Now if you read the title of this blog, you may get the impression that that I am honoring my father who passed away a couple of years ago. Perhaps you are thinking that this is a way for me to remember my dad because I have been missing him lately. Well, I do miss my dad and I am honoring him in my own way. I’m not sure that’s how he would see it.
My dad, John Romig, had many gifts. He could take apart an engine and put it back together. He was so good, he didn’t even need to use all the parts that were in it in the first place. He was also able to design all kinds of interesting things without a blueprint or even a plan. At the moment, I can’t think of any that worked, but I’m sure some of them did. Then there were the things I learned and still laugh about them to this day.
Blogger’s note: I admit that I occasionally exaggerate occurrences in my life for the sake of humor and a much more interesting story than ever really happens to me. These stories are factual with no exaggeration needed, and I have a brother and two sisters who will back me up on this.
To this day, I don’t like meatloaf thanks to one experience with Dad’s Meatloaf of Death! (death, death, death – imagine an ominous echo) Mom had to go into the hospital for a few days and Dad was to be responsible for the normal house duties including cleaning, laundry and (pause for dramatic effect) cooking. Dad had a memory of something his mom would make when he was a child called German Meatloaf. It was a simple recipe. As far as he could remember, it had a pound of ground beef and a pound of ground sausage. Dad, being a dad, didn’t look at his ingredients too carefully and made it with a pound of hamburger and two pounds of sausage. Okay, not perfect, but not a disaster…yet. Dad liked his food spicy. He was the one who would salt and pepper everything before he even tried a bite. He thought he would kick the meatloaf up a notch. To this day, we are not sure what he put in the meatloaf. Cayenne pepper seemed to be one of the first choices. We were pretty sure that there was a pound of that in there, too. There was also Tabasco sauce, extra salt, Worcestershire sauce, and wherever else he found in the cabinet. When he placed it on the table, the four kids each took a fork full of meatloaf, placed the bite in our mouths, and spit the ghastly stuff back onto out plates in a way that is usually reserved for the movements of synchronized swimmers. Dad was initially hurt by our reaction… until he tried it. Even he could only take a couple bites.
I promise I am not making this next part up. The dog would not eat it! Yeah, the dog, who licked his own butt and ate poop, would not eat the meatloaf. The cat ate a few bites of this dangerous stuff. Apparently, it caused either so much physical or emotional pain in our cat that the feline decided life was not worth it. Our cat ran out in front of a car the next day. We all blamed the meatloaf. It was carefully wrapped in aluminum foil and placed in the refrigerator. Someone (not me) put a little flag on it that said: “Dad’s Meatloaf”. I thought the skull and crossbones was a nice touch. Eventually it disappeared from the frig. Rumor has it that someone decided to set it free in the back yard because we were fairly sure this was a new life form. The next day, my brother’s turtle disappeared. Coincidence?
The lesson I learned: Don’t make meatloaf. It kills pets.
On the Fourth of July, my dad and his friend were setting off fireworks for the family. There were little missiles, Roman candles, bottle rockets and fountains. One of the fountains turned out to be a dud. It was a sad moment for us because it was a really big fountain that promised to shoot sparks high into the air. My dad and his buddy were sitting there in the darkness, trying to figure out what to do. Dad took his cigarette and stuck it down the top of the fountain.
The lesson I learned: Don’t smoke. It is hard to put your pants out when they are smoking. The cigarettes aren’t so good for you, either; even when they aren’t in your mouth.
One last disaster my dear, darling Daddy dared to do. My father loved motorcycles. I enjoy them, but he had a love that bordered on obsession. To be fair, his affection was across that border by a good ten miles. He got me to race motocross on a little bike when I was young. When I was first learning to ride on the dirt track, Dad wanted to show me how to do it. Okay. No problem. He knew how to ride and how to ride on a dirt track. Did I mention that I was young? Pre-teen young? The dirt bike was a Kawasaki 80. The smallest of the racing motorcycles. Dad was 5’ 10”. You see where this is going, right? He started the bike, revved the motor, dropped it into gear, and released the clutch. For a little bike, it could really move! It moved so fast that it shot out from under my dad. That would have been funny all by itself.
When you’re water skiing and you fall, you let go of the rope. When you rev up a dirt bike and it shoots out from under you, you let go of the handlebars. Dad didn’t get that memo. A full-grown adult running behind a small dirt bike, trying to stop it without breaking anything on the bike or the man, is really funny to a kid.
The lesson I learned: Do not do something stupid on a motorcycle when you son is watching. He can crack his ribs laughing and rolling around on the ground, begging for air.
Those little incidents helped me learn what not to do. Now if you will excuse me, I have to go prepare this dish my mom used to make for us. I can’t wait for my son to try my version of her haggis. I think my addition of the chocolate chipotle sauce will make it a meal to remember.
When I was married I prepared about 95% of the meals. Cooking is something I enjoy. There is something about the looks of satisfaction and the words of praise that appeal to the instant gratification side of my ego. And I got lots of praise. There were times when my ego would get to the point it wanted to take on Top Chef and show those clowns how to really make mac and cheese. We won’t mention the rule we had around the house that was proudly displayed over the stove: Anyone who fails to praise the meal, cooks the next three. Did I mention all the praise I got?
I’m not one of those typical single guys who makes everything in the microwave. I have a stove and know how to use it. Honest! My made from scratch chicken and dumplins has been glorified by all who have tried it. The spaghetti sauce in my kitchen does not come from Prego, Ragu or Hunts. It has real ingredients. My pancakes are made from flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and love. I still get lots of praise for my cooking. (I got the sign over the stove in the divorce.)
This leads me to the experiment. While spinning the lazy-susan in my kitchen, it jammed up. It would not spin forward or backward. For those of you who don’t know, a lazy-susan is a corner cabinet that has a couple of spinning shelves that allow you to use and actually reach the stuff in the back of that corner cabinet. When something gets underneath it, jams occur and you have to reach up and under and around – any way you can – to get it un-jammed. While performing some of the basic movements of advanced contortionism, I was able to discover the jamming culprit. It was a bag of dried back beans I had bought a few months back and totally forgotten about. The main reason I forgot about them had something to do with them being under the spinning shelf. Instead of putting them back in the lazy-susan to fall back down and jam things up, I placed them on the counter.
For a couple days, they just sat there. They were looking at me with a smug look that said, “I made it this long. You don’t have the balls to make anything with me. It’s not chili season. Muahahahahahaha!” Beans with that kind of attitude are not tolerated around my house. The moment they started acting like that, I got out the colander and rinsed those bad boys off. “Now who’s laughing?!” I declared to a bunch of beans. Yeah, I cook like that. Placing the rinsed beans in the big stock pot, I began to add water… and stopped. I seemed to remember a movie about campfire beans that had whiskey in them. As I looked in the liquor cabinet, a smile crept across my face. Even though I couldn’t remember the movie, I did remember it was bourbon. I had some! It was promptly added to the soaking mix.
Did you know that letting beans soak in water and whiskey makes going into the kitchen a buzz-worthy experience? I found myself checking on the beans frequently. My son caught me with my head all the way in the pot, sniffing the delicate bouquet of black beans and bourbon. I explained that I was checking the beans for sobriety. He just shook his head as he walked away, saying something about beans singing How Dry I Am. I listened carefully and he was right. That boy has better hearing than I do.
After three hours of my kitchen smelling like a brewery, the beans were tender and ready to taste. They were AMAZING! Flavorful and balanced. Delicious and nutritious. Healthy and full o
f fiber. I had two large bowls. Since I was not expecting anyone to stop by, there was no concern about the amount of methane that would be produced. There is a scene in Blazing Saddles where a bunch of cowboys are sitting around a fire, eating beans and farting. I could have been an extra on that set. But I didn’t care. The beans were so good, I had some for a snack later.
The next morning was a different story. Do you remember me mentioning that they were healthy and full of fiber? About that fiber… it works. While contemplating the pros and cons of a black bean omelet, I felt a certain fullness in my lower abdominal area. OMG! My system emptied everything that was in my large and small intestines. I feel fairly certain that I passed things my mom ate while pregnant with me forty-some years ago. Sadly, I know how my dad felt that time he ate several helping of kidney bean salad. I laughed at him for days after. It’s not near as funny when you’re on the other end and it’s your other end doing the work.
A few days ago I posted a blog about stupid warnings. After reading that, a friend of mine stopped by to show me an interesting list. She had been shopping and received a long list entitled: We Do Not Offer Refunds or Exchanges For. You may be thinking, “What an insensitive business! We all have the right to return our purchases, regardless of the reason. Walmart taught me that!” Before you get upset and start picketing this fine establishment, please read on. Did I mention she was shopping at the animal shelter? Yes, they needed to make a list of reasons that is inappropriate to bring your pet back. Sad, isn’t it?
I have listed a few of my favorite reasons you are not allowed to bring your pet back to the animal shelter. These are real reasons on a real piece of paper from the Young-Williams Animal Center in Knoxville, Tennessee. I am not making these up, but I really did LOL while reading some of them.
- Dogs that bark. Yes, they really had to make this a policy. Makes you wonder how many people brought back the dog saying, “Yep, this here mutt barks. Didn’t know a dog would do that.”
- Cats that scratch. I am not a cat person due to allergies, but even I know that cats will scratch. They don’t like to be baptized either. I still have the scars from when I was 5 and tried that. The dog didn’t mind as much.
- Children taunt or tease the animal. How is this the animal’s fault? What you need to do is take the shock collar off the dog and put it on the brat who is pestering the pooch. Then make them run back and forth over the shock line in the lawn. Once they wake up, the shock treatment should have cured them of their antisocial ways.
- You receive/buy/adopt/breed another animal and you return this one. Even my twisted
mind is going, “WHAT THE (fill in the blank with your favorite word here)”. Do people really get a cat and decided they want to trade up, so they take the old one back? I write about serial killers and even I wouldn’t think of doing that with my worst villain.
- Divorce. Yes, there is sometimes a custody battle over the pets. When my parents got divorced, there was more debate over who got the dog than the kids. In my divorce, I got the dog and the kids half the time. Sounds like there are times when no one wants the cat. I can hear it now, “Your honor, I will take Captain Fuffywillycomes if that cheating (again, please fill in the blank) will pay me $1,200 a month pet support for the Yorkie. Kind of makes you wonder who gets the pet python.
- Animal ran away and you can’t find it. Wouldn’t it be really embarrassing if you went back to the animal shelter to get your refund, and the dog was already at the door, trying to claw its way back in? I don’t know about you, but it would be really damaging to my self esteem.
Bubba’s next of kin, who thought that he too could make a model of the Hindenburg that would ignite without blowing him up, too. “Your honor, Bubba should have been warned that filling a tiny blimp with highly a combustible combination of hydrogen and moonshine could result in blowing his double-wide from Deerkill, Tennessee to a suburb right outside of Denver.” The show would be canceled immediately and the guys labeled as bad influences on the stupid amongst us.
that should be called an Australian Wax since it is getting rid of hair down under.) Since she is too cheap to pay someone to get rid of the hair down there, she goes to the Dollar Tree and buy fourteen candles and two rolls of duct tape. And hour later, she has third degree burns and an issue with wax in places that should never have wax. Dollar Tree and the TV show about waxing would be out millions in pain and suffering damages. Unless there is a law to protect them. With the “Survival of the Fittest Legislation” those fine institutions would be protected, plus the woman would not be interested in reproduction any time soon.