Chaos Attraction

Potato Soup and the Annoying Doormat

2018-12-03, 6:19 a.m.

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Oooookay...now I need to catch up on the last week or so. Let’s say this entry should really be dated about 11/30 or so, eh?

Last Monday I went back to work after the rains finally cleared out all of the toxic smoke. Happily, things weren’t totally psychotic at work, so that was a relief. I managed to clear out my in-box and backlogs pretty quickly, and the most I ended up dealing with were angry internationals wanting everything NOW, which of course they couldn’t get and they didn’t know what had happened here and we weren’t at work to say. I was also waiting on Very Important Packages that happily did NOT end up being lost by UPS forever, though one was temporarily. So work actually went pretty well for my work.

New Boss has been lovely to me so far, and even said at one point that nobody should be yelling at me at work. (Though given that we serve and help people, abuse is...likely.) She also still wants to know what I’d like in an ideal job sometime, which makes me wonder how blunt and honest I can be on that topic. Can I actually say anything like, “Look, I know I have no choice about being on the phones all the time eventually but it really, really makes me wish I was dead and I went home and drank every night after every time I had to answer the phones in winter?” Probably not, right? Unfortunately it’s both too hard (with what is asked) and too much (i.e. way too many calls) for me to cope well. But...I have no choice there if I want to stay alive and employed.

Jackie is bugging me about job hunting and that’s reasonable, but every single freaking job wants me to be the receptionist and number one public line phone answerer no matter what it’s asking for otherwise (archivist? answer phones. data entry? phones. subject matter expert? phones. analyst? phones.) and, well...if it’s answering phones even MORE than I do now, that’s not an improvement. So I am just not dragging myself through all the damn job hunt e-mails when I hate everything I see. Feh. I think I will just stick with this for eternity.


In other news, the local Morgan I mentioned in this entry has finally (along with all four foster kittens) moved in with a friend and I am so relieved. I kept wanting to ask every week I saw her if she was still living in a car now that the cold season has struck--especially since one of the kittens is still perennially ill--but it seemed kind of rude on my part to do that. But someone else asked, “Are you still living in your car?” and she said, “nope, living with this friend I brought here” and I was all, WHEW.


One of the projects I’ve always wanted to do is a menorah. I’m not Jewish so I can’t justify it for myself, but I’ve always kinda been interested in the religion for some reason. And when Loretta had me over the other day and showed me her weird menorah collection, I was all YESSSSS FINALLY I KNOW SOMEONE WHO WOULD BE INTO THIS!!!!! So I ended up designing a menorah out of LED tealights and taper lights and floral foam and yarn all week.

(Though I felt a little bad when Dawn told me she’d made her a menorah last year out of plastic canvas and she didn’t think Loretta had liked it much and said she had issues with the base. Dawn found the pictures later and I think the base looks lovely and I see no issues with it.)

I made a “yarnorah” for Loretta for Hanukkah (it is slightly yarn-themed with crochet hooks tied into it and little balls of yarn on the ends) and she seemed to like it well enough when she got it. I designed it myself and it came out usable, so yay for that. I should also be working more on the shawl for the knitting group gift exchange, which is perennially iffy as I work on it somehow.


On Friday night, I went back to the Sacramento bookstore storytelling and poetry night, where the theme was “At the Table.” I had been racking my brains trying to come up with something for the last month on that topic because we don’t really have any crazy Thanksgiving stories other than the time my aunt told us all to stop talking about gross things and then started talking about a “fascinating massacre” in my uncle’s family. (Really, Aunt Susie? Really?) But last week Mom reminded me of the time I went to sushi in Oakland and had to get over being a picky eater really fast, so I ended up telling that story. It seemed to go over well enough, I think the audience and some folks in particular really related to being grossed out by food.

The best story of the night, though, was the potato soup story that Mary, the lady in charge of the storytelling half, told. I can’t tell it quite like she did, but I can give you a brief recap: Mary was working at an international school in Sacramento and the teachers were always having teachers’ lunches based on someone’s culture. Mary is of Irish heritage and she wanted to join in, so she told everyone she’d make Granny’s Irish potato soup and to not bring lunch, just bring a bowl.

So Mary was up all night cutting potatoes and onions and making a giant bunch of soup in a tureen or whatever. And she tasted it and didn’t think it had any taste to it, so she threw some ham* in there and that improved it. Then she realized the whole thing was too big to put in the fridge, so her husband was all “well, why don’t you just leave it out? It’s cold enough.”**

* I don’t know squat on cooking, but the part of the audience who did got the bad foreshadowing right there.
** Also bad foreshadowing. My mom was all, “I thought she’d have a cat get into it.”

So the next morning she packs the soup tureen into the car and notices that it is...bubbling and burping a bit. Which I guess is a sign of possible fermentation, so she goes to school and tries to heat that out of it in between classes. Which is not working. And it smells bad.
So she breaks down at the table and cries, and a Japanese teacher comes in and asks what’s going on. When Mary explains, the teacher says, “Let me work on it.”

Fifteen minutes before lunch, the bad smelling soup has been replaced with a bunch of Campbell’s potato that was gotten from the Smart and Final down the street. Face and Granny’s recipe reputation were saved, nobody got sick, and all was well. I freaking loved this story.

Oh, and I have to tell you about the damn doormat!

Mom came up to see this performance (she’s using up vacation time this week) and she uh, surprise brought along an unexpected present for me. Which is to say, I got in the car, she turned off the music and...”what’s that playing?”

It was “Jingle Bells,” coming from the trunk.

“Oh, I bought you a doormat,” she said. “It plays music and it was on sale for $3.”

I’ll bet it was on sale for $3.

It’s a motion-detector doormat. It lights up and plays music any time anything moves. Did I mention that we were in a car? So the thing was constantly playing and did not shut up for about longer than 1-2 seconds? All the way there and back?

I politely pointed out that my neighbors would kill me if they had to listen to this all the time. (I have had previous experience with motion detecting object. Uh, oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I had my back patio robbed while I was on vacation this year.) She still kept trying to talk me into keeping it. I finally said that well, maybe I could just leave it out on my back patio since nobody walks out there except me and it could be some kind of cheap security device*, and I briefly attempted to put the thing out there.

* I got a security camera from my ex-boss since the back patio robbery but still need to get off my ass and get an SD card to run it.

I haven’t mentioned that when I was home for Thanksgiving, I stole a Christmas light projector that Mom bought last year. I opened it up with the intention to set it up for her and then realized she has to have an outdoor power outlet in order to use it, which she doesn’t have and I do. I hadn’t mentioned that to her and suddenly had to, but she was totally and utterly fine with that.

But then I realized that it was going to rain tonight, which meant that rain would hit the thing. Not to mention that the thing would probably be set off when the Lawn Guys come and blow leaves constantly come every Saturday morning. So she reluctantly agreed to not make me keep it.


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