Tuesday, July 24, 2012

This Is Why I Shouldn't Be Left Home Alone

Yes, they made a fourth one. With French
Stewart as a robber. French Stewart!
So. My kids are with the in-laws in Florida for a month, and the wife joined them in the Sunshine State for the next two weeks, meaning I've 10 days by myself.

Ten days. By myself.

For some guys, a week and a half without the wife and kids would be a blur of cigars, strip clubs, and shotguns. (All right, maybe not for you, specifically, but you get the idea.)

But for me, however, things haven't gone off to such a great start.

I should mention that the last time I was left alone, Mrs. The Anthony Show and her friend went backpacking through Europe — this was less than a year into our marriage, and we didn't have kids yet — and one night I lost track of how much angel-hair pasta I was inhaling while watching a rerun of Everybody Loves Raymond and discovered I had overeaten so much that it felt as if the pasta was backing up from my stomach through my throat.

In other words, I can't go very long without adult supervision.

Notice how I ignored the corners. Because I stopped
noticing it at least four years ago.
Before the wife departed, she hinted that she would like to have the stairwell walls painted. (The hint was "I'd like you to paint the stairwell.") If you told me that I'd have to spend the day baking a cake, brownies, and two different kinds of cookies while also whipping up two different quarts of ice cream, I'd initially groan before gladly accepting the challenge. I've got the tools and the skills and the experience to produce a number of well-crafted baked goods. (Not for nothing does my mother-in-law call me the daughter she never had.)

On the other hand, a hand that doesn't hold a paintbrush very often, painting anything other than a piece of paper falls under the category of "Things I'd rather pay someone to do but I'm too cheap to do that so I have no choice but to do these things myself."

One of the many reasons that most handyman tasks annoy me is that I never have the right tools, so every time I start a "job," I have to spend a ton of money at Home Depot getting the things I need just to get started.

When it comes to baking, here are some of the tools I have at hand:
  • A stand mixer
  • Several bowls and measuring cups
  • A candy thermometer
  • A well-stocked cupboard with a wide range of ingredients
Who says I'm not organized? Who? EVERYONE!
Fortunately, I discovered enough painting materials from my previous painting attempt (including an unopened can of primer) that allowed me to get started without leaving the house.

Painting a simple, plain room would be difficult enough for me. The stairwell has a bunch of angles, requiring the time-consuming "cutting in" technique that I hate, and several parts are very hard to reach if you're not Shaquille O'Neal or Plastic Man. Plus, earlier I'd painted it dark blue, which seemed like a good idea at the time, but resulted in a very dark stairwell that's going to need a lot of primer. Add to that the fact that I half-assed the job the first time, and you'll start to get an idea of what I was dealing with.

What could go wrong?
This time around, I carefully set up one of those bendable adjustable "gorilla" ladders on the steps, so I could actually reach the ceiling. I set up some old sheets and drop cloths on the floor, stirred the primer, cranked up the cable station that plays least-common-denominator popular music, and got started.

After some initial trepidation, I began to get into a groove with the cutting in, until, after about 15 minutes...

...I fell off the ladder.

I didn't actually "fall off the ladder," per se, but as I stepped off the ladder, I slipped on the plastic drop cloth — which made me rue the decision to use a plastic drop cloth even though I'd lent my durable canvas drop cloth to my brother-in-law, who used it as a floor mat for his outdoor Halloween party and it was too dirty to use indoors — and landed with a dull thud with my upper half on the floor and my lower half on the stairs.

My leg felt Charley horse pain not broken leg pain, but I felt nauseated so I staggered into the bathroom for a few moments, contemplating the following:
  • I was relieved that I wasn't dead or incapacitated-and-discovered-dead-later, which would result in some headline like "Police Determine Dead Man Had No Idea What He Was Doing"
  • I was also relieved that I didn't die with the last sound entering my mortal ears being being "Tears Like Waterfalls" by Coldplay
The worst part, once I gathered my bearings, was realizing that I'd only just started. About three hours later, and after changing the cable-music station to the old-school hip-hop channel, I got back to work.

Three hours later...BEHOLD!
I still have to give it another coat, but I'm somewhat satisfied.

I wanted to celebrate with a decent dinner and dessert, using the cooking and baking skills that I prefer to use. I bought a fat strip steak and five ears of corn on the cob — for eating and to use in a recipe for a sweet corn and black raspberry ice cream I planned to whip up afterward.

However, because I'm an imbecile, I left the bag containing the corn at the supermarket. (At least I didn't lose the damn steak.) So I made a bag of mixed vegetables instead.

I pan-fried the steak to a perfect medium-rare...

The oozing red liquid is called GREATNESS.
But when I took a bite of what were supposed to be somewhat mushy vegetables, I crunched down on what felt like a rock. I dug through the masticated peas and carrots to find this:

The tooth, not the penny.
I thought it was some kind of premature pea, but then I had that sensation I felt when I chipped a tooth biting into a Dum Dum Pop in my wife's gynecologist's office, and I concluded that this artifact was actually a piece of my molar. I gingerly drank some water and discovered that at least I didn't expose a nerve. (I'll be seeing my dentist this week to find out how bad the damage actually is.)

That was my first day home alone. Only nine to go! Enjoy some old-school hip-hop!

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