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So where’s the beef

Pantry man

One of my little projects of late has been bringing the pantry into the twenty first century. The pantry originally had been intended to be a half bath. In the half century of the house’s existence I am the only person that has used it as a half bath, and that only because the bathroom had become rubble. When the plumbers finished making their mess the stool in the pantry was retired, and the pantry was restored to its usual state.

Said usual state was less than useful or elegant. The walls had never been painted and the floor was bare cement. On one wall there was a board with hooks that served as a coatrack. On a second wall there were cabinets that had apparently been in the bathroom in a previous incarnation. On the third wall there were half a dozen shelves fastened to the wall.

Our Lady of the Large Black Dog informed me that she would help me redo the pantry. She is like that. There would have been no sense at all to pointing out to her that the pantry had been like that for decades and surely could survive in its disreputable state indefinitely into the future. None.

So it is that the great pantry project began. More precisely it began on our eastward jaunt where we acquired two wine rack kits from Home Depot. We transported said kits back to deepest dryest South Dakota in the trunk of Matilda. Why didn’t we buy said kits back in SD? The answer is simple; SD is a third world nation – there is no market for wine racks here abouts.

One of our first projects upon our return was putting the kits together. The wood in the kits was unfinished, so we put a couple of coats of stain on them. The final result was quite pretty, albeit with sundry imperfections that are really quite unnoticeable and add character.

Having constructed wine racks, we then had to put them somewhere. As it happens, Deb has a nice big basement, so she had an excellent place for hers. My house, however, has no basement, so the proposition was that the rack would go into the pantry once the pantry was redone.

We did the obvious. The former dubious cabinets went to the Highmore Wally World, aka the Highmore dump. Shelves were torn down, walls were painted, wiring was redone, holes in the floor were filled, and linoleum was laid down. The chosen color mostly illustrates the principle that colors on paint chips look almost nothing like the final color.

At this point inspiration struck me (it left a small knot on my head.) A while back I had constructed some book shelves for what is now my office. These were some seven feet tall and were designed to hold lots and lots of paperbacks, The style of cabinetry used is known in the trade as rough and ready amateur carpentry. It occurred to me that they would make really wonderful pantry shelving. So they do. I now have wonderful pantry shelves and two cubic yards of paperbacks sitting in the middle of my office.

My modest proposal

It seems that Canada, not content with being the SARS capital of North America, has a case or two of mad cow disease, which has led to an embargo on Canadian beef. I hear tell that the embargo is being lifted in stages with Canadian cows being the last to make it to hamburger land. Some of my readers may be nervous at the prospect that their next burger is going to scramble their brains. Being concerned for the welfare of my readers, I have devised a scheme to both restore the prosperity of our Northern neighbour, and at the same time reassure my more timourous readers.

My proposal is that beef from Canadian cows be sold to nursing homes at, I might add, discount rates. Mad cow disease takes years to develop symptoms, whereas most residents have a distinct shortage of prospective years. This scheme would revive Canadian prosperity and reduce nursing home costs all at the same time.

Excellent ideas that I may never effect

Instead of changing the time on my watch as I move from time zone to time zone, I shall carray a case with slots in it for four watches, each set to a different time zone, these being pacific, mountain, central, and eastern. Then, when I move from one time zone to another, I have merely to remove the watch I am wearing, return it to its proper slot, and then don the watch set to the time zone that I am now in.

One might object that this scheme, excellent as it is, fails for the traveller engaged in international travel. It so happens that the denizens of parts of the world other than the continental US all too often use time zones of their own instead of those sanctified by usage within the lower 48.

This is so, and yet the solution lies close at hand. More precisely, the correct watch will be worn upon the wrist, and that, you must agree, is close to the hand.

The solution is to have two cases. One shall have four watches. It shall be painted in red, white, and blue, and shall have an eagle emblazoned upon the cover. This case, you perceive, shall be used within the bounds of the continental United States.

The other case shall have twelve watches. The colors of this case shall be camoflage green and brown, signifying that one is venturing into lands where the hapless American might be the victim of fanatical terrorists or English soccer fans.

This clearly is a most excellent solution to the vexing problem of having to reset one’s watch as one travels. I fear though that the construction of these cases is quite beyond me. The difficulty does not lie in the obtaining of the wood – there are places that sell rare and exotic woods. Nor does it lie in the craftsmanship of constructing them. I am prepared to spend the odd year or three as an apprentice to a cabinetmaker in order that I might acquire the requisite skills. Nor is it the cost of the woodworking tools that deters me – what, after all, is a few thousand dollars. No, the difficulty is more severe; I know of no place where I can procure red plush velvet with which to line the cases.

The oil shortage

There are a lot of folks who can’t understand how we came to have an oil shortage here in America. Well, there’s a very simple answer…… Nobody bothered to check the oil. We just didn’t know we were getting low. The reason for that is purely geographical. All our oil is in Alaska, Texas, California, and Oklahoma.

All our dipsticks are in Washington…

This page was last updated October 1, 2003.
It was reformatted and moved May 15, 2006.

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