Wednesday, February 29, 2012

And Now a Word About Kitchen Utensils

A million picnics: this one a breakast picnic with our Gramma. I love it that Mom is wearing earrings with her seersucker short set.

Has anybody but me noticed how disgusting modern kitchen utensils have become? They are such THICK plastic and it seems the designers have chosen form over function.

Cushioned handles? Really? Like I'm going to be stirring that microwaved egg roll to the point where I need an ergonomically designed spatula handle lest the carpal tunnel monster strikes me down?

Many years ago I bought a 'new' potato masher. It looked so fancy. It must surely be the Apex of all potato mashing technology. Built upon the skeletons of all those old, less worthy, less functional potato mashers, it was bound to do the job in half the time and make me look good while I mashed the night away. Plus I seem to recall it cost the better part of a ten dollar bill so that HAD to mean it was top of the line!

But No. What it had was teensy weensy little holes in the black plastic that got stuck full of potato-being and could not be washed out. So I had to take a chopstick (from the microwaved eggroll no doubt) each and every time and poke out the coagulated remains of the mashed potatoes.

The result is that I just stopped using the thing and started mashing my potatoes with a fork. And thus, the cluttered kitchen utensil drawer is born.

Since my big, downsized move to new digs in the Gulag, I've weeded out all things useless and extra. But I had not yet managed to replace my potato masher because, well, like the swing-away can opener that has dissapeared from existence and been replaced with cheap Chinese junk, the traditional potato masher is impossible to find! They just don't sell them anymore!

After my dental appointment I decided to drift around through a few of the thrift stores on my route. I was mostly looking for gigantic ugly fat girl clothes with stains and rips everywhere so that I could replenish my wardrobe (why branch out into whole clothing? Stick with what works.) but I did want to see if there were any easy chairs for sale because this apartment is bare and there is nowhere for anyone to sit.

I had no success in those arenas but then I tooled down the kitchen goods aisle and there, pointing at me like a morning star with a message, was a bright shiny heavy metal and white plastic POTATO MASHER!

I kid you not it was sticking right out of the pile! It wanted to come home with me, the poor orphan! And it was only 50 CENTS!

There it is, in black and white.

And because I live at Gulag Acres it will be easy to dispose of the old one. All I have to do is take it down to the big table in the main laundry room and leave it there. It will be gone in 15 minutes! I know the Russians could not resist an upscale potato masher!

A Million Picnics

Well yes, it's been almost a year since I posted and what is up with that, you ask? I guess I ran out of things to talk about. I so admire those bloggers who just chat about their day and have thousands of loyal readers and even the most mundane thing seems effused with godly humours. I don't know.

Well for one thing I got into facebook and it was such a quick way to showcase photos and give updates. But then that begins to get old because I am far, FAR wordier than they allow me to be over there. And also my anonymity is kind of blown so I couldn't talk about work or family anymore without either hurting someones feelings or getting FIRED!

But now I have a NEW plan. I'm going to talk about this place I live because it's full of nutcases and derelicts and what could be more fun than that?

It had better be good and fun because I no longer have a high speed connection and am using the chipmunk based dial-up connection provided by the complex. So it's slow. And that means that simple text is about all it can handle. It took 5 minutes to upload that one picture for this post! So I must make up in wit what I lack in high visuals.

So to update you all. I turned 55 in October at the same time my landlord raised my rent yet another 50 bucks a month. I was already paying top dollar for a very run down midtown apartment and was finally priced out of my own home. So I had to scramble and look for alternatives, and finally ended up here at Gulag Acres.

Gulag Acres is low income housing for seniors. Now, it's not government low income, meaning that it's not Section 8 housing. This is more like they give discounts to people who earn below poverty level wages. And its just a teensy discount. I still pay more for my apartment than most people pay for a penthouse loft high rise in the sky in the mid country. But its affordable for now so here I am.

When I first moved in I was amazed by all the amenities: a pool, a work out room, a giant big screen tv and free wi-fi for residents in the common room. Then I discovered the weight room equipment was broken, the big screen tv is horded and hogged by some big fat dude who will only watch horror movies or the religious channel, and the wi-fi...well, it is wireless. It's just that it's a slow modem and about 129 residents are tapped into it, so it's basically a wash. If I connect at 3 in the morning I've got a shot at getting online.

It ain't no picnic. Many of the residents are psychotic. Formerly homeless now old enough to be eligible for social security or disability. Socially challenged to say the least and hygiene? Too big of a word. Those accustomed to going without a bath for 6 months at a time are not likely to start bathing daily just because they own a shower now and hot water. No, no, don't spoil the fine patina of grease and grunge. At this point being clean might actually feel painful. Like a tooth that loses it's enamel and is all exposed and sensitive to hot and cold and the rush of air.

Same goes for the Russians who make up 3/4 of the population here. Bathing is not their forte. But its not just the lack of hot water scrubbing that is weird or annoying. It's the habits.

Seriously, today as I was walking along the 3rd floor perimeter, I looked down and saw a man in a zippered cardi grab the front of his sweater and BLOW HIS NOSE INTO IT. He then just let the sweater drop and went right on wearing it and walking along.

Oh please oh please I know I have memory issues but do not let me forget the cardigan man and wind up giving him a hug at the next resident potluck.

Today I went and got my permanent tooth installed. I broke it a month ago and had to mortgage my last eggs in order to pay for a crown. The dentist I chose is resistant to pain management. He told me that it's a 30 minute procedure and not really worth numbing someone up for 3 hours when the pain is fleeting and soon gone. REALLY? I'd like to be the judge of that thank you very much. You just exposed my entire raw tooth and are poking prodding and yanking that crown in and out of there for fitting and I'm in agony! THEN you tell me that the glue cement IS a little painful as it etches its way into my bone marrow for a perfect bond, but the pain only lasts a minute or so and then fades away.

So I'm a little crabby right now along with having the entire side of my face throbbing with phantom pain. Even the AIR in my mouth can feel the pain.

I know they say life ain't no picnic. And most of the time it's not. But I have PROOF, living proof that life is a million picnics because me and my family went on them all. Every opportunity to eat on the side of the road, in a field, on a rock we just climbed, was grabbed with enthusiasm by us. I've been looking through ancient slides from the olden days and dozens of them contain picnic pictures.

And as an adult I prefer to eat outdoors and often have picnics by myself. My car, in fact, is permanently loaded with picnic equipment: a thick quilt for the ground, pillows for reading, and supplies like napkins and utensils for impromptu picnicking.

I plan on publishing more picnic pics from the past, and I plan on going on enough picnics this spring and summer to make me feel like I'm alive again. I don't plan on living in poverty housing forever and while I'm here I plan on making the best of it. And that means blogging about it.

So stay tuned!