December 19, 2016: Ice Storm; Party; Stand Mixers

December 19, 2016: Ice Storm; Party; Stand Mixers

And unexpected ice storm hit Androp Gerard’s home town Friday.  Radar showed no precipitation even while the roads were icing over, starting a little before noon.

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The ice storm that hit Androp Gerard’s town was cryptic even while it was in progress. Fried pickles eaten while waiting it out were a bonus.

“Do not leave work/school.  Wait, it will warm up.”  This advice was given and sometimes heeded, with poor results.

The county reported >250 accidents by 5:30 PM, and the city reported “>50 accidents” by 5 PM.  By “>50” they meant, “We cannot count fast enough.  No telling how many, but a crap ton for sure.”

Androp Gerard and a friend left work but were stranded at a local strip mall.  Fried pickles were eaten with water while patrons “waited it out.”  Again, this strategy was only marginally successful, if at all.

The grandchildren were picked up from school and day care and made it home.  One was stranded at a nearby school after being driven from a farther away school.  All was well in the end.  In retrospect, reported anxiety levels experienced seemed lower than would have been appropriate for the circumstances.

The wife and daughter planned and executed a medium-large party that involved children and their parents.  There was mainly a ‘Gingerbread House Decorating Party” but a “Birthday Party” was sort of tagged on for the two-year-old.  The following took place:

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Gingerbread (graham cracker) houses were the star of the party. Cream cheese frosting was the primary decoration.
  1. Four dozen cupcakes and one small birthday cake were made. Melted chocolate chips were used as frosting.  Hint: this is a yummy and durable (when hardened) — hence highly portable — frosting.
  2. An ample quantity of sugar cookies cut into Christmas themed shapes were made and frozen flat in gallon bags. Hint: do not let children handle bags of frozen cookies unless you want bags of broken cookies).
  3. An abundant quantity of crackers and dip were laid in. Small bags of chips were made available.  More than two gallons of pink lemonade was prepared.  Hot chocolate packets were laid out. Enough bottled water to bathe a hippopotamus was purchased.
  4. Graham crackers were cut (with serrated knives) and pasted together with melted sugar. Some sugar was burnt.  Some hands were burnt.  Hot sugar sticks to, and burns, a human finger shockingly quickly.  Hint: these ‘gingerbread houses’ are structurally unstable, and are not that easy to transport. Cardboard boxes are recommended.  Let someone else be responsible for transporting these, if at all possible.
  5. The gingerbread houses were decorated by children, so edible decorative bobbles were laid out, and cream cheese frosting was made in copious quantities. The frosting was inserted into quart freezer bags for easy application.  In this regard, the stand mixer used was left worse for wear:
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Mixing multiple enormous batches of powdered sugar into stiff cream cheese exceeds the design standards on most home stand mixers.  The white stuff in the air could be smoke, or could be powdered sugar.

Me, walking into the midst of furious preparatory work, “Something smells hot.”

The wife, daughter, looking up, then away, averting their vision, “Ya.”

Me, “Smells like the mixer motor.”

One of them, “Ya….Could be.”

Me, “Jesus.  That stiff cream cheese and powdered sugar is not doing that mixer any good.”

One of them, “Nope.”

Me, **pause** “The new one should be industrial grade.  Or at least, that other brand.”

Daughter, “Oh yes, I agree.” **as if, it was the mixer’s fault for not being durable enough for the job at hand, which required running on the highest stetting for >20 minutes, non-stop**

Me, waving hand through a standing white fog, “Not sure: is this powdered sugar or smoke from the motor?”

**silence**

The party was at a local park-funded facility.  Tables were retrieved and set up, chairs set up, decorations prepared, supplies retrieved from vehicles and placed on tables.  This process was repeated in reverse after the party.

The activity was well-attended even though temperature hovered in single digits above zero Fahrenheit.  Each child took home a finished “Gingerbread House” made of graham crackers.  Each house was decorated with sweets containing enough calories to enable one human to survive for two months.

Me, to the wife, Sunday evening, “Who had the idea for the party?”

Her, **silence**

Me, “You have to stop doing this elaborate stuff all the time.”

Her, **thinking** “Um, well.”  **starts to talk** silence

Me, “Probably should back off a little bit.”

Her, **silence**

Me, “I will take the dog out.  Then I am going to bed.”

Next up: an annual exercise summary and a short comment on president-elect Donnie Trump.

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