2007.04.18 Now I lay me down to sleep...I pray for a plumber

Written by David Green.


In the 2004 film, Napoleon Dynamite, lead character Napoleon often talked about the importance of having skills. Skills would attract girls, he figured. You gotta have skills.

“Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills,” he observed.

What kind of skills?

“You know, like nunchuck skills, bowhunting skills, computer hacking skills...”

I don’t have those kind of skills, but then I’m not trying to attract girlfriends. I did have a great epiphany the other day after dinner, though.

I was pouring a pot of freshly made soup into a glass container when I realized I’m very accomplished at this chore.

“I can accurately judge which of all our containers to use when I’m putting away leftovers,” I told David.

“Woo!” he said, feigning amazement at my ability.

I can match the right size container for the quantity of each kind of food I’m putting away.

“I think it’s the only skill I have,” I said.

David is pretty much abysmal at this. For example, if he’s putting away a pot of soup, his first inclination is to take a look at the outside thermometer. If it’s cold enough, he’ll opt to put the whole pot on the back porch rather than pack it up in Tupperware.

And if he does put it away properly in the fridge, he’ll choose the oddest assortment of containers, usually mismatching yogurt containers with tofu lids. In any case, he’ll find the weird ones, instead of using the Pyrex or Rubbermaid bought especially for this purpose. He’ll package the one pot of soup in three different oddball containers, so the next day when you’re hankering for a bowl of soup, it’s not obvious that there is any soup in the fridge.

I take pride in eyeballing the soup, to continue with this example, and selecting the container that most closely matches the amount of soup, without its going over and without there being a lot of extra room for more.

I shouldn’t knock David. He’s really a very helpful sort. When I told him I didn’t have any column ideas, he suggested the topic of death.

“When the time comes, you will welcome death,” he predicted. “It will finally be uninterrupted sleep. You’ll never be rudely awakened. You’re going to love it.” 

Was I complaining recently about the birds outside our bedroom window? The car with the thumping bass blaring? Or was I moaning endlessly about the alarm clock that he sometimes sets when he has to make sure he gets up on time, but then he gets up on time anyway and forgets to turn it off?

It’s the most annoying alarm known to humankind and makes me crazy when it goes off. Initially, it has a quiet “beep.” Then another beep. And another. But spaced far enough apart that you think it isn’t going to beep again. But then it does. And then it gets more insistent. Beep, beep, beep! And louder: beep beEP BEEP! Louder and longer. BEEP BEEEP BEEEEP BEEEEEP! And closer together BEEPBEEPBEEPBEEP!

And I cannot figure out how to shut it off. Sometimes I hit a button and it stops. For a few minutes. But just when I am about to fall back into slumber...“beep.” Beep. Beep. And here we go again. Once, I pulled the plug and that worked—but it worked like hitting the snooze button. And then the backup battery kicked in and kept it going.

I don’t know what it was that precipitated David’s death comment. There wasn’t even a funeral going on at Eagle’s across the street. He did mention that I don’t like to be awakened. And that is certainly true. I love sleep. I love being entirely out of it, completely in another world, a dream world, a warm cozy world of flannel and feathers with no responsibilities at all.

Sound like words from the mouth of a stressed out woman? A woman who came home to discover that her husband decided to find that leak in the bathtub once and for all while she and her daughter were on vacation? A woman who walked into a bathroom with a third of a wall missing, the shower surround ripped out and a floor torn up clear to the rafters?

“Uh, Aunt Mary and Uncle Ronnie will be coming,” I said as quietly as I could manage. “How long do you think it will take to get that bathroom back together?”

“You mean I have to hurry to get that project done?” he said in disbelief.

“Well, Maddie is graduating May 20 and her open house is May 19...”

Guess it’s time for me to put my container wizardry on the back burner and develop some plumbing skills.

    – April 18, 2007 
  • Front.cowboy
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  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
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    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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