Snowmageddon: Aunt Jemimah, Golf, and Pat Summit to the Rescue!

Well look at that, two weeks in a row. I’m on a roll now. And I can say that, and write this particular post, because I’m not usually superstitious. Plus I’m fairly confident winter has come and gone, so talking about the past snowmageddon and my latest writers block doesn’t feel near as dangerous. At this point I would encourage all of you who live above the Mason-Dixon to get it out of your systems. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. The constant, “That ain’t snow, you want to see snow you need to come here.”, “Do you even own a shovel?” “That’s just a dusting up here boy!”

Yeah all that. Get it out and get over it already. If you flat-landers lived here you would pee your pants the first time you had to take a hairpin curve on a hillside that has no guard rail and anywhere from a 10 to 50 foot drop with untreated snow and ice covered roads. I grew up in Jersey. I lived through 3ft of snow. Guess what, roads there are flat and straight. Ain’t so down here. Exhibit A:

Ain't your daddy's tow truck.

Ain’t your daddy’s tow truck.

See this cat here. He’s trying not to slide off the road and into a 15 foot ditch. Cause if he starts toward the edge they’ll be no saving him. You are seeing the only straight, flat piece of road on my entire drive to and from work. Anyway, this isn’t about our southern inferiority complex with snowy roads. This post is really about being trapped inside with kids during whatever snomageddon means to you. And, if you’ll pardon my double negative, I don’t know anyone who can’t relate to that.

During this most recent snowpocolypse I had some unlikely saviors.

Like most places when the threat of snow is broadcast to and fro by every news outlet in existence one thing will absolutely happen without fail. The Kroger will be covered up, as they say. Sadly for me lately, these apocalyptic forecasts have come on the weekend. Meaning snow for Sunday night into Monday morning.

Why is that sad? Well I normally do my grocery shopping on Sundays. You know what that means. Yeah, I look like every other schmo just trying to get eggs, milk, and bread to survive the upcoming end of the world. As hard as I try, and I do try, it’s impossible to make people believe it’s just your normal shopping day. Especially if you actually need milk, bread and eggs. I’ve stopped fighting it. I just accept my label and get on with my shopping.

It does thin out once you get to the sundries like laundry soap and away from must have survival stuffs like bread. And I have no idea why those three staples are considered to be mother’s milk when it comes to survival food. But they are. Although one day I was getting gas at the Weigles and heard a fine southern gent remark that it might snow tomorrow so he “…best git his smokes, beer n scratch offs.” Now there is a man with his priorities in order. Not sure what the winning scratch off will get him if he can’t get out to cash it in for more smokes, but hey who am I to judge. I grocery shop on Sunday’s and that apparently makes me a storm prepper.

Well not this time sister. No way. When the last forecast came up for an avalanche of snow I was defiant. We have plenty, no need to get to the store this Sunday, my normal grocery day. I will not trudge the aisles grabbing up every last piece of gluten soaked food stuffs like the unwashed who only shop there cause the local weather guy told them to. Nope not me.

We actually got some snow. Work let out early, I was off the next day and that meant the kids would be out of school the rest of the month. Well it felt like that anyway. But they missed the rest of the week and had a huge long weekend. Now I was in a jam. By Saturday there was nothing really ready made to eat. They were tired of pancakes and frozen waffles. They wanted biscuits. Well we didn’t have any biscuits. But the natives were getting restless and they had been laying about the house in some manner or another for a few days. So I decided we would make biscuits together.

No flour.

Well balls. Now what? I’m sure not letting them know we have no biscuits and no flour because I was the only numb-skull who didn’t go to the Kroger and thus unprepared for an extended stay in the house with growing kids. In steps Aunt Jemimah and her ready made pancake mix. Looks like flour, feels like flour, it probably bears some chemical resemblance to flour. Might even share an electron or two. So a little water and a slam in some sugar and we’re makin biscuit dough. How bad could it turn out? If we jack it up all we’ve done is make some small cylindrical pancake type ingots. And those sound good all by themselves.

But the little varmints want round ones, just like from the store. Believe it or not I don’t posses anything that would give me the shape and size I need to make biscuits. For shame, I know but it’s the truth. But I was saved. Saved by the greatest game ever invented and the greatest basketball coach in history, ever.

Only the greatest Coach in history would have goblets shaped perfectly for biscuit cutting.

Perfect.

Golf is not just a sport, it’s a life teaching tool the depths of which have yet to be plumbed. When ticking off the myriad of life instances where golf has been helpful you can add biscuit making to that list.

Whilst helping my fellow man by playing in a charity tournament hosted by Pat Summitt, head coach of the University of Tennessee Lady Vols, I dropped a perfect 8 iron some 5 inches from the cup, not once but twice. For my silty efforts I was awarded two sets of faux crystal goblets engraved with Pat Summitt’s name. Pretty freaking awesome if I do say so myself. And I do.

Now I’m not a wine drinker, or drinker of any type for that matter, so they sat on a shelf gathering dust. Until that one fateful moment when I needed a biscuit cutter. Turns out the opening of these major awards are the perfect size for home made biscuits. Only the winning-est coach in all of basketball would make wine glasses with the perfect opening and then award those glasses for golf feats yet to be equaled.

(Yes folks, it’s been a long winter and I’ve been in a bit of a writer block type thing so just go with it.)
It's  a Major Award!

It’s a Major Award!

In case you can’t see, let me give you a close up. Breathtaking I know. I have four of them. And they came in handy, for at least half a day anyway. The final result? Well I just let junior tell you what he thought of the home-madeness of them there biscuits. Pic below.

If you were not aware, that is not an easy kid to please. His sister would happily eat from a garbage can. Frank’s pallet is a bit more refined. He turns his nose up at pizza if it’s too cheesy. Yeah you read that right. So to get the big thumbs up from him over something I made from scratch, well that almost rivals winning those fancy drinking cups from Pat Summitt. Almost.

Be sure to get that on Yelp bro.

Be sure to get that on Yelp bro.

Did I mention she gave them to me herself, shook my hand and everything.

So thanks to Pat, and Aunt Jemimah, we survived snowmageddon 2016.

And I can shop on Sundays again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Back to Work: Driving in Purgatory

Update: So I’ve been away for a while. What did I miss?

Turns out this work thing takes up a lot of time. Add that to the fact I’m old and the free time I do have at home takes the form of impromptu passing out in my chair for about 20 minutes. The length of nap time varies on what wakes me up. It could be anything from my snoring, to a kamikaze fly taking one for the team by diving into my mouth, or my assorted limbs going numb. Either way it’s usually a good signal that it may be time to take the long walk upstairs for bed. Now my real nighttime sleep is broken by one thing, and one thing only: the 4:30 alarm and my drive into purgatory.

Now before anyone gets an idea, I am not saying work is like purgatory. I’m not in any way saying that. No, work is phenomenal. I’m lucky to have such a job. The people are great and I’ve made some fast friends. I work in a modern building with serious comforts. And they pay me real American money, so I got that going for me. It’s the drive for which I lament. The 20 minute sled dog race with some of Knoxville’s finest motor vehicle operators that makes the 4:30am wake up such a joy.

As a christian/semi luke-warm catholic raised in the church and schooled by nuns, I believe in hell. As any bible believing christian should be able to tell you, hell is generally described as total and permanent separation from God. A darkness so consuming your soul cannot comprehend it and therefore suffers for eternity.

For my money that darkness could take many forms. When contemplating such things I always seem to come to the same scenario that depicts what my hell might look like.

Imagine if you will a two lane highway, straight as an arrow, unlimited speed, it’s and never ending. It’s lined by dense forests and sheer face walls of rock. In other words the only possible path of travel is on one of the two lanes. In my lane of course there is an old person, a grandma, frantically searching for the Shoney’s to hit the 4pm early bird dinner buffet before that bastard Fred from the fancy assisted living joint grabs up all the tater tots.

Her only line of sight, the 3 x 2 inch opening in the steering wheel. Her speed, a breakneck 35mph with one foot barely grazing the accelerator and one foot on the break shaking with the frequency uncommon in young healthy people. The effect of which is a perpetual blinking of her tail lights rivaling Chinese water torture and tapping out a Morse Code message over and over: You shall not pass!

If a rabid bear was charging you and your family at this very moment but you only had one bullet, you would have a hard time deciding to close out the bear or shoot her brakes lights out. And I’m stuck behind her.

old peopleBut it’s a straight road with two lanes. A veritable eternal passing lane. There is no bear. So there is no problem, save one small detail; an equally eternal line of cars traveling in the opposite direction. They are all old people and they are bumper to bumper and oblivious to my plight, made clear to me by each driver thrusting their middle finger at me as they drive by. That ladies and gentlemen is my hell. My eternal separation from God, delivered by the angel of death: The Shoney’s Early Bird.

So with that as some context let me describe my drive to and from work. Of course it’s not nearly as bad as all that. Hence the title Driving in Purgatory. As most know purgatory is not as bad as hell. Just a tiny sample as you await salvation and passage to the sweet paradise. My Shangri La lies 20 minutes from home, the entry to the plant. Between me and thee is the purgatory of drives. At 5am you would think it would be clear sailing, but you, like I, would be wrong. The road is littered with cars at 5am. That fact alone hurts the mind in places to this point undiscovered.

And then more times than not a weary traveler decides the left lane, traditionally and legally known as the passing lane where thou shall not linger, is the very place they will linger. Even as cars going 20mph faster are whipping to the right to pass. Undaunted the left lane transgressor decides slowing down might be safer. Moving to the right lane never comes close to this egregiously bad driver’s frontal lobe. That’s just the drive to work.

Coming home is a new ball of wax. Two on ramps on the right side of the four lane highway causes otherwise rational drivers going the speed limit in the right lane to inexplicably move to the left lane and slow down. AND. SLOW. DOWN. WHY! Why are you slowing down? Why are you moving over? Maintain your speed, stay on the right and the on ramps will have no effect. Moving to the left and SLOWING DOWN only causes a traffic jam that builds and builds and lasts for a millennia.

All that angst you think would be the end of me. But then I remember I get to come home to this:

Heaven

Heaven

 

 

 

And it turns out there is heaven on earth.