Tuesday night is always a little hectic around la casa de Puddin. Princess Puddinette has some form of dance class (ballet? ballroom? salsa? Who can keep them straight?) which requires me to leave work a smidge early and get dinner rustled up, in time to deposit the older two boys at their weekly Cub Scout meeting after dinner. In other words, on a normal Tuesday, the Family Truckster gets plenty of exercise buzzing about to and fro, with the dropping off and the picking up and the ohmigodwhendidIbecomeacliche!
*takes a breath*
Sorry, sometimes, it’s just, you know, BAM!
Anyway, so that’s a good Tuesday. Crazy, but manageable. The manageable part is bonus, obviously, because as I tried to make abundantly clear in yesterday’s post, I need to buckle down and get that editing done.
So, then, the plan was simple: after assorted child deliveries and pickups and dinner, the kids would be ushered through shower time (did I mention Wednesday is Picture Day?! Huzzah! But that’s another post) and then I’d get to editing.
Just before dinner, all was well; everything unfolding according to plan.
But then I foolishly choose to use my garbage disposal while I waited for the cornbread to come out of the oven.
For the uninitiated, a garbage disposal is a nasty piece of work, a medieval system of wicked iron teeth and whirring doom. This device’s sole responsibility is to keep me from having to dump broken eggshells, un-eaten Brussels sprouts, and discarded potato peels into the trash cash so that one’s kitchen might avoid developing odors consisted with Uncle Frank’s stockinged feet.
No one wants to live in a Febreeze commercial.
Much to my chagrin, though, our evil garbage disposal chose that very moment, on the precipitous brink of the Great Tuesday Night Relay, to be the first time in the entirety of the years we’ve lived in the house, to gum up. Stuck. Stopped in its tracks.
As two inches of water gurgled back at me, impotently from the drain, I could nearly hear the disposal’s throaty voice deep below chuckle, "None shall pass."
Give it a second to settle? Some of the water drained, hurrah! Let’s try it again…
"None shall pass."
Ok, then, so this development changes the evening plan somewhat. Still, you have to be flexible. So, then, the plan now is: kids, dinner, kids, fix disposal, showers, bedtime. Plenty of time still to get my edit on.
I just needed a plunger, maybe, to suck whatever was in the disposal up.
For the record, that means a new plunger. Nothing that’s ever been on, in, or around a toilet will ever come within 10 feet of my food prep area. That’s just…wrong.
Of course, we don’t keep an extra kitchen-only plunger around, because, well, first time, remember? Also, who keeps an extra plunger? Hoarders, that’s who.
You know who has cheap plungers, though? The dollar store. They have cheap everything. I bet Hoarders like the dollar store, come to think of it.
At this point, the evening plan is now looking like: kids, dinner, kids, dollar store, fix disposal, showers, bedtime. *whew* Okay, fine, everything can still work out.
But, of course, it didn’t stop there? Thankfully, "kids, dinner, and kids" went by like a charm, and the dollar store visit was downright cheetah-paced. Once back home, though, cheap plunger in hand, the Sink o’ Foulness stared back at me derisively. The same challenge rang in my head.
"None. Shall. Pass."
So I struck forth with my trusty plunger, pushing, prodding, pulling, pumping on that obstinate disposal drain. Nasty water sloshed back and forth, bits of unrecognizable horror—was that a lime peel or a army man’s leg?—flew through the air, splattering the kitchen wall with signs of our desperate struggle. Finally, out of breath, I withdrew my weapon of suction with a soft, "pop!" and slumped backward.
"None. Shall. Pass."
Weakened, but still resolute, I retreated to the garage and regrouped. Minutes later, I returned, ready to bear the big guns.
Ready to wield The Tools.
With wrenches and pliers, I dug below the evil sink’s soft, unprotected underbelly, and wrenched its drains apart, one piece of PVC at a time. Finally, the disposal belched forth a mass of foulness (thankfully, into a well-positioned bucket), and finally, the Dark Knight of the Disposal was vanquished.
Pass this, jerkface.
It was then merely only a few minutes past bedtime, but the kids didn’t mind—which is to say they lurked about quietly as I fought. I suppose they probably hoped I might "forget" bedtime altogether. Not so, much to their chagrin. And there was still plenty of night remaining for edits.
Half an hour later, after stories were read, foreheads kissed, and blankets tucked, I walked past the door to the master bedroom on my way to my word processing.
And that’s when the Puddinette snared me.
No, not in a fun way.
"What’s wrong with the TV?" she asked innocently.
Already weary from my epic plumbing battle, I stepped into the room with a heavy sigh and cocked my head in the direction of the television. Great waves of static met me, and the sharp piercing cry of interference filled my ears.
The noise was so terrible and great, bats would have flown into each other like they do on Scooby-Doo whenever Fred whistled.
Fix it quick. Get to editing. There’s still hope.
Conjuring all my troubleshooting skills, I set to switching cables and connections, changing channels and inputs, in a feverish attempt to rule out potential causes. Finally, it became clear: the TV itself was the culprit.
Admittedly, that’s not surprising. The Puddinette and I both owned TVs before we got married, and this was one of them. Both the previous sets are giant picture tube-based monsters, manufactured in the days before the dinosaurs gave up their dominion of the Earth. They are each older than our kids, our marriage, our relationship, our house, our cars, and possibly even that par of jeans I refuse to part with.
In fact, I’m contemplating giving one of them to the Smithsonian for an exhibit spotlighting ancient entertainment tools. I think they already have an 8-track and a Beta player lined up.
So I wrestled the aged behemoth out of the TV cabinet and laboriously fetched the other of the Elder Televisions from the basement, formerly designated for kid viewing.
With a heaving grunt, I lifted it, my back screeching in hesitation, up into the cabinet.
Only to find it didn’t fit. The bulbous back—do you recall TVs that have those, where the picture tube juts out?—was too deep, and the shelf above was to low. Try as we might, no manner of reconfiguration would allow the right space. And when you’ve got an active two-year old running around, you don’t want a heavy TV anywhere in the same area code of almost-but-doesn’t-quite fit, especially if that means it might have to jut forward further than desired.
That would inevitably lead to something like Wil. E. Coyote running beneath an anvil-laden canyon wall. In that case, sooner or later, someone’s going to be holding up a picket sign that reads simply, "Ouch!"
At any rate, that’s how I ended up at Wal-mart at 10:30 PM on a Tuesday night, risking an actual People of Walmart physical encounter, looking for on-sale televisions. Luckily, the spirits of Good Taste prevailed and I was spared from witnessing any be-thonged bearded women, gentlemen in pink, frilly, transparent, finery, or a caravan of visible tramp-stamps on display in those for-your-convenience-handicap-scooter like some kind of Cautionary Tale (Tail?) Parade.
Yes, I got lucky indeed. We got a new TV, on sale even, and I didn’t have to spend any extra cash on brain bleach.
Of course, by the time I got home and set said TV up, my window for doing any substantive editing had opened…and closed securely.
Thus, I give you Puddin’s Law (Part I): The minute you publicly admit to needing to spend time on any given activity, Life will conspire to steal all available time from you, like water flowing through a sieve.
So keep your whining to yourself.
The best laid plans of mice and men (and even Puddin) do oft go awry.
But at least now the Puddinette gets to watch Survivor in HD.