Thursday, February 16, 2017

Ice and fire.

So: How I tragically gave myself a minor burn on St. Valentine's Day while cooking, a burn that was pretty much completely healed by Wednesday morning.

I blame the burn on the ice. 

If you live in the south, or otherwise have had very little experience with ice, you may not have experienced this: Sometimes snow will be followed by freezing rain, the cherry on the top of a misery sundae. We had that sundae on Sunday, leaving a hard crust on top of the extant snow. It breaks easily; here's a thrilling action film of the ice being broken.

The problem is that the dogs were having a terrible time with it, because at their height the hard ice shell was like marching through a field of triangular plastic shards. Or one foot might fall through to the snow beneath while the other three skidded on the surface. Even quadrupeds have trouble with winter.

What made me furious was that while I was trying to cook a delicious dinner for my loving wife, both dogs in turn wanted desperately to relieve themselves on that lawn full of shards, but when doing so were paralyzed with such icy discomfort that it turned into disaster, delay, and disgruntlement. Because I had food on the stove, a pot of pasta, a pot of sauce, and a pan with braciole. Also an injured wife, as I wrote on the 8th, which is why I wasn't asking her to tend to the mutts.

As you know if you've ever had dogs, they are infuriatingly picky about where they do their business. The little guy, Nipper, is facing his first winter, and it seems to be determined to throw something weird and new at him every week. He was as unable to poop as a guy who'd been on the cheese-rice-heroin diet for a month. The big guy, Tralfaz, normally loves winter -- I was caught a little while ago barking at him for loafing in the snow rather than, uh, loafing in the snow -- but he too was having a terrible time. I could tell he was not enjoying it when I saw him trying to do gazelle jumps to move without having to crash along the ice. Tralfaz is not equipped by nature to leap like a gazelle.

Meanwhile, my pasta was turning into a doughy clump, and everything else was drying out.

When Nipper and I gave up on one session, I rushed inside in a fit of pique to continue cooking. Unlike a toque, pique is not a good fit for cooking. I dumped pasta, stirred sauce, and then grabbed the handle of the pan.

The terrific pan I have, a Cuisinart number with a Cool Grip™ handle, can be grabbed safely with the naked hand -- but not if that handle has been dangling directly over the flame on the neighboring burner. Then you scream, freak out, curse a lot, and get your hand under cold water.

So that's how I got burned by ice -- ice that caused the dogs to be unable to defecate, which held up dinner (already in progress), which caused me to cook angry, which led to me to clutch a hot handle. Because I'm smart like that.

As for my wife, she was in so much pain from her fall on the ice that she went to the doctor, who sent her to a physical therapist, who found out she had whiplash. I barely knew whiplash was a thing, or at least a thing beyond fake lawsuits on shows like The Brady Bunch. But it is a real thing, and real painful too.

Whiplash and burns. What we don't do for our fuzzy little friends.

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