Dusting the wheels on the fridge-a true story

Sayings that take on a life of their own

It is my observation that families and/or people who have known each other a long time and shared many experiences end up with some unique words or phrases in their vocabularies.  The phrase might be the result of someone making a mistake in the use of a word…or an idiom gone wrong and then over time the phrase becomes normalized within the group or family.  In fact it becomes so “normal” that it’s used without thought or thinking that you might need to explain the phrase to those who aren’t aware of the history.

In our family a few of those off-kilter phrases are:

  • If you give a man an inch, he’ll take a rope RATHER THAN if you give a man an inch, he’ll take a mile.  A mistake someone made once in the presence of my mother and so 60 years later, the phrase lives on in our vernacular.
  • Pronunciations we know are wrong but we use them either for effect or automatically leaving the listener wondering about knowledge our grammar. One such word is fingernilefail RATHER THAN fingernail file.  
  • </. Our mother used the former and now I have to think hard before using the word at all.

    And so we come to Dusting The Wheels On The Fridge. Years ago when we were invited to our dear friends' home for dinner we arrived to find them in the middle of a marital "discussion". It went something like this-he felt they should be focussing on the dinner party preparations for the evening. She (according to her husband) was spending the limited time cleaning things and doing tasks that were not on the critical path to a successful evening. He coined the phrase and asked her to stop "dusting the wheels on the fridge!"

    It is a phrase we have used since. And one that rings so true for me- particularly when I am going away for a bit. Instead of focussing on the packing or preparing I suddenly have a need to send cards I should have sent weeks ago or finish all the laundry (even if not needed for the trip) or phone someone or or or.
    A true story and recently born out yet again as I readied for a few days away. Is it just me who is compelled to dust the wheels on the fridge at the least appropriate time?

    Do you have sayings and words that are unique?

Green Thumb-ninety five bugs, no worms and two babies

How did we get to this point on “the farm”

We embarked upon this community gardening project about three months ago…well we fell into it actually, it wasn’t a planned-for-a-long-time thing.  It was more a crime of opportunity.  We saw the ad for community garden plots one day and the next day we signed up.  Then we waited and waited and waited for it to be dry enough to turn over the soil so we could plant.  When that finally happened we went to town and put seeds in the ground.  While it’s only mid-July, we are beginning to reflect on what’s grown, or not, and what we might do next year.  Why didn’t the lettuce come up?  Just what is eating the zucchini?  Did we really plant spinach-there’s no spinach?  Why did the Detroit Red beets come up but not the Golden Beets?  Next year we will do some things differently.  

Farming is always “next year” country

Growing up on a farm, there was the saying “next year country”.   You would hear :

  • It’s dry this year but next year with a little moisture we could get a good crop.  
  • The grasshoppers are bad this year but next year we’ll spray earlier and that should hold them at bay.  
  • The barley (or wheat or oats) didn’t do that well this year but it has been an unusual year and next year should bring us back to a good growing season.
Where do the bugs come from and where did the worms go
Potato bugs: We declared war on the potato bugs.  I went from the YEWWWWW of knocking them on the ground and then grinding them between two hard surfaces to squishing them left and right between my gloved thumbs and forefingers.  I became a two-handed squisher.  My gardening partner squished, she removed their eggs, she left no leaf unturned.  One day last week I squished 95 bugs in one visit!  Now suddenly (if you can say suddenly after you’ve killed hundreds and hundreds of them) their numbers are way down.  Is it too soon to declare victory?  
Earth worms: Earth worms are good for your garden.  When we were planting we found one earthworm.  And it seems he must have just been passing through.  We just didn’t see he had his suitcase with him as he made his way to some other garden plot.  And that’s all we’ve seen.  This is not good.   NEXT YEAR we will advertise in the 2012 earthworm travel guide:  Come and stay at our garden plot. Under new management as of 2011.   Stay rent free!  The dirt is freshly ‘amended’ (the fancy gardening word should attract a good worm base), there will be regular water and robins are banned from the premises.    
We are enjoying our time in the fresh air-bent over pulling at the robust crop of weeds. Why won’t spinach even dare to root in our soil while the grass and untold unwanted plants have roots that go half way to China.  Our garden doesn’ t look as good as many (this year) but we are marvelling at what wondrous things are happening.  Flowers on the potatoes, fennel showing up, cauliflower heads taking shape, cabbage….not tood good .well let’s just say NEXT YEAR we will start many plants indoors.
We thought we would go to the garden once a week but we find ourselves drawn there most mornings.  Once we rein in the weeds, maybe we won’t go there so often…but then how will be able to watch the progress?  And today….today we noticed two babies.  We cooed at them as you would an infant.  There they were in the bright sunshine two little sunburst squash!  Gosh, we may have something THIS YEAR!

A July afternoon.. from the other side of the desk….

How great is this?

I do hope to maintain, for a long time, the sense of winning a lottery when it comes to having more time to do whatever comes next.  With three plus months now between me and full-time work, I remain surprised by the world that goes on beyond the day to day office atmosphere.  Who are all these other people?  There are so many of them out and about during the day.  Don’t they have jobs?  And why are they on the golf course so early in the morning…they should hold off on their tee time until my playing partners and I are well down the course.  

The best laid plans of mice and men….Simply Biscotti Project off track

I had visions of eating my way through the dessert counter at Simply Biscotti, a local bistro in Ottawa, by visiting weekly and knocking off a new dessert every week.  Not so.  It seems that with one thing and another-gardening, golfing, a little contract work, cycling, lovely social gatherings, visits with friends and such-weekly visits have not been the order of the day..or order of the week in this case.  Well, really, what does it matter that the initial project plan is off a bit.  It would appear I am over committed-or whatever that term is in project management.   It means that the Simply Biscotti project will last longer.    More time to savour and to enjoy.  Recently a friend and I met and I tried a new addition to the treats, a Red Velvet cupcake.

They seem to be all the rage, these things.   I am ok with them overall-the icing makes the whole thing in my mind.  With this one, the cupcake was light and the cream cheese icing delicious.  The icing made the creation top heavy and after a few bites, the whole thing toppled over and onto the table!  The three second rule was called and the dessert eaten.  

July afternoon transportation

In attempt to manage the equation of calories taken in and calories burned, a bike ride to and from eating a cupcake makes some sense.  On a July afternoon then you can take along a book and stop along the way to read “WordPress for Dummies” with the hopes that you will learn some new thing about blogging.  How great does this look….serene, I’d say.

And there you have it

And so that’s one July afternoon-from the other side of the desk.  Oh, wait.  There is no desk!  

The Wit of Appliances

I know a man who, upon occasion, uses the phrase “it is a truth”.  Curious phrase but it serves to give credence to whatever will be said next.  And so, it is a truth that household appliances and to some degree farm machinery possess some sort of inanimate sense of humour and a desire to make humans look stupid.  Someone should do a study, a trial to bear this out.   It would show this is a true story.

Farm machinery humour

I grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan where, starting well before the legal driving age, you were operating farm machinery.  This included all manner of tractors and machinery that hooked on behind-seeders, cultivators and rodweeders, swathers and combines.  I remember clearly on more than one occasion where something would break down when I was operating it.  A sudden grinding sound or a gauge that showed over-heating and I would stop things in their tracks and wait for my father to show up so we could fix things.  Eventually he would come to check on me (this is pre-cellphone days of course) and when I explained what was wrong he’d do a test drive and there would be no sign of any trouble.  It’s my belief that when the machinery sat out in their little commune on the edge of the field they would speak amongst themselves and say “let’s make Barb look as if she doesn’t know what she’s doing”.  And they were very successful.

Home appliances scheme

In our married lives we have had about three sets of home appliances.  I mean large appliances, as in fridge, stove, dishwasher, washer and dryer. When you buy things at the same time, some say they wear out at the same time.  That’s not really the way it happens.  The appliances speak amongst themselves too.

If one appliance has an ailment and a repair person is called then the other appliances think that they might need some pampering and attention too and soon they break down.  We once had a repairman in to fix our stove.  While there he noticed the make and model of our dishwasher and he said he was surprised to see it was still working for the model was a lemon.  That dishwasher heard that and within a month it broke down.  We have learned through that experience you should never speak ill of an appliance while in its presence.  

Over the last year or more our geriatric washing machine seemed to be making louder and louder sounds while it continued to work very well.  About three weeks ago, over morning coffee, my husband said it might be time to think about replacing the washer.  I told him he shouldn’t say things like that-the washer could hear him and think it was time to break down.  My husband said there was no chance the washer heard him-there was too much other noise in the house at the time and the door to the laundry room was closed.   It was less than two weeks later the motor on the washing machine seized up, the breaker blew and it was time for a replacement.  Here we are now, ten days later and today a new washer and dryer were installed.  We’ve done our first loads of laundry.  The machines beep and whir and chime.   At this point we need to stand there with the instruction book in order to operate the washer and dryer.  The book says if you are having trouble with the dryer you can call the repair service and hold the phone up to the dryer and it will transmit information on its malady!  Seems to me with this new generation of appliances we really will not be able to speak about their health in front of them-they might just call the repair service and lodge a complaint of maltreatment!