Monday, May 12, 2008

Kiera Knightly Did it!

Back in September when I was looking for my (now) house. My realtor and good friend Emma Faris told us her three good luck charms of a house are, A laundry shoot, a built in pencil sharpener and a built in bottle opener. When I first toured my now home, after close inspection we discovered this house had all three. We already knew the laundry chute existed, but we were in the basement when we first discovered the pencil sharpener and joked wouldn't it be fun if there was a bottle opener too??? As we rounded the corner there it was just on the other side of the wall where the pencil sharpener was. And as luck would have it both in the basement right where the laundry chute expels its wares. We couldn't help it we all had to cheer. This was a sign. Kind of like in "Under the Tuscan Sun" when the bird poops on the lady looking at the house. And in Italy if a bird craps on you it's a sign of good luck, she got the house. Kind of like that but much less messier, I decided this was the house.
It took me a while to realize in my perfect little good luck charm of a house that, I was putting things down the chute but they weren't landing in my laundry basket below. In fact I didn't realize until I started really running low on apparel, both for O and myself. So the next time I tossed my towel in I listened for the familiar thud. No thud. I stuck my head in as far as I dared and could not see down to the bottom. In fact I saw my towel. I reached in and grabbed it. And then I grabbed another. Uh oh I'd better go get a tong. So I ran down stairs and grabbed my little tong, reached in pull out a pair of O's jammies and her trendy pair of grey skinny jeans from H&M, but accidentally manage to push the rest of the clothes down just out of my reach. One more loooong stretch oops I dropped my tongs. I could feel it though there was more, I have a longer tong. I'll just go get it. So I run back downstairs to grab my longer set of bbq tongs. It works I get O's sock and some undies but manage to shove the rest in even further, but not before dropping my second tongs. Ok there is pretty much no way I am going to be able to get the rest of these clothes out the top. I'll just shove it down. It just needs a really good shove. The problem is, the chute is narrow with an awkward angle so a good shove is harder to come by than you may think. I tried the long arm of a vacuum cleaner too long and not flexible enough. Oh I know a fire poker perfect! Ok note to self whenever you think it's a good idea to use a fire poker when it's something that doesn't involve fire, don't. Just don't. But I did and yep I lost it down there. How many times does it take me to learn my lesson?? Many. Some lessons may have yet to be learned. Ok the only thing that is going to work is if I throw something really heavy down there like a bowling ball. I don't have a bowling ball. I hate bowling. Or even better my dutch oven. Oh no I cannot risk losing my dutch oven in there. ahhhh weights. My two eight pound weights. That should move that little clog no problem and if not well I guess I wasn't really using them anyway, I'd moved on to the twelve pounders (j/k dude but don't I look ripped?) Down the hatch they go simultaneously. I flinch waiting for the crash. Nada. Not even a thud. Ok this isn't working. Next plan wait for the seasons to change and the metal on the chute might expand letting all of the clothes pass though naturally. Just as in the cycles of nature this too should just take care of it's self. I can pretty much justify anything. This is my way of saying F it. I'm going to Cabo and don't have time for this and don't need any of that winter wear anyway. Nine weeks pass and we return. Spring was supposed to show up about a week ago but apparently over slept. There was still snow on the ground and now I really needed that stopped up clothing. There was only one last solution. Call Michael Rottschaefer. If you know me or anyone in my family you know Mike. My family would not function without him. He's my brothers friend from high school but to us he is so much more. To us he is our household savior. Without him my mother, sister and I at one point may have all been living by candle light as he's in charge of all the high light bulbs and they are almost all high. I once confessed to my sister that the only two drawbacks to being single is that I have to change my own light bulbs and I don't get to have sex. Everything else is pretty much great. Mike takes care of the light bulbs and apparently clogged clothes chutes. So I called him and I gave him fair warning. I thought he might want to bring a helmet, or he could borrow mine, the one I use for cooking (keep up people). I honestly was afraid he might get knocked out by the weights and end up with a fire poker in his head.
I love Mike because when I told him of my dilemma he just says something like "hmmmm interesting, I'm going to think about that and see what I can come up with". Not "Oh hell no lady there is no way I'm going near that thing and neither is anyone else with half a brain, you are SOL in a couple of years your clothing reminants will fossilize and then you might have something worth digging for." Did I mention my daughter LOVES him. She knows. Sometimes when I'm messing with something some what technical and seem to be struggling (which I usually am it's an inherited trait), she say "Stop mom! Have Michael Rotchshay fix it." She's right. This time Mike came over armed with an extenda pole with a hook attached to the end of it. From here I really think the video should speak for itself. Next to Indiana Jones it is the craziest thing you will see this summer. Ok so maybe not but if Indiana Jones is the craziest thing you really do do this summer this probably is a close second. Uh oh guess not. I tried downloading my little film about 6 times but to no avail. So long movie short, about twenty items of clothing came down when hooked by Mikes contraption. Then we heard an odd rustling which he finally got a good grip on and when it dislodged down came crashing the rest of the goods. The culprit? An Elle magazine with Keira Knightly on the cover of it stopped up over two weeks of clothing. Little hussy I never did like her anyway. And look at what she made my precious little daughter do! I'm sure Ophelia didn't mean to throw the magazine down the shoot. It was all the social pressure. It was just Ophelia's way of bucking the system. Down with unrealistic model types, toss em in the chute. I'm so proud she's all ready got a bit of social protest. Good girl baby don't let that creepy Keira get you down before you send her down with our dirty laundry. How poetic. Or maybe she just thought it looked like a fun to throw something down the chute.
Little did I realize that a two year old and the laundry chute may present more challenges than expected. I am now realizing that each household lucky charm may represent a different stage of my child's wonder years. The two year old stuffing up the chute. The eight year old breaking off her pencil in the wall attached sharpener and the fifteen year old cracking a cold one downstairs and didn't think I'd notice. Oh I'm gonna notice. It may have taken me 3 months to blame Keira Knightly for this whole chute incident but believe you me, I got to the bottom of it. That little pirate is going down! And don't even tell me that is your first beer! I Know little Jimmy told you to down it and then play spin the bottle. Oh baby you don't even know what that means let me protect your little mind. JIMMY YOUR TOAST!
Keira's out, Jimmy's toast and I've got my winter clothes back. Three cheers for Michael Rotchay!..fer!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Sweet Moves




I realize that so much of life is about the little things. I often get caught up in the grand adventures. Always looking for my next big story. But so often and even more so since Ophelia came on the scene, my world has grown so much smaller. Not narrow, I just now have started to appreciate more of the day to day events. Little things that just make you happy. After spending so many weeks in Mexico focusing on my great adventures and action packed lifestyle I am almost relearning how to appreciate my day to day. Being with Ophelia makes that so easy. She is the silliest kid on earth. Today she found our bike helmets. She is obsessed with bikes and I need to get her one asap. But until I do she's more than happy to wear her helmet around. But of course I had to wear mine too. So I wore my helmet today while making dinner and she made me pretend tea. I'm sure if John the neighbor was peeking across the way and into our window he'd be quite curious what sort of concoction I'd been cooking that required a helmet. It takes an Ophelia to show you that the best dinner is made with a helmet on.

I am now solid that I will be spending my summer here in Minnesota and then most definitely not in the fall (hows that for cryptic). But I am in the practice of trying to appreciate Minnesota to it's fullest this spring and summer. And so far I've come up with quite a few things. First of being the sun and nice weather. I know we all appreciate that. But with these things comes the first sprouts of my gardens. This is very exciting and intimidating. Because also with the sunshine comes my neighbors all of which tell me how magnificent my gardens are, and how Greg and Allen did such a beautiful job. I'm thinking I'm a little out of my league here. First of all I'm not gay. We all know there is a certain stereotype that points to many of a certain persuasion having a strong affinity for expert housekeeping and the upper hand on the green thumb practices. That stereotype does not pertain to one single mom, who's idea of housekeeping is being out of the house as much as possible so I don't have to deal with it, open some windows and hope it all blows away. Ok not really but if I could get away with it I would. However, I do like gardening, (it gets me away from the house stuff) but these gardens are award winning. Seriously when I first looked at the house they had their awards out on the table. To make matters more intimidating the old home owners are friends with my next door gaybors and visit them often. I mean I have so many questions. Do I mulch EVERYTHING? Whats a weed and what belongs? Which side is the gaybors and which side is mine? Where do we draw the line? Do I mulch just half the garden and leave the other side? What does mulch do. It sounds like a cowboy word. "I'm goin' down to dirty mulch to fetch me some gaybors ya comin' Tanto?" The truth is I just want to be accepted. The lesbians down the road already love me. I think we should be best friends but the gaybors are tougher nuts to crack.

That is another thing that spring brings that I am beyond excited about. Fresh, seasonal fare. I was in Whole Foods the other day and saw ramps. I get really excited about these things. I started not quite shouting but not quite not either. "Oh my gosh they have ramps. Really already? Yes ramps! I'm so excited. Ophelia look they have rampssssss....."oooops that's right I'm in public. But seriously I wanted to drop everything and give the produce section an impromptu lesson on the glorious ramp. Since I couldn't do it there I'll just sing their praises quickly here. Ramps are almost like wild garlic. They smell like garlic but are much softer. They look like a green onion but you can cook the whole piece root to tip. The greens are almost like spinach. One of my favorite local restaurants the Craftsman which also happens to be two blocks from my house, was also celebrating the ramp and had them all over the menu. Their season is short so I guess we wild and crazy chefs put them in everything we can get our hands on. I had also ordered the pork rillets which are amazing and so full of flavor. I saved half of them because I always thought they would be good in eggs. So what do you think I had for breakfast this morning??? That's right ramps and rillits eggs. Sounds so very British doesn't it. "Mummy please pass the ramps and rillets". "Not till you've eaten your banga's and mash". I do spend quite a bit of time alone.
Its getting warm so we are spending lots of time outside. I've been for a walk or run every morning that the sun shines. Now that I live right be the river I run down the parkway towards the U. And if I'm there at the right time I get to see the UofM crew teams out for practice. I decided that if I were to stay in Mpls for quite some time I would take up crew. I've never even been on our river and I am such a water sport person. I can imagine rowing with a bunch of gals in the early morning on the misty river and seeing all of Minneapolis and St. Paul come alive from the lower perspective of the river. Somebody told me they don't think they have an old lady crew its just for the students. I was kind of offended but then I heard they did have an over 25 crew and if that is old lady count me in. Little bastards trying to make me feel old. I don't think I'll have time for it this year so for now I'll just appreciate the from the banks above.

Another piece of summer that I am really looking forward to are my trips. I am finally wrapping my head around the fact that there is more to life than just Mexico. There is France and Chicago too. I have written our French friends and told them that I am now SCUBA certified and would be up for a dive or too. Suzanne wrote back and said the Jean Paul has a boat and will take me out diving around the islands. Jean Paul was the first person that I ever went diving with. It was just a little taster, no deeper the 30 feet for 30 minutes but in that time I had an octopus whip out a tentacle from a crevice and wrap it around my arm then escape though ink blotted waters. Hooked. The Octopus is my animal. When we got out of the water we saw a man in a wet suit with a knife and a belt full of octopus. Now that's my kind of eating. I totally need to be an aqua huntress. I just don't know if an I could kill one of my own kind. Did you that an octopus has three hearts? I don't have three but I have one really big one.... Or maybe it was three stomachs, well either way.
I also have a ladies trip to Chicago planned. This is just a weekend get away but for as long as I have had all of these friends I think the last time we did anything remotely like this we went to my dads cabin as a planned ladies weekend. achem. Ladies comments??? Ok let this just be said. Heather's a bad ass. Angie the lake is right....oops in front of you. This is a little bit of a different group just because it has morphed that way but it still comes from the same roots and I am expecting a rocken good time. Though this time if anybody falls in the lake it will be lake Michigan and that wouldn't be so good. All I can say is that trip to my dad's cabin on Elbow lake formed bonds to never be broken and friendships remain steadfast though a continent apart. I'm not putting that expectation on Chicago but when you get a bunch of super awesome women together for such a trip it's pretty hard to avoid. ooooo I almost forgot about Mazatlan...but we don't talk about that...do we ladies.
And one last little appreciation before I end this little article. It is again of my daughter who has now taken up the practice of singing at the top of her lungs. The other day we were in Target picking out Confirmation cards for my niece Susannah and she just busted out with "Your attitude towards cuttle fish could be improved if that's your wish. I'm not forcing youuuu." It's her fave song on her kids tape. I have no idea what its supposed to mean but it sure is catchy. We both sing it in the car. She also likes to play the cutting board (guitar) while she sings and then show off her sweet break dancing moves. Video taping this was the highlight of my afternoon. She enjoyed the performance but insisted on seeing the video each time. Then creating a repeat performance with even more passion than the last. I think we may have a starlet on our hands. video