Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Of Blizzards and Baked Goods

My key chain is a whole new problem. I have 17 keys hanging from a ring from which also dangles a large, sparkly “L”, a pewter Marvin the Martian head and a brass whistle. I know that two of the keys are for the front and back doors of my house, one for the garage, one for my parents house, one each for our two vehicles. That leaves me with 11 mystery keys. What do I do with them? I CAN’T throw them away, what if I encounter a lock and suddenly can’t open because I’ve gotten rid of the key?! This is going to take some serious thinking, I’m going to have to track down the locks these keys open. The truly organized never have this problem, do they? I expect they have all their keys labeled in some kind of code only they understand so in case they DO lose the key ring, bad guys can’t figure out what locks the keys open and therefore, all their possessions are always safe along with being well-organized. But enough about them, I STILL have 11 keys that are as mysterious as Stonehenge or those face things on Easter Island. I’m fairly certain one of them if for a bicycle lock. I don’t need that one anymore as the bike was stolen (yes, while locked) almost 15 years ago. The next one looks like a briefcase key…this is a real mystery as I have no recollection of owning a briefcase, that one can go. Several hours later, I have called all three of my sisters, stopped at the homes of my immediate neighbors and have established the identity of three more keys. Good for me! I’m left with 6 remaining mystery keys…I’m going to have to think about this one for a while longer. I know the moment I toss them, I’m going to need them…call it a key phobia, if you like.

What, then, should be this month’s major project? I’d better decide soon, we’re rapidly approaching the halfway point in the month. I cast my eye around the house, become overwhelmed and decide to watch “A League Of Their Own” on cable for the afternoon. The kids arrive home at 3:45 and it’s already getting dark. Another of the joys of living this far north, 17 minutes of sunlight per day from November to March. Watching the weather, it looks like a blizzard is heading our way. The children are thrilled at the prospect of the sixth snow day since Thanksgiving. I think the school just uses the snow day thing to make the parents appreciate school more so they just cancel periodically on spec. Usually by January, we’ve become immune to the weatherman’s flights of fancy and their tendency to make every meteorological burp a sign of a wintry Armageddon. But because we haven’t gotten a single MAJOR storm this winter, I sigh heavily and go check the pantry and the fridge for the necessities. An hour and a half and roughly two hundred and fifty dollars later, we’ve returned from the grocery store through the light snow flurries and the now complete darkness loaded with enough supplies to last at least two weeks:
Four gallons of milk (time to check into city ordinance for keeping a cow in the yard)
Three loaves of regular bread (for the coming onslaught of PB&Js)
Two loaves of cinnamon raisin bread (no plain toast for these boys)
Six cans of frozen orange juice (to stave of the chance of scurvy)
A carton of cigarettes (blizzards are NOT the time to quit smoking)
A five pound can of coffee (I mean really, would YOU risk it?)
Two large bottles of creamer (what’s the point of having coffee without it?)
A three pound jar of peanut butter (creamy…don’t even go there with the crunchy)
Dog food (although he CAN eat Cheerios in a pinch)
Cat food (no substitutions, she’s a puker)
Kitty litter (for use both in the cat box and on the sidewalks for traction)
Laundry soap (I can use this time constructively, right?)
Two boxes of microwave popcorn (we’re going to be watching a lot of movies)
Triscuts, Ritz and Club crackers (might as well…)
Cheese for above
Bags of frozen corn, peas and carrots (yeah…I needed SOMETHING healthy)
Three boxes of assorted cereal (got the milk, so…)
One Package each of Oreos, Chips Ahoy and Fig Newtons (REALLY, for the kids!)
Package of 12 triple roll toilet paper (don’t even joke about running out!)
Flour, eggs, butter, bananas and baking soda (I might bake, I DO know how)
Two bodice-ripper romance novels (PLEASE don’t tell anyone!)
Three coloring books (all the good pictures in the books at home are colored)
Box of crayons (nothing but the broken ones or nubs at home)
Six pounds of hamburger (it’s on SALE)
Two packages of hot dogs (for the kids…and the dog if it comes to that)
Buns for above
Three boxes of Pop-Tarts (it’s a blizzard…might as well have treats!)
A four pound can of cocoa mix (in case the coffee DOES run out)
Two bags of marshmallows (cocoa without them is simply WRONG)
Hershey bars and graham crackers (who says s’mores are only for camping?)
Three home improvement magazines (might have to redecorate during confinement)
Construction paper, glitter, glue, pipe cleaners, colored toothpicks (we might get crafty)

DAMMIT! Why won’t they simply sell food and toilet paper at the grocery store?! It’s a vast conspiracy, you know. After another forty minutes of rearranging the cupboards and stuffing the supplies away, we’re ready for anything…except dinner. To hell with it, I’m calling for pizza, the snow’s not bad yet and it may very well be the last face to face human contact with someone I’ve neither married nor given birth to for the foreseeable future. My husband has made it home from work, the cats, dog and both children are accounted for, the pizza’s on the way. Bring it on.