Saturday, December 5 2020

santa theory, a bread disaster, and a rusty axe

page banner

Dear Journal,

Good evening, everyone! Happy Saturday. Whether you rested today or you filled the day with work, I hope it was fulfilling and either way ended with a nice hot dinner and a stiff drink. Once I'm done writing, I'll cap off the day with some spiked eggnog. As of this afternoon when I brought home the first bottle of eggnog from our Hy-Vee pickup, it's officially eggnog season in the Recker household. Oh eggnog, how I've missed you. Sure, it's basically raw liquid cake batter, and each glass probably has as much sugar as a bag of Halloween candy. But life is too short not to drink eggnog.

Sip. Eggnog is a divisive holiday drink, isn't it? Where do you stand on the issue, and more importantly, how was your Saturday?

Getting Rodney out of his room this morning, I walked in on him furiously preparing for the coming of Santa Clause. He was folding his blankets, rearranging his toys, and cleaning off his desk.

"Is Santa here yet?" he asked anxiously.

"Not yet," I said. "But he's on his way. It takes a while for him to get here all the way from the North pole."

Marissa joined us in the upstairs hallway. "So you told him that Santa has left," she said, yawning. "Yesterday he was coloring his house, saying "Santa is going to love this."

"What's wrong with that?" I asked.

"You don't get it, Dada," she said. "Santa doesn't leave the North pole until Christmas Eve. His sleigh is magic and it can travel around the whole world super fast."

"Oh I get it," I sighed. "So he would have no reason to leave now."

I have a serious problem grasping the fundamentals of the Santa Clause canon, and consequentially I misled Rodney into thinking he was coming early.

"At least I got the flying sleigh part right," I said. "The... reindeers are magic?"

"Yes," said Marissa. Rodney stood beside her nodding along.

"OK, but the sleigh isn't magic, right?" I asked.

"That's right," said Marissa. "The flying reindeer just pull it behind them."

Between you and me, the mechanics still don't make sense to me. If the reindeer were the only thing keeping the sled hovering in the air, wouldn't the sled swing beneath them like a pendulum when they stopped flying? In that case, instead of gracefully skidding from roof too roof, he would have to take off and land quickly, like a jet plan on a carrier ship.

There's a lot I'm missing in Santa lore and Christmas theory, and I think a big part of the problem was that I had never seen the original Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer movie. I was already familiar with the premise, but this year was the first time I've every actually sat down to watch the whole thing. I didn't know about the back story with the elf that wants to be a dentist and - shudders - the island of misfit toys.

The movie terrified Rodney. In the middle of the island of misfit toys song, Rodney tried to take control of the evening.

"OK that's enough," he announced over the film. "It's getting pretty scary now, I think we had better turn it off."

In other news, we had a major bread disaster yesterday morning. Just after publishing my entry, the oven timer rang. Fastening my oven mit, I retrieved the beautiful freshly baked loaf of bread from the pan. I had run out of parchment paper, but being the cocky foolhardy bread-baking maverick that I am, I decided to bake it anyway. I flipped the bread pan upside down - nothing. I tried running a knife along the side of the pan. Nothing. Getting desperate, I took a power squat stance in the middle of the kitchen, and using a sharp jerking motion, I flung the pan toward the grown. I felt it give, and the bread loaf rolled to the floor - only it was half the loaf. Steam billowed from the pan where the rest of the pillowy loaf resided.

2020 12 05 bread disaster

A moment of silence, please.

The moral of the story is that if your recipe calls for parchment paper, you probably need it. Unless you don't mind making turkey and cheese sandwiches on wedges of bread that look like they fell out of a fifty states puzzle. Marissa fixed Rodney a playing card sized peanut butter and jelly. I ripped up some chunks and tossed it in a bowl with swiss, turkey, and mayo, making what could be considered the poke version of a full sized sandwich.

With beads of sweat still rolling down my temples from wrestling the bread out of the pan, I heard a faint beep from near the window. I froze in my tracks.

"Is that... what I think it is?" I asked quietly.

"It's the carbon monoxide detector," Marissa whispered. "I couldn't figure out how to get the battery out, so I just put it on the window sill."

"Excuse me for a minute," I said, setting my turkey sandwich bowl on the counter. Very casually, I walked the little device to the base of the driveway and grabbed by big rusty axe out of the shed. I raised the handle and let the heavy metal wedge fall directly on top of it. It exploded, sending plastic shrapnel in all directions. The beeping stopped, and the little broken machine began to scream. I swung the axe one more time to finish the job. Finally it went silent. I walked back into the house. Marissa was smirking.

"Did that feel good?" she asked.

"Oh you have no idea," I said.

"We have two of those anyway," she assured me. "I like the one we have living room a lot more."

Marissa told me that the silly chirping carbon monoxide detector woke her up in the middle of the night. I also woke up an hour earlier than my alarm, and I made the connection.

2020 12 05 fixed it

My very own reenactment of the printer scene from Office Space.

Not the most constructive solution, but it was effective and cathartic after a terrible night's sleep. Thanks for stopping by, everyone. I hope you have a wonderful day today.