Maladjusted Mondays, #21

NOT Linda.

Greetings! I’m Jan C. Johnson. Thanks for joining the fun here on Maladjusted Mondays, a growing collection of scathing exposés in which I rat out my uncooperative appliances. I originally published these posts on my blog, Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story, where I do occasionally write about something besides my appliances. You can visit me there any time by clicking here.

The following post first appeared on my blog May 11, 2020…

Appliance Agitation

Here we go again… not long ago, I was relaxing on the patio with a good novel while a load of cycling clothes and other truly gross stuff was in the wash. Everything was fine until Brent popped his head out the back door and said, “The washer is making a weird noise.” I sighed and went to check it out.

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He was right. It sounded like a cross between a freight train and someone trying to start a car with a run-down battery.

According to the knob, the machine was in the Spin cycle. We opened the lid to find the washed clothes just sitting there, having a spa day in the dirty water that was supposed to be draining out of the tub.

Not cool. (By the way, that damage in the center was from years earlier when I working on a sewing project. Who damages their washing machine while sewing?)

Brent suggested I should be the one to choose the new machine, since I’m the laundry guru. We’d been under “shelter in place” for a few weeks by this time, so I was happy to skitter off to Lowe’s. Brent stayed to fish the Lycra out of its sudsy hot tub. Did I mention he’s a hero?

After two hours of looking at machines/considering pros & cons, I came home to find the bikewear all rinsed and neatly hung on the pool fence. Don’t worry; those little things on the spikes aren’t shrunken heads, just our cycling socks.

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I gave Brent the good news that I’d bought a Maytag. It would arrive on the next delivery date. Eleven days away.

A look of horror crossed his face. “ELEVEN DAYS??”

“You seem skeptical.”

“ELEVEN? DAYS?”

“Sure. It’s no problem–I can hand wash whatever we need until then.”

After all, we have a sink in the laundry room. Plus enough T-shirts to last until the week before Thanksgiving. Besides, the dryer still works. I pictured swishing a few lightweight items around in the sink, giving them a good rinse under the spray faucet, and tossing them into the dryer.

Brent pictured my suggestion a little differently:

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Re-enactment of an imaginary event. No rocks or laundry were harmed.

Okay, fine. The next morning, I called Lowe’s to cancel the order. Brent researched washing machines and found a local indie dealer who could deliver a Speed Queen the same day. The new machine even has some of the old-school features I like!

And so, our wardrobe maintenance hasn’t missed a beat.

But just watch the rest of the appliances talk the Speed Queen into joining the revolt.

Thanks for reading,

Jan

Maladjusted Mondays, #20

NOT Linda.

Greetings! I’m Jan C. Johnson. I’ve been away from Linda’s blog for ages and I’m happy to be back! Thanks for joining the fun here on Maladjusted Mondays. Linda heroically offered to host this collection of scathing exposés in which I rat out my uncooperative appliances. I originally published these posts on my blog, Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story, where I do occasionally write about something besides my appliances. You can visit me there any time by clicking here.

The following post first appeared on my blog March 31, 2020…

Processing… Processing

You know you have an appliance problem when you have to plaster them with notes to yourself. Case in point…

Spring-latchy thingsWhen I cook at home, I’m prone to shred fingers along with carrots. My sliced potatoes are like snowflakes: no two slices alike. Clearly, I needed a food processor. Thanks to the recommendation of my favorite food blogger, Beauty Beyond Bones, I gained the confidence to choose one: a 14-cup model from Cuisinart.

In due time I got the goods and opened the box to free the various components from their Styrofoam straitjackets. It seemed awfully complicated. Each part featured a lot of metal springy-latchy-looking things. Clear plastic tunnels kept the latches out of my reach.

Just as well. I was sort of afraid to touch them anyway.

I turned to the instruction book.

It offered page after page of instructions and safety warnings, including how to use the assembled processor, how to clean the assembled processor, and lots of things NOT to do with the assembled processor.

That would’ve been great… if only there were some hint about how to actually assemble the processor.

The picture on the cover* shows the assembled appliance from the front. You can’t tell a thing about how the parts fit together, let alone how to latch them without breaking something.

I went to their website. Surely they’d have helpful demos, right?

Nope.

Barely visible rod

Okay, never mind. How hard can it be?

I fitted the lid onto the bowl okay, then inserted the pusher into the large food tube.  I didn’t notice  at the time, but a metal rod runs downward along one side. I unknowingly positioned that side toward the center of the lid rather than sticking out over its edge.

Looks good. Let’s try shredding some carrots.

inserts 4-inch carrot lengths into small center food tube; poises pusher above them; pushes “on” button

Nothing. Yes, it was plugged in. I checked. Twice.

Great. I have a food processor that won’t process.

One more time, let’s look at the manual.

Uhhh… where is the manual?

Honestly, it was right there, and then I couldn’t find it. I have never seen it since.

With a few unflattering remarks, I turned back to the “assembled” processor and used the trial-and-error method. As it turns out, the food pusher, the kingpin of the whole operation, was facing the wrong way. The rod on the side has to stick out over the edge of the lid. If you push it down (and you have to use some serious muscle), it forces its way into the latch tunnel on the bowl. This somehow positions all the latchy things in a way that signals the processor it’s “Safe To Turn On.”

The resulting spring-loaded array of parts looks like a medieval mouse trap and feels as if it could sproinggg apart with no warning.

BUT, five seconds after this discovery? I had a cup or so of shredded carrots.

I still can’t bear to leave the food pusher’s metal rod wedged into the latch tunnel. I mean, I can just feeeel the springs wearing out from holding their tension all the time. So I store the thing with the pusher sitting backwards. And knowing how forgetful I can be, I now have a Post-It note stuck on the pusher:

So, yeah, I’m letting this one appliance give me orders. I can only hope that doesn’t snowball into yet another mutiny.

Thanks for reading,

Jan

* Photo is NOT from the cover of the instruction book, as said book went AWOL somewhere along the line.

jj

Maladjusted Mondays, #19

NOT Linda.

Greetings! I’m Janice Johnson, and I’m back! Thanks for joining the fun here on Maladjusted Mondays. Linda heroically offered to host this collection of scathing exposés in which I rat out my uncooperative appliances. I originally published these posts on my blog, Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story, where I do occasionally write about something besides my appliances. You can visit me there any time by clicking here.

The following post first appeared on my blog January 1, 2019…

Over-Charged… or,
Night of the Zombie Phone

Just in time for the new year… another terrifying tale about my maladjusted appliances. Or, in this case, electronics. Whatever. They’re all in cahoots.

I don’t turn my phone off very often. Instead, I just silence the ringer when I charge it overnight. But not long ago, the thing was acting kind of squirrely so I turned it off.

Minutes later, I turned it on and waited for the little Apple symbol to appear, showing that the phone was waking up, then left it to do its boot-up thing.

Half an hour later, the little Apple symbol still showed. No home screen.

I tried turning the phone off, holding the button down for several seconds.

It wouldn’t turn off.

Unplug it and turn it off again?

No change.

I picked it up. “Oooh, it feels kind of warm.”

Brent said, “Better take it to the AT&T store.”

They’d be open for another 45 minutes, so off I went.

Went inside and told the guy “My phone won’t turn off.”

He took it and immediately dropped it onto the counter. “That thing is hot!

Sure enough, the phone had begun to warp.

The AT&T guy nervously wrapped it in a shop towel. “Is it okay with you if I set it outside in case it blows up?”

“Be my guest,” I told him. I mean, I didn’t want to die by phone shrapnel any more than he did.

After duly buying another phone and getting everything set up, I took the barbecued unit, still in its towel, home for disposal. But what was I gonna do with it? I wasn’t about to put it in the wastebasket and start a house fire.

The one time I’d dropped my first smartphone into water, it went dead in about two seconds. So I got a bucket, ran a few inches of water in it, and gave the phone a burial at sea, only on the driveway. Then I waited respectfully for its light to go out forever.

And waited.

A whole minute went by…
It was still looking up at me from its watery grave.

This was ridiculous. Clearly, I had a Zombie Phone on my hands. What can you do but go inside and hope it gives up?

Three minutes later…
Yep, I’ve still got a luminaria out here. Stomped back inside, this time stubbornly staying away until nearly bedtime. You cannot imagine my relief when I went outside and found… darkness.

Free at last!

I fished the phone out and let it lie in state on the kitchen island until morning.

Next day, when I went to view the remains, I saw…

(Cue “Psycho” music)

“chaaarrge… meeeeee…” it seemed to be whispering.

Yeah, right. I may not be as smart as my phone, but I’m not about to fall for that again.

Thanks for reading,
Jan

Save My Naps…Or Else!!

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Hi down there, I’m Walter.  You do realize that I’m not actually writing this and Linda is just using me to tug at your heartstrings, right?  I’m not even doing the typing!   She figures that these pics will spur you on to send something for Guest in Jest.  All I’m doing is providing the eye candy to get some attention.  Now that’s quite clear, let’s get on with pretending that I’m narrating this thing.

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I’m usually a pretty laid back guy.  I like to curl up on my old quilt and have a little nap.  I love my naps.  Naps are the best!

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I might even loll a bit on the couch after a particularly hard day of proper napping.  But all of this relaxation has come to an end.  Linda is worried, and when she’s worried, so am I.  This has to stop.  If you don’t send in some submissions for Guest in Jest, there will continue to be sadness.  If that happens, my naps will be greatly compromised and we don’t want that, do we?  Do we?  No, we do not!

 

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If I don’t get my naps, I’m really miserable.  Look at me up there.  Things are bad.  I’m already crying.  I’m begging you!  I can’t sleep when Linda’s so glum.  I just want to go back to one of my sofas and rest.  Mmmm, back to my cozy quilt…  Wait, I can’t think about that now.  I have to convince you all to do what is necessary.  To do what is right!

I’m sure none of us wants Guest in Jest to come to an end.  Linda has been begging…a lot…and only a few posts have trickled in.  She thinks you must be tired of hearing it and that’s why she’s asked me to do it.  We will not rest until we have a backlog again.  The alternative is unthinkable.  If the posts stop coming completely, the series will end.  For real.  You know she’s desperate when she calls in the big dogs.  That’s where I come in.

 

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I’m just waiting for some Guest in Jest submissions. Someone could drive up and give us one, right?  It would be so cool if that happened!  If one of those posts comes anywhere near, I’ll be sure to bark extra loud so Linda can go snag it.  I like to keep an eye outside as well as on her inbox.  You never know where a submission might appear.  Plus, I’m almost sure that mailman is coming to kill us!

 

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So please help.  If Guest in Jest ends, I have to live with a forlorn Linda and that would not be fun.  She’d be depressed and then, of course, so would I.  There is only one thing sadder than a sad Linda, and that’s a sad Walter.  I mean look at me up there.  I am super sad.  If I pout enough will you send something?  Please!?

In order to save my naps, all you have to do is send something funny to Linda.  Her email address is mainepaperpusher@yahoo.com

It doesn’t have to be long, just humorous. Tell your friends and encourage them to participate, too.  A piece you’ve already posted on your own blog would be fine.  Poems of every sort are encouraged.  A funny picture with a caption would be great.  I’m pushing for a series called “Meme Monday,” but Linda’s not so sure.  Back to the topic at hand.  Even a simple joke would cheer Linda up immensely.  Most importantly, if she’s cheered up I won’t have to fret so much and then I can go back to my beloved quilt and have a little siesta.  But if you don’t something, things could take a nasty turn.

If you will not respond to our begging, I might have to take more serious measures.  I am very devoted to Linda and will do everything in my power to keep her happy.  Plus I have to keep my naps in mind.  Never underestimate the power of naps.  So be warned, if you don’t submit something soon, I’ll be coming for you!

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You don’t want to mess with the demon dog from Cornville, do you?  I didn’t think so.

Maladjusted Mondays, Week 16

NOT Linda.

Greetings! Janice Johnson here. Thanks for joining the fun on Maladjusted Mondays. Linda heroically offered to host this collection of scathing exposés in which I rat out my uncooperative appliances. I originally published these posts on my blog, Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story, where I do occasionally write about something besides my appliances. You can visit me there any time by clicking here.

And now for the 16th post in the series, which first appeared on my blog November 24, 2017.

Dances with Hazelnuts (The Blender)

Brent and I both love hazelnut butter, but there’s so much sugar in the commercial stuff! Then a friend gave me her recipe for a healthy version. I found a source for blanched hazelnuts, Brent ordered a killer blender, and I’ve been making my own nut butter ever since.

Here’s the blender, photographed beside the protein-shake one for scale. If the little one is a Bullet blender, the big one is the Howitzer of blenders.

The craving hit recently while I was out of hazelnuts. Undaunted, I brought a pound of in-the-shell nuts home from the grocery.

But in the back of my mind was the nagging realization that, for the first time, I’d have to blanch the nuts. I approached this task with the same confidence with which I might gut a fish.

Sheer terror.

However, you can look up anything online, including how to blanch hazelnuts. I boiled the nut meats according to the directions. It took longer than I expected, but at last the papery skins slipped right off.

The nuts looked bigger and puffier than the pre-blanched ones I’d bought before. Should I be uneasy? … Naaah.

Next step, toast the skinned nuts in the oven. Since they had apparently retained a bit of water, I made sure they were fully toasted. Then, into the blender they went. Here they are, coarsely chopped and on their way to smooth, dippable greatness.

Once the nuts were pretty well pulverized, I added the other ingredients and blended some more, pushing the stiff goop back down into the blades every ten seconds or so. Usually this “stiff” phase lasts about two minutes.

Half an hour later, the consistency hadn’t changed a bit. If anything, the goop had grown stiffer. By now I could only blend for four seconds before the blades would lose all contact with the hazelnut goop.

I let the blender cool off for a while, and went at it again.

Still stiff, like mortar.

Maybe I had over-toasted the nuts. I added water.

An hour later, I gave up and scooped the resulting hazelnut product into a container to refrigerate, ready or not.

It looks like poop.

And this time, I can’t even blame the appliances.

One thing’s for sure: From now on, I’m only buying already-blanched hazelnuts.

After all, I’m not completely nuts.

Thanks for reading,
Jan

Maladjusted Mondays, Week 14

NOT Linda.

Greetings! I’m Janice Johnson. Thanks for joining the fun here on Maladjusted Mondays.  Linda heroically offered to host this collection of scathing exposés in which I rat out my uncooperative appliances. I originally published these posts on my blog, Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story, where I do occasionally write about something besides my appliances. You can visit me there any time by clicking here.

And now for the 14th post in the series, which first appeared on my blog October 2, 2017.

The Interplanetary Appliance Conspiracy

On a recent trip to Washington state, Brent and I took a road trip to his boyhood home town. The next day found us driving for hours through the Cascades to get back to our kids’ house. Construction detours, rain, no cell service, verrrrrry spotty map info, snacks but no real lunch… Relief flooded us when, at about 1:00 PM, we finally came to Packwood–an actual town.

To our delight, we spotted a scruffy old pizza-and-burger place with beat-up pickups and motorcycles parked out front.

In a charming bit of anachronism, the ladies’ room boasted a contemporary wall-mount foam soap dispenser and a sleek cylindrical paper towel holder.

In due time, I washed my hands and reached under the cylinder for the corner of paper towel that should be sticking out. I didn’t feel any.

Just as I was about to frisk the holder more thoroughly, a deafening noise like a jet engine filled the air. At the same time, my outstretched hand came alive with an intense, eerie blue glow.

Adrenaline jolted me halfway across the room. Clearly, this was an alien abduction.

I regained my balance. Thankfully, both the shrill engine noise and the blue light faded away. Once my heart started beating again, it dawned on me that the “paper towel holder” must really be a warm-air hand dryer.

What I’d really like to know is how on earth the appliance revolt spread clear to the state of Washington. It’s like they knew I was coming.

Must be the aliens.

I’m no dummy… I wiped my hands on my pants.

If you’re ever in Packwood, Washington, be sure to stop at Cruisers Pizza. The food and people were great. (Click here for their Facebook page.)

But you might want to steer clear of the “paper towel holder” in the ladies’ room.

Thanks for reading,
Jan

Maladjusted Mondays, Week 13

NOT Linda.

Greetings! I’m Janice Johnson. Thanks for joining the fun here on Maladjusted Mondays.  Linda heroically offered to host this collection of scathing exposés in which I rat out my uncooperative appliances. I originally published these posts on my blog, Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story, where I do occasionally write about something besides my appliances. You can visit me there any time by clicking here.

And now for the 13th post in the series, which first appeared on my blog May 29, 2017.

I’ve Been Hosed! (The Pool Cleaner)

Not gonna lie… we’re total newbies at having a swimming pool. I mean, we don’t trust ourselves to take care of it, but have professionals maintain the pool lest it end up infested with mold or jellyfish or something.

Adding to the pool’s entertainment value is an automatic cleaner that roams around the bottom and sides, looking like a cross between a Roomba and a defibrillator. It vacuums water in through the Roomba end, filters it, and pees it out via a three-foot hose. The hose swishes around, sometimes breaching the surface and squirting a bit of water onto our breakfast room windows.

Windex: buy stock.

Last Saturday, I glanced out the breakfast room door and was startled to see rain blowing into the patio. Going out to investigate, I found the “rain” was actually arcing up from the pool, thanks to the Roomba hose, which would surely re-submerge in a second.

Surely.
Re-submerge.

Any second now. . .

>gives up and moves in for a closer look<

Oh, wait. Maybe I’d better get the skimmer and un-wedge the spray end of the hose from that crevice between the rocks.

After freeing the hose, I checked around to find a puddle in the adjacent flower bed, and another in the lawn just beyond. My personal rainstorm must have gone on for at least ten minutes.

Apparently, the Pool Roomba has made friends with my other appliances and joined the revolt.

What’s next… piranhas?

Thanks for reading!
Jan

Maladjusted Mondays, Week 11

NOT Linda.

Greetings! I’m Janice Johnson. Thanks for joining the fun here on Maladjusted Mondays. This series is a collection of scathing exposés in which I rat out my uncooperative appliances. (Thanks to Linda for hosting me!) I originally published these posts on my blog, Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story, where I do occasionally write about something besides my appliances. You can visit me there any time by clicking here.

And now for the eleventh post in the series, which first appeared on my blog March 1, 2017.

Protein Shaken, Part 2
Police Drawing of the Suspect
Police Drawing of the Suspect

When last we left Jan, she was wiping splashed protein shake from her face and was about to clean up the (major) portion that had dripped behind the refrigerator.

Spill + 3 minutes: Step one– Pull the fridge out away from the wall.

Spill + 4 minutes: Step t–wait, I’m still tryna move the fridge.

Spill + 11 minutes: It simply wouldn’t budge. I looked everywhere for the user manual.

Spill + 18 minutes: I couldn’t find any manual, so I looked it up on LG’s website. The online manual showed how to do every possible thing you might ever want to do with a fridge…. EXCEPT move it.

Spill + 24 minutes: I got on phone with a very nice person at LG, who spoke pretty good English as long as she didn’t have to stray from the script.

Spill + 25 minutes: We had to stray from the script.

As near as I could tell, she was claiming that I first had to retract the wheels so that the feet, not the wheels, were touching the floor.

Spill + 32 minutes: The LG lady wasn’t familiar with the term “counter-intuitive.”

Besides, I couldn’t even see the wheels OR feet, because a handy rubbery barrier like a giant squeegee blocked my view. You couldn’t get too mad, I guess, since it probably saved hundreds of green peas and blueberries from rolling under there and going bad.

Spill + 1 hour, 13 minutes: Brent came home.

Spill + 1 hour, 14 minutes: Brent wished he hadn’t come home.

Spill + 1 hour, 27 minutes: Brent somehow figured out how to get those stupid wheels to turn.

By the time we got the fridge rolled forward enough to clean behind it, I figured the shake mix would’ve dried up and I’d have to sort of chip it off the wall and floor. Not so… the protein had coagulated into wet, sticky, dark brown clots.

My kitchen floor looked like a violent-crime scene with dust bunnies.

That happened about a year ago, and I’m still having flashbacks.

I can assure you, though, that every time I serve up a scoop of protein-shake powder, I turn well away from the blender before re-closing the bag.

Maybe I should get a roll of Crime Scene tape, just in case.

Thanks for reading,
Jan

Maladjusted Mondays, Week 10

NOT Linda.

Greetings! I’m Janice Johnson. Thanks for joining the fun here on Maladjusted Mondays. This series is a collection of scathing exposés in which I rat out my uncooperative appliances. (Thanks to Linda for hosting me!) I originally published these posts on my blog, Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story, where I do occasionally write about something besides my appliances. You can visit me there any time by clicking here.

And now for the tenth post in the series, which first appeared on my blog February 27, 2017.

Protein Shaken, Part 1

Seriously, I still can’t find an honest appliance anywhere. And if they’d only cooperate, I could really use their help with my fitness goals.

See, I don’t mind being kind of matronly, but I don’t want to overdo it. So not only do I exercise, but I also try to go easy on my beloved carbs and take in more protein instead. I rely on my bullet blender for a smooth protein shake.

img_7002Protein shake powder? Great. Especially in chocolate.

Recloseable press-and-seal zipper bag? Wonderful.

Zipping the bag closed while standing right next to a bullet-blender cup full of protein powder, ice, and water?
Not cool.

One night I was fixing a shake and had set the ice-and-water-filled blender cup on my postal scale to measure the powder.

Turns out, the postal scale and the bullet blender are in cahoots.

Gripping one end of the bag with my left hand, I used my right to pinch the zipper closed. I did this by getting it started and then squeezing while pulling my right hand across the top, away from my left. Everything was fine until somehow my right hand slipped off the shiny bag.

The sudden release caused me to backhand the plastic blender cup right off the scale. It arced through the air, slammed into the side of the fridge, bounced off, landed on its feet on the countertop… and fell over backward from surprise. The cold, blackish-brown, sloshy, powdery contents were running off the edge of the counter and dribbling down behind the refrigerator before I could finish pointlessly yelling “NOOOOOOOooooo!”

I sighed and set the nearly-empty blender cup back on its feet.

Clearly, I had some mopping up to do.

A pain in the neck, but at least mopping is simple enough…. right?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Next time: Part 2, in which even the refrigerator joins in the mutiny…

Thanks for reading,

Jan

Maladjusted Mondays, Week 9

NOT Linda.

Greetings! I’m Janice Johnson. Thanks for joining the fun here on Maladjusted Mondays. This series is a collection of scathing exposés in which I rat out my uncooperative appliances. (Thanks to Linda for hosting me!) I originally published these posts on my blog, Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story, where I do occasionally write about something besides my appliances. You can visit me there any time by clicking here.

And now for the ninth post in the series, which first appeared on my blog February 20, 2017.

Kitchen(Aid) Mix-up (The mixer)

slappyAfter years getting along with just a hand-held mixer for all my baking, I finally bought a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. One great thing about my old Oster stand mixer–it had that turntable thing that lets the bowl spin around so you can scrape down the sides with a spatula while the double beaters do their job off to one side. I’m still getting used to the fixed-position bowl and the wacky single “tilt-a-whirl” beater that pirouettes around, slapping against the ingredients. And as you may know, I’ve become rather suspicious of my appliances anyway.

So when the time came to bake cookies for friends who were coming over, I plugged in the mixer with some anxiety. Creaming the butter and sugars went well, however.

It’s no surprise that I got cocky.

I decided I could crack the eggs into the bowl while the mixer was running…

I did okay with the first egg, but managed to drop half the second one’s shell into the dough. Before I could react, Slappy the Beater had twirled through half a dozen revolutions, shoving ever-smaller pieces of eggshell into the soft dough.

News Flash: There is no way on earth to find all the fragments of eggshell in a bowl of slippery butter-and-sugar mix.

Ever the optimist, Brent said, “You got most of it, though, didn’t you?”

“How would I know?” I said, up to my wrists in dough. “Aaack–there’s another piece. I can’t serve crunchy chocolate chip cookies! I’ll have to start over!”cookies

And so I did. This time, before cracking each egg, I cut the motor and propped that beater up out of the way.

The cookies were delicious.

And I am now on guard against Slappy the Beater.

Thanks for reading,
Jan