Saturday, July 18, 2009

just another morning

just another morning…
by lenny, jo, and al (with a cameo appearance from steve)

background: as you may already know, the early morning action at the martineau home swirls around "the kitchen table." ..let's begin with a famous kitchen table quote, which should be expressed in a very loud growl:
"quit rocking on my forty-dollar chairs!!"
-you know who

the setting (july 2nd, 2009):
  • it’s been raining in rhode island for more than forty days and forty nights
  • the kitchen is quiet (that is, before al and jo and lenny wake up...)
  • outside, there’s a very loud (and relentless) lightning and thunder display, but that’s nothing compared to what’s about to go down in the martineau kitchen.
  • below are just a few (and i mean just a few) of this morning's highlights:
.................-episode 1: "that pan is too big!" 
................-episode 2: "the toast is too big!"
.................-episode 3: jo knows best
.................-episode 4: "that's not the way to slice butter!"
.................-episode 5: upside-down and backwards 

note: for the stories (below), take the decibel level up -- about seven or eight notches...

episode 1: "that pan is too big!" (in this episode, al teaches/learns how to cook eggs)

(circa de 7 a.m.)
josephine (to lenny): “do you want anything to eat?”
lenny: “no thanks, mom, i’ll just make a smoothie.”

josephine: “how about some scrambled eggs?”
lenny: “no. thanks, mom.”

josephine:how about if we put some cheese on the eggs?
lenny: “mom, i already said 'no'.”

josephine (while bending over and searching through the fridge):al, where did you put the eggs?
lenny: (sighs)

josephine (to albert): “what about you, al, do you want some eggs?”
al: (says nothing)

josephine: (already getting the eggs out of the fridge)
jo: louder:do you want some eggs??!!
al: “you’re the cook!

lenny (knowing that jo is going to cook for three, anyway): “okay, okay mom… i’ll have some eggs!
jo: begins the egg preparation ritual, which means putting a steel pan on the stove, and gathering other ingredients, including greasing the pan with real butter.

lenny: “is that real butter? ..i’m not gonna eat margarine.”
jo: “real buttah.”
lenny: “yum!”

and here’s where the story begins…

al, walking behind josephine (looking over her shoulder), says: “why are you using such a big pan to cook the eggs??!!”
jo: “what are you gonna do now???… tell me how to cook eggs???!!
lenny: “dad, she’s the cook, let her do what she wants.”

al (sitting down, with a wry smirk) quips: “i’m just trying to learn something. .. ..i want to learn something before i die!”
lenny: “let me get a paper and pencil. ..i’ve got to write some of this stuff down.”

jo (begins scrambling the eggs in the pan), says:he’s crazier than we are!”
al:now she’s calling me crazy!”

jo: “i’m not calling you crazy, i’m talking about your son!”
(which does nothing but set up the ultimate al crackback...)

al: ...............................“you had him last, josephine!

not much later, he simply cannot hold back…

al (directed at jo): “y’know, you’ve got a pan, half that size, underneath the counter!
(and so begins another round of very spirited discussion about pans and eggs…)

episode 2: "the toast is too big" (in this episode, jo teaches len how to make toast)

lenny: as he’s putting oversized slices of rye bread in the toaster: “you guys want some toast with your eggs?”
al: “i’ll have one slice.”
jo: “no, not for me.”
al: “lenny, put in two for you, one for me, and one for your mother.”

jo (walking behind lenny and looking over his shoulder at the toast, sticking out of the top of the toaster). why did you put it in like that???
len: (says nothing, but gives jo "the look")

jo: "can't you lie it down sideways???”
len: “no, no. won’t fit.”

jo: “...but it's too big!!!"
len: “well, that's the only way that it will go into the toaster.”

jo: “...but then half of it won’t get toasted.”
len: “, then i’ll just turn it over, and toast the other side!”

jo: “...but then it’s gonna be black.”
lenny: (sighs)

episode 3: cheese, onions, and eggs (in this episode, jo knows best)

setting: jo is busy making the eggs in the big pan, much to the chagrin of al. ..she’s already put chopped onions in the eggs, and she’s scrambling the eggs.

jo: “al, do you want cheese on your eggs?”
al: "no... (smiling) ...i don’t want to get all bound up.”
len: “i’ll have some cheese on mine, mom.”

len (with his first dig of the day, which is spoken to mom, but directed at dad…)
“good thing that you used that big pan, mom, that way you can put cheese on mine, and it won’t get mixed into dad’s.”
al (gives lenny ‘the look.’)

jo: after serving the eggs to al and lenny:    ..“hey al, do you taste any onion in your eggs?”
al (eating his eggs... says nothing).
jo: “maybe the onions stayed on one side of the pan.”
(lenny is thinking "wwwwhat???")

al:i don’t know.”
jo: “so al, you don’t taste any onions? ..lenny, what about you?”
len: “the eggs taste good, mom. ..the onions must be mixed-in.”

al: “i didn’t get any onion in mine.” (translation: "you don't know how to scramble eggs!")
jo (pointing to a small piece of onion, on dad’s plate): “there's some onion, right there!”
al (shrugs his shoulders while giving the look, as if to say “you can’t win around here.”)

lenny: (trying for his second dig of the day, takes the twice-toasted toast out of the toaster and places it on jo’s plate): “here you go, mom. ..hey, look! ..i toasted it twice, and it’s not burnt!”
jo (with a lightning-quick crackback): “you must have had the toaster on low.”

episode 4: “that’s not how you slice butter!” (in this episode, al coaches jo on how to properly slice butter)

setting: we’ve gotten through pan-issues, egg-making drama, toast-lessons, and onion-commentary. ..we’ve debated over michael jackson’s nose, and we’ve discussed the pro’s and con’s of going to wakes/funerals. ..we’ve read news stories about rain, rain, rain, and we’ve agreed that “there’s nothing to see,” in the movies. ..we’ve shared our opinions on the providence journal's "ask amy" news column, entitled “hot-headed boyfriend.”

(important note: al is a lefty)

jo (slicing butter, for her toast)
al, to jo: “you know... you’re right-handed.”
(translation: “that’s not how you slice butter!)

jo, (knowing full well where this is headed, yells):now he’s tring to tell me how to slice buttah!!”
al: “when you do it like that.”
jo: “like what?”
al: “when you do it that way, it slides!
(al turns to lenny, explaining): “the buttah will slide in the buttah dish.”

jo (to len): “he does this just to frustrate me!”
al (possibly revealing the true reason for his buttah-issue): “when you do it that way, you slice the buttah from my side.”

lenny (thinking and laughing): “you guys have ‘sides’ to the butter dish?
jo (reading lenny’s mind): “he does this with the ashtray, when we play caaahhds!.”

al: “well... when we play caaahhds, i put the ashtray right here. ..then when she has a cigarette, she always puts her ashes on my side.”
jo (rolls her eyes, looks up toward the ceiling as if to say: “heaven help us!”)

len: laughing out loud at this point, says: “this is great stuff... but i can’t keep up with you guys. ..i need a tape recorder.”
al and jo (shaking their heads):
len (writing and thinking: "this is good stuff"), says:
“nowadays, when i begin to wonder why i’m crazy… at least i'll know where it comes from.”

final note: looking back (if you actually go through the trouble of administering your own butter-slicing experiment), you've got to admit that al has a valid point! (of course) you already know, we conducted several experiments over the next couple of days -- even going so far as to include out-of-state judges (e.g. jean).

when i finally agreed with dad (that he was right about the buttah dish), he quipped:
"that's the first time i've ever been right, in this house!"

episode 5: upside-down and backwards (in this episode, it becomes difficult to draw a line between right and wrong, up and down, or backwards and forwards).

8:52 am: hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...

summary: al believes that there’s a certain way to stack/dry dishes and cups in the strainer, after washing dishes. ..he brings lenny into the pantry, to show lenny how his mother stacks the cups, quote "upside-down." thinks that al is nuts, because he gets mad when she doesn’t lay the cups down on their side.

..lenny is puzzled, so al gives lenny a lesson on dish stacking. the lesson, albert points out how, when cups are stacked upside-down, residual water gets “caught” in the bottom of the cup (which is at the top, when the cup is upside-down).

the not-so subtle message is quite simple:.."jo (obviously) doesn’t know how to stack dishes."

al also points out how he stacked three flat plates next to one another (side-by-side), leaving room in the strainer for cups, glasses, etc. ..albert (loud enough for josephine to hear) states that your mother puts the flat plates all over the place, and then there’s no room for anything else in the strainer!”

jo responds “i do not do that.”
later, of course, jo admits that she stacks the dishes, quote: “the way that they come out of the sink.”

steve (drives his harley into the driveway, comes into the house, sits down at the kitchen table, and cracks open a budweiser…)

within seconds of listening to the conversation, steve engages. ..on this particular topic, steve takes al’s side, and states that "there’s a 'right way,' and a 'wrong way' to stack dishes." ..steve moves this discussion one step further, and describes the right way to load a dishwasher. a dishwasher, an upside-down glass will collect water. ..the discussion progresses to spouses “not putting the cap on the toothpaste, not closing cabinets," etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc...

moments later…

al looks inquisitively at steve’s harley davidson shirt, which i bought for steve when i was in thailand (note: the harley davidson logo in written in thai, below). cannot make this stuff up...

(with a confused look, squinting at the thai harley davidson logo), says, in all seriousness:

“is that upside-down, or backwards?”

...and on, and on, and on, and on...


No comments:

Post a Comment