rash of two-headed babies
Friday, February 28 2003
Today was the second anniversary of the day Gretchen and I got together for the first time in twelve years. In honor of this occasion, she went and got me a couple of gifts: a subscription to the Journal of Light Construction and a bean-bag American Robin, complete with an authentic-sounding electronic robin song that goes off when you squeeze it. (Some day all we'll be forced to hear all our bird calls this way.) The other day I'd said something about looking forward to the arrival of robins.
It was a good day for driving around. Temperatures were above freezing and there was a good solid sun up in the sky. In this part of winter, the sun is far more cheery than it is in, say, January. Days are as long now as they are in mid-October.
In preparation for a trip down to Virginia in the pickup truck, today I finally got around to changing my oil. But, as usual, I made a little mistake along the way. I removed the screw from the transmission pan, not the oil pan, and the substance that drained out was ruby-colored transmission fluid. So I had to tell Gretchen to pick me up some more before I could endeavor to drive the truck again.
On a whim, I tried burning the old motor oil to see what sort of fuel it could be. It wasn't hard to get it to catch fire - all I did was float a ball of wadded-up paper on its surface, and, when lighted, it heated the oil enough to get it burning with orange flames and black acrid smoke - the kind that you definitely don't want to see coming out of your tailpipe. Given the price of fuel oil, I was trying to think of a way to tap the heat stored in there without leading to a rash of two-headed babies downwind.
Gretchen and I went out to the Armadillo Grill in the Rondout again tonight to celebrate our anniversary. Gretchen ordered something that contained so much squash, a vegetable she hates, that there was virtually nothing left after she'd picked it all out. Our waitress saw this and decided not to charge us for her meal. This was how she earned a $20 tip.
We were drinking mixed drinks and were in an especially giggly mood. At one point I started impersonating our cat Noah, how he comes up in your face and stands there with unshakeable eye contact, something he can maintain even as he flips over onto his back to present his belly for rubbing. When I did the flip over part of the impersonation, my chair rocked dangerously towards the floor. But for some reason my reflexes hadn't been dulled by the booze and I was able to deftly arrest my fall with my left hand.
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