Confession No. 51 — Why sweat the big things? Worry about the small (really important) stuff.
I’ve been accused a time (or six) of being a complainer. While I’m not ready to accept that, I do admit to griping about certain things in life that are worthy of being bitched about.
Along with my high cholesterol and blood pressure, my tendency to sweat the small things will probably shave some years from my life.
Some of my biggest day-to-day frustrations involve mustard. When I squeeze the bottle and get a couple drams of yellow-colored water — instead of the thick yellow contents — it almost ruins my day. Brown mustard is even worse.
Ketchup’s no better except I rarely, if ever, use it on a sandwich. So, no chance of soaking down the bread. One thing that really bothers me about ketchup, though, are the little packets. First, they are too damn small. And, what the hell is that syrupy goop that ends up on every third packet? It’s as irritating as chigger bites.
Though I don’t usually verbalize my issue with powdered drink mixes — especially the ‘lite’ ones — I tend to go over again and again (in my head) the raunchy taste of the dust. And it never fails: someone in the next room empties a single powder packet into a bottle of water and I inhale — and taste — saccharin or some other nasty artificial sweetener.
Most people probably share my complaint about can openers. I’d rather they not work at all, instead of cutting just enough of the lid to make a mess while still preventing me from prying. These moments make me want to put my fist through the wall.
Speaking of canned goods, someone out there could probably get rich just keeping up with manufacturers who surreptitiously reduce the amount of product — but keep the price the same. They’ve been doing it with coffee for years, but when it comes to stuff like coconut milk or pumpkin, it’s a real pain in the neck, and one reason that Thanksgiving is not high on my list of favorite holidays. Yes. This bothers me that much.
What I don’t bitch about
The weather in my northeast Texas town reached 104 degrees yesterday. It’s uncomfortable. It’s also par for the course. Summer is hot. Anyone who has a complaint (and there are plenty who do) should move to Maine, where there is snow on the ground half the year. As for me … I just make sure the air-conditioner is in working order (we spent $800 just this past month on an emergency service call); the electric bill is paid on time; and that there is plenty of baby powder available for my use. Besides, the hotter the summer, the better October feels.
Car wrecks and traffic tickets have also never really bothered me. I’m speaking of those experienced and received by my beautiful bride, since I have a spotless record in both categories. Wrecks and tickets are inconvenient, expensive and sometimes scary. Still, I tend to get more ticked at the improper grammar or misspelled words written on the citation by the officer.
And traffic itself? Sure, I’ve been known to yell a few expletives in my car. But it’s mainly been when I’ve been on an emergency route to my bathroom. Ever notice that in such situations we tend to catch every red light? Or end up behind Grandpa Grunt? Otherwise, I’m generally calm in the car.
I have never lost a moment of sleep over people’s fashion sense, or lack thereof. So some guys wear their pants around their knees and some people believe it’s OK to go out in public in pajamas. Is this really worth talking about on Facebook? I also don’t advertise my headaches or fire ant stings. Oh, I could. But, let’s face it. Does anyone really care?
I don’t complain about my job, my boss or my co-workers. Why? Because I love all of them. Always have. I’m fortunate in that way … but I’m also a PR guy, so complaining would be bad for the ol’ image.
I don’t complain about mail delivery, politicians or taxes. So long as emails, elections and accountants are plentiful, there is always hope.
So, my reputation is not so deserved after all. Just don’t get me started on garbage disposals or line-jumpers.
As I’ve mentioned before, it is uncommon for me to get a sweet tooth. It’s even rarer for me to crave ice cream. But this past week I did and, as luck would have it, the freezer was empty. I would’ve complained, but my family was 1,500 miles away. So I decided to recreate a frozen ice cream-like treat from my childhood — named for the soft drink it contains. In the process of trying to obtain the recipe, I ended up enacting a temporary boycott on the company that makes it (the name includes a ‘lucky’ number, followed by a common preposition) because they responded to me with poorly written form letter. My luck changed when my good friend Jen, of Juanita’s Cocina (pronounced coh-seen-ah), confirmed that my dad’s memory was correct: this sweet cold stuff has only two ingredients. For that, the old recipe gets a new name in honor of Jen.
Soda Pop Sherbet (formerly known as 7UP Ice Cream)
1 quart – lemon-lime soda (or any soda of your choosing)
1 14 0z. can — Sweetened condensed milk
Place ingredients in ice cream maker, following manufacturer’s instructions. This will produce an icy soft-serve, which is exactly what I enjoyed as a child. Want a firmer sherbet? Place in the freezer for another hour, or so.
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