Sunday, February 17, 2008

Games Night Fiasco (I Blame Myself)

One of my tasks as semi-retired House Husband is to help out my helpmate. It is my sad duty to inform you that I failed in that task earlier this week with semi-dire consequences.

I have important regular duties around the home. I make the coffee. I feed the dog. I do “the dog's ears.” I straighten up my crap the day of our maid's bi-monthly visit (It won't do to have a messy house when the maid comes). I supply myself with milk and do most of the fruit shopping. I gas up and maintain the cars.

I help on financial matters, too, correctly affixing my signature where Dotty informs me it should be affixed. In general, as the old joke goes, I decide the major issues--whether to invade Iran, Impeach Bush, or jab Roger Clemens in the ass with a ten-foot fishing hook. Dotty takes care of the minor decisions--where we live, how to pay for our retirement, when we should replace my broken computer. While there is some overlap, it generally works out pretty well.

My agenda also includes duties when she has guests over. Every month or two Dotty hosts “Games Night”, and this week is where I went frightfully wrong in that area. “Games Night” is a weekly event whereby 6-8 or so close friends get together to play board games and break their diets.

My task for this week's event was similar to tasks in the past. I was to clean my crap out of the living room, get the coffee ready to brew, take care of the wine, and get the Hell out of Dodge when the ladies are here.

Most of it went very well. I got the first pot ready, and had printed instructions for preparing a second pot, if necessary. I got out sufficient red wine, and put the white wines in the fridge, Dotty knew where the corkscrew was. My crap was flung in my room, the door closed and I was headed out to the movies before the guests arrived.

I chose poorly, seeing a chick flick called “27 Dresses.” I'd seen all the Oscar contenders and while I admire Rob Reiner, I had no desire to see a movie about two old dying guys, even when played by Nicholson and Freeman. So I went with the chick flick. If I had it to do over, I'd have bribed my dentist to stay late and practice his anesthesia-free molar extractions on me.

The trouble started when I got home. The ladies were still there, but before I locked myself in the alternate TV Viewage Room, Dotty explained there had been issues with the wine. “The red had a defective cork,” she said. “We all tried to extract it, to no avail.”

“Did you try yanking it out with your teeth?” I asked.

“Of course not. We're ladies.”

“What did you do?”

“Fortunately, we were able to dig up another bottle of red that didn't have a defective cork.”

Well that was certainly a relief, as it meant my Sour Mash Bourbon and Jamaican Overproof Rum supplies were safe for another week. Later, however, after the ladies left and Dotty was putting things away, I heard a cry of alarm. She had spilled some of the red wine on the kitchen floor. “I guess the cork was partly removed.”

At that point, I'd had it up to here with shoddy craftsmanship. We all know a wine cork can dry out. But, no fool I, I make great effort to store my stash of wine on its side. A bad cork upset me. Dammit, I thought. I'm getting my money back, I'll be damned if I'm going to get ripped off. And I was sure there was good use for my five dollar refund.

So I checked the bottle and saw the foil cover had been penetrated by the corkscrew. It looked like the side of a destroyer hit by a shell. As I gingerly touched it, I realized it was much thicker than I'd ever found protective foil to be. It was then I checked the bottle more carefully and discovered what had flummoxed the Games Night ladies that evening.

They'd used a corkscrew to try to remove a non-existant cork from a screw-cap bottle.

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