Friday, April 8, 2016

Fine dining

The other day, my family and I decided that we would go all out and experience a special night. My wife didn’t feel like cooking, and she also didn’t feel like eating either of the two dishes that I know how to make. (That would be cheesy scrambled eggs with cut up hot dogs and pecan pie for those of you playing along at home.) So we, myself, my wife and daughter, decided to get dressed up and go out to eat at the fanciest, swankiest restaurant that we could all agree upon.

Now when I say that we were going out, what I actually meant to say was that I was going to have to go out, pick up the meal and bring it back home.

And when I said we were going to be dressed up, I meant to say that my wife said that I had to wear pants when I picked up the order. I wanted to point out to her that the sign on the door at the restaurant only talks about shirts and shoes to receive service — pants are never mentioned. But I kept my mouth shut because I didn’t want to ruin our special night.

And when I said “fanciest, swankiest restaurant,” I may have been a bit misleading. The restaurant is actually a local gas station that also serves food. However, we did order the most exotic dish that is on the menu — taco pizza.

Before this grand evening of living beyond excess could begin, we had to call in the order for this five-star meal. My wife walked across the kitchen and began looking for the menu to the aforementioned gas station/eatery. It was not in its usual spot which is clamped in a bright yellow, magnetized clip that is located just below our 2016 dog picture calendar that is held up by a translucent blue clip magnet on our freezer door. With no menu, our fine dining plans were up in the air.

My wife then said those two dreaded words that any husband hates to hear. “Uh-oh,” she said quietly under her breath. Through all of the commotion, I could tell that the situation had dramatically escalated from a little bit bad to just a little bit worse.

“What is it? What’s wrong?” I pleaded with her to tell me. She explained that sometimes when I open the freezer door rapidly in order to get to my personal stash of lime-green Freeze Pops, the menu tends to slide out of the confines of the magnetic clip and land in between the side of the freezer and the kitchen wall. Oh the horror.

We got a flashlight and shone it in the crevasse between the appliance and the orange sherbet-colored wall. There it was, about halfway back, taunting us, just out of the reach of my chiseled, beefy, well-muscled forearms. I think that I heard the dogs on the calendar laughing at me.

I grabbed a nearby flyswatter and angled it in to attempt to pull the 8 1/2-by-11 inch sheet of paper out. But alas, the flyswatter had too much flex in it, and I couldn’t get enough pressure on the paper to pull it out. I then got a second flyswatter thinking that I could possibly use them like tongs to pull the menu out. That didn’t work either, and I couldn’t help but ponder, “Gee, we must have a lot of flies.”

My wife then had the brilliant idea to put a piece of tape on the end of one of the flyswatters, and I could then use the adhesive power of the tape to stick to the paper. At that moment, I realized that I was possibly married to the smartest woman in the world. I applied the tape to the swatter and proceeded to work my magic. I could practically taste the Doritos on the pizza.

Apparently either the tape or the flyswatter, or possibly both, were defective in some way because it just didn’t work out. It was in no way my fault, but I should probably mention that we now have a piece of tape stuck to side of our freezer just in case future archaeologists wonder how it got there.

I was at the end of my rope. In my starvation-addled frame of mind, I couldn’t think clearly. But then my wife had another brainstorm. She asked, “What about the yardstick?”

Have I mentioned that she’s a genius? In all of the hubbub, I had completely forgotten about the old reliable Heinold Hog Market wooden yardstick that is kept in the corner of our back porch. When I say yardstick, it’s actually 4 feet long. I don’t know why. It has been used to fish things out from underneath and beside appliances for as long as I can remember. Ironically, I don’t ever recall using it to actually measure anything.

I am happy to report that after finding the proper tool for the job, we were able to retrieve the wayward menu. It wasn’t long before I was headed toward the gas station to procure our meal and in my celebratory mood, I even purchased some vintage bottles for us to drink from. A Country Time Lemonade and a couple of Dr. Peppers.

All in all, it turned out to be a fine evening. Even with the pants.

You can contact Greg Wallace at You can follow him on his blog at

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