Monday, October 26, 2009

Indiana Dewey and the Can Opener

Had I known it was going to be this difficult...

Let me start at the beginning:

The earth was without form and...wait...not quite that far back.

Beloved was off on a ten-day adventure: spreading hope and joy and her newest CD ( to the waiting women of Indiana. Meanwhile, I was deeply entrenched in the final rehearsals for Giant Step Theatre's production of Sleeping Beauty, wherein I attempt to keep the storyline moving along while surrounded by 75 3rd through 9th graders.

The normal course of events when Beloved is away is for me to open a can of Skyline Chili, lovingly ladle it onto a pile of steaming spaghetti, crown it with a heaping helping of shredded cheddar, break out the oyster crackers, and indulge myself in what can only be described as a tantalizingly tasty triumph.

The reason this delectable delight is enjoyed only when Beloved is away is because the smell of Cincinnati-style chili gives her a serious case of the urlps.

So...because Beloved was away, I was driving home from work Wednesday and looking forward to my Skyline Delight when I realized that our electric can opener had flatlined and that our hand-operated can opener was AWOL.

"No worries," thought I, "I'll just swing into Walmart and pick up another can opener."

It was at exactly that moment that God looked down and said, "Oh yeah?"

I parked the car, hitchhiked the few miles up to the store entrance, was about to go inside, and then noticed a notice taped to the door: "Our credit card reader is temporarily down. We can only take cash or checks. Sorry for any inconvenience."

My first thought was, "Any inconvenience? ANY inconvenience? How about 'Sorry for how we have single-handedly guaranteed that you will be overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness?' That would be a tad bit closer to falling within the realm of accuracy."

You see, the last time I actually paid cash for anything was when I was buying tickets for the train ride to Lincoln's inauguration.

By the time I had trekked back to the car, my mood had lightened enough for me to come up with Plan B: Swing into Target and pick up a can opener.

I got to Target, got parked, got through the doors with no news about cranky card readers, and actually found the kitchen gadgets - hung on a wall with care in hopes that St. Chargalot soon would be there.

The display was neat, tidy, orderly...and totally confusing.

My usual whine about Target is that they carry a lot of items...that are identical to each other. For example, if I want to buy a plastic storage bin, I could go to Target and find plenty of storage bins, but only two different models from which to choose. Not so when it comes to hand-operated can openers! There were no less than seven models, ranging in price from 99 cents to 17 dollars.

"What's so confusing about that, Dewey?" asks an alert reader.

The source of my confusion was that Target went to great lengths to make sure I knew the difference in the can openers' prices, but did absolutely zilch to clue me in on why one opener cost more (or less) than the identically-looking one hanging right beside it.

Having no information upon which to base an intelligent decision, I threw the nearest Target employee against the display and purchased the model that did not fall to the floor.

I think I may start making all my purchasing choices that way, because the can opener worked great, and the Skyline Chili was heavenly.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Going to NYC can be an educational trip

Things I saw, heard, and/or learned on my recent trip to NYC and back with Beloved:

If there was an award for Best-Smelling Airport Rest Rooms, Milwaukee would win it.

It never hurts to ask about getting your plane tickets together. You just might end up in the wider, more-comfortable, leather seats without paying the extra 35 bucks apiece.

“Stand clear of the closing doors, please.”

Greek meatballs are really more like mini-brats…and they are AMAZING.

Apparently, NYC women aren’t content with boring their men by dragging them along while they shop for clothes. If the guys can’t come, they are forced to experience it vicariously through lengthy cell phone contact. (I’ve never seen a store filled with so many women flipping through dresses with one hand and pressing a phone to their ear with the other. No wonder the children were on leashes.)

Breakfast doesn’t get much better than a sausage, egg, and cheese on an everything bagel.

St. Paul’s Chapel is directly across the street from the World Trade Center site and is the oldest building in continuous use in NYC. George Washington spent some time there on his inauguration day. Its yard is full of tombstones…from the 18th century! (Can you tell I was impressed?)

Not everyone on Wall Street is trying to break the bank. I met some guys who were apparently trying to break their ankles by rollerblading on the marble benches.

Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs isn’t lying when they say they serve “the world’s best crinkle-cut fries.”

The stories about New York City cabdrivers not being able to speak English are not entirely true. They are quite clear when it comes to telling you how much you owe them.