of the lint and hair that would otherwise clog up the laundry tub drain. It was packed full of Dover hair. But it still let enough hair escape to clog up the strainer in the tub as well. In addition to this, the drain in the floor was clogged with dust and hair and dead spiders.

Water everywhere!

So there I was, clearing the drains from the floor on up, with my own nose dripping in sympathy. It took several minutes to free the laundry condom webbing from its mat of hair. Normally, we just throw them out but there was no back up—and still a rinse cycle to get through.

I got the washer going again, mopped up what I could, threw away what seemed like a pound of lint and hair and went upstairs to find both cats sound asleep on the bed. They looked so warm and peaceful.

In revenge I thrust my cold wet hands in the middle of each furry ball and chortled evilly at their discomfort. But they had the last sneer—my hands got covered in hair. There is no justice, and the cats like it that way.


Wholey Lefsa!
Monday, February 22

Went up north to visit Denny's mother Myrtle for the weekend. She's 90, has all her brains, and although she's had a few bad spells recently and has a little trouble getting around, seems in pretty good shape.

Myrtle, her daughter Deanne, and I went for a ride on Sunday. Deanne guided me to the local ski area, called Detroit Mountain. It looks like a big hill to me. Does have ski lifts, and it's quite steep. I expect if one were going down it would seem more mountain-like, but hah hah, they'll never get me on a pair of waxed barrel staves again.

I tried once when I was about 12, on Mt. Hood's bunny slope, and realized that what I really needed was the turtle slope and a thicker pair of snow pants.

Went to the exotic Detroit Lakes grocery (I love going to other people's grocery stores) and entered our guesses on the huge frozen halibut on display. I guessed 73 pounds, based on scientific inspiration, fannish intuition and previous experience with large salmon. If I win, I don't get the halibut—only a color TV. Hardly seems worth it. The store was the only place I've been with more than two brands of lefse (sort of a Norwegian potato tortilla—quite tasty).

We drove around Detroit Lake, the town' namesake. The winter Ice Festival golf tourney was going on out on the ice. At leat 20 people were out there, bundled up, swinging golf clubs. There was also plenty of room for a zillion ice fishing houses and pickup trucks.

I casually commented that I had never walked on lake ice before, even though I've been in the state since 1983. Deanne said cheerfully now was a good time to do it, while the ice was good and thick.

I remembered the time as a teenager, when I tried walking on some river ice and sank hip deep in cold black mud out in the East Anglia fen land. It took me nearly an hour to free myself, and a couple of swans kept trying to murder me. I'm just not a fan of ice after that experience.

Oh my. I had to go or seem like a California wimp and lose face.

I rationalized that if I went under, Deanne might be able to winch me out again, and besides, there were all those pickup trucks out there, and they weren't sinking. If I did go under, it's a quick death. Denny's mother was diplomatically silent.

So I bravely parked the car and ventured out. Spotted a long narrow crack close to shore, but the tire tracks went over it, so I figured, oh, what the heck.

Didn't see any swans.

Went out about ten feet. Very much like walking on the snowy ground, which isn't surprising, since the ice was at least 2 feet thick. Stared at the people playing golf 100 feet out, and decided that was enough bravery.

So there you have it folks, I walked on water and lived to tell the tale.

Hope all is well out there. Take good care of yourselves.


Of Juice and Thrips and Ceiling Wax
1999: | Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec |

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Copyright 1999 by Terry A. Garey.