Adopt A Granny

Or adopt a Mum. Or a Wife. Or a Girlfriend. And none of them need to be your own, either.

What you are looking for is skill and talent. Cooking, sewing, gardening…whatever you lack in your life right now that someone else knows how to do is the thing to aim for. You are looking for the best.

It may be a long and difficult search, but you can make it a little easier by making it more scientific. To start with, identify what it is you need. If your icebox contains nothing but an empty pizza box and a carton of green and black spotted yoghurt, it is a cook you need. If your sock drawer has more holes than socks, you need a clothing specialist. Look at the garden critically – if it stares back, it’s the gardening enthusiast for you.

Trial the candidates with a standard test – if you are a spaghetti fan, get all the possibles for adoption to cook spaghetti. If it is curry – have them submit pots of vindaloo then compare and contrast. Note: calls for spaghetti may attract Italian grannies and they are fierce. Be careful.

Do not be ashamed to admit your faults. All the rest of us see them and we’ll admit them for you at the drop of a hat. And do not feel that you are doing a bad thing – you will be filling out formal adoption papers and lodging them with the Department, so it will all be legal. After all, there is a lot of responsibility to adopting a child, and they are small, so how much more will there be if you go for a full-sized grandmother.

Of course this is not the Ivory Coast. There’ll be no kidnapping or chains. You will be providing a granny flat to whomever you adopt and as much food, coal, and candles as they need throughout the year. You’ll have to provide a full wardrobe, though if it’s a cooking granny  that you get, a lot of this will consist of aprons and oven mittens. There will be a salary, days off, and remember that grannies can drink a lot more rum than you’d think. It don’t all go into the fruitcakes…

Will this make you a better person? No, but it will make you a better-fed one and that is a start. Once you have gotten past the hangry stage you may find that you are holding skeins of wool for knitting and taking her out to tea shoppes on Sunday afternoon.

 

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Yup. It’s A Car Wash.

And not just any car wash. A hand car wash. As opposed to the ones that they operate with their feet or ears…

Our local shopping centre has used up one of their limited car parks for the hand car wash. The building’s being finished and the signage is going up. Soon employees in rubber boots will be standing in the winter rain washing cars. Or not, if the state of the other hand car wash facilities in the area are any indication…

The proliferation of car washes has been an interesting phenomenon here in Perth. I remember the establishment of one of the first ones on the site of an old petrol station. It straddles a major highway and a busy feeder road and stands opposite a 24 Hr McDonalds. ( for our North American readers, McDonalds is a franchised fast-food restaurant. ) It was probably a good choice of location as it gives the people who leave their cars to be cleaned a place to go during the process. Interestingly, the owners of the car wash also put up a café on their site. This, and the stated prices on the signage, indicates that they would like each post to be a winner…

I suspect this is the case, as well, for the owners of the shopping centre. They have already leased out a great deal of their land to a tavern, Asian restaurants, and…a McDonalds…but would seem to want to cram more on the area. I’m betting that the rent they demand from the car wash owners will make the washing fees pretty remarkable.

I mourn the loss of adequate parking, but as I own a bucket, a sponge, and my own hands, I am not too frightened by the car wash.

 

Mickey Mouse Has A Sweet Tooth

A few days ago I caught Mickey Mouse in a rubbish bin in my computer room. Or rather, I think he caught himself – he fell into the bin and couldn’t get out. I took him to the front yard, pointed him toward the neighbour’s house and tapped on the bottom of the bin. Away he flew.

Today we noticed a little scrap paper in the dining room near the sideboard. And then we opened the door…

That was a spare chocolate Advent calendar we had stored in the sideboard. Every date container save one was nibbled open and the chocolate mysteriously made to vanish. I suspect a miracle…

To his credit, he did not poo in the sideboard.

The cat was unavailable for comment.

The Brew

I have friends who are brave, courageous, and bold…like Robin Hood they wear tights and shoot arrows into things. In many cases intentionally. But they harbour a dark secret…they all want to be moonshiners.

Not necessarily with corn liquor stills, shotguns, and rusty old trucks…they set their sights lower – they try to make booze from whatever is available and they try to do it in medieval ways. Sometimes they succeed.

I can’t tell you whether this is illegal, as our state has a welter of alcohol laws that have developed over time and so many people who cheerfully disregard them. It may be perfectly correct to make liqueur out of chicken feet provided you are a member of a religion that wears feather suits and clucks. And certainly there are beer stores that sell you the ingredients for home-brew beer quite legitimately and the only consequence you suffer is gas.

However, that’s commercial ingredients and known formulae…it gets more dangerous when people take recipes off the internet, consult someone’s Uncle Marko, or just look at a pile of vegetables about to rot and decide to wing it. The temptation to mash them up, add yeast, and bottle the result is satisfying to start with but becomes increasingly less so as the bottles detonate in the pantry.

It is generally a case of over-egging the pudding…or over filling and over nourishing the yeast. There is a reason distilling is done in big metal containers and far away from valuables…the same reason that they make gunpowder in small batches in wooden buildings.

The danger of fermentation and bottling over, the next hurdle is storage. Storage space for homemade booze falls into two categories; too cold or too hot. You are either going to end up with a bottled version of the city compost digester or Picatinny arsenal in a lightning storm. If you have bottled in glass the shrapnel damage will be spectacular, but even a PTFE bottle going off will get the neighbours out of their houses and the dogs barking.

Finally you will get to the day when you can taste the results. There may be far fewer bottles than when you started, and the economic results may make each one the equivalent of Dom Perignon ’22, but don’t expect to win gold medals. Most home-made liquor is best cut with fruit juice, soft drink, or motor oil. A good 20-40 weight should do it…I always liked to use Bardahl if the homebrew was particularly new.

The Sucker Man

You see a new hell every day – the hatch opens and the creatures slither out. Sometimes you get to see the demons at work, as well.

Today at 9:30 our local infernal manifestation occurred. No pentangle, no candles, no sulphurous smoke. In fact the truck that arrived was quite clean and had a sign from the Melville City Council on the side. The driver hopped out of it, grabbed a metal hook, and summoned Beelzebub.

The truck was fitted with a vacuum cleaner and a big tank of water – I assume it was a holy water – and the chap proceeded to wash down the storm water drains in our street. Then when the things were awash with political promises and other horrors he used a giant hose from the back of the truck to suck the drain dry. I can only assume that there is a market for the sorts of things that went into that hose – I just pry that it is not in the fast food industry.

Noise? I assume we were hearing doomed screams of tortured souls. And it went on for an hour as he did all the drains in the street. I was crossing myself, lighting incense and candles, and making holy signs all the while, and I’m not religious…

As compensation, we now have the cleanest drains in the city. Just in time for the autumn rains and the next load of gunk.

 

The Dishes

Doing the dishes seems to have been the underlying theme through most of my life.

It was one of the first of the ” chores ” that was assigned to me as a kid – in exchange, I suppose, for my weekly allowance. This was never stinted, I might add, and I was as free to spend or save it as my understanding might dictate. But the dishes were always there.

They are still here. Two or three times daily there is a fill up of the basins – detergent in one and fresh in the other, and the results of four people cooking and eating are dealt with. I do not include the cat as a person – I am able to distinguish species – but the cat dishes get done as well.

In truth I should not complain.

a. If I am doing dishes it is because we have eaten. We had enough money to buy food, a stove to cook it on, and plates to bear it. Being fed is better than being hungry, even if you work afterwards as well as before.

b. We have dishes that can stand cleaning. The people who eat off paper plates or flimsy plastic dishes do themselves, the food, and the environment no good.

c. If it was really that onerous a task, we could buy a dishwashing machine. But we’ve never used one that was satisfactory and the addition of another complexity to life is unappetizing. Just scrub and wipe dry.

All this having been said, it is a pleasure sometimes to take a meal elsewhere – a hotel or restaurant – where the staff may pester for tips or to move you on, but they cannot compel you to the soapy water torture. It makes holiday eating a pleasure.

Lemon-flavoured With Real Lemon-type Fluid ( Reconstituted )

I sincerely wish that the food, drug, cleaning product, and motor oil trades had never heard of lemons. Because as soon as they became aware that the yellow fruit could be squeezed, crushed, ground, pulverized, or synthesized…they insisted on putting it in everything.

Everything.

I like a good lemonade. I like a lemon wedge squeezed over fried fish. Mrs. DeSouza’s Lemon Slice that she makes for the local P&C bake stall every election day is worth getting there early for. And voting for. It beats the Democracy Sausage all hollow.

But I do not wish to encounter the blasted fruit in every recipe, cleaning lotion, face cream, and suppository on the planet. It may be doing wonders for the Vitamin C level and the complexion, but the omnipresence of it eventually makes everything taste the same. And it is not like it makes everything taste Like Mrs. DeSouza’s baked goods – it makes everything taste like Vim Cleansing Creme for the bathroom tiles.

I am also dirty on fruit and herb-infused hand lotions or car deodorants. I want my car to smell of oil and petrol and I want my hands to smell of my car. I want my wife to smell like my wife – not pomegranates and tumbleweed. I married her when she smelled good and she still does as long as she doesn’t roll in the fruit and vegetable bin at Coles.

Note: I am prepared to tolerate a twist of lemon in a martini or manhattan cocktail but only in months that have a vowel in them.